Zio Ziegler – Sculptor of Influence

When asked to write about a sculptor of interest I immediately thought of Zio Ziegler, a California native who has evolved from his intricate 2-Dimensional oil painted figures into 3-Dimensional forms. I would equate his style to a modern Picasso, in the way he distorts the human figure, with a contemporary urban cave art that stretched his design across the canvas. However, the way in which he intricately intertwines a kaleidoscope of figures is uniquely of his own creation. Zio Ziegler is most recognized for his mural work in California and around the world. He had completed murals in the headquarters for Facebook, Google, and Lyft as well as releasing several designs for Vans Off The Wall shoe company.  He received his undergraduate in philosophy at Brown University and completed his masters at RISD.

I chose Zio Ziegler because he has recently moved from oil painting into the realm of sculpture. I have followed his progression and seen the ways in which he translates his paintings into sculpture. He says that he is captured by the art of sculpture because it is so new to him. I am captured by the way he allows the form to build itself, and how he takes mistakes and uses them to his advantage. Ziegler will often tackle a mural or commission with no plan, letting the art make itself. Below I have attached a few of his sculptures which he makes through a clay molding process. The sculptures are casted in bronze and often reach up to eight feet tall.


Forced Artifact 1          5.5′         Bronze

This piece grabs my attention because of the different limbs of the form that tie her to the ground. She reminds me of a tree, struggling to escape from her own branches, stuck in her roots. I get a sense of struggle and weight of an emotional and physical body.


The Guardian               8.8′         Forced Artifact 3    Bronze

While the title of this piece makes it seem much more authoritarian and controlling, the form is much more whimsical and inviting. I envision this piece to be like a caretaker, the guardian of a young orphan perhaps, the form is playful and protective. I would be intrigued to see this piece in person and see how the dimensionality of the sculpture adds to the meaning.


Inverted Thinker (Being viewed and never known) 8.8′ Bronze

I enjoy this piece because it is Ziegler’s own interpretation of a famous sculpture, The Thinker by Auguste Rodin, which I just saw at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. Ziegler’s interpretation takes his personal style to reimagine an image that is fundamental to the world of sculpture. His sculpture diverges from the strength and masculinity of Rodin’s “The Thinker” and replaces it with an image of self reflection and the vulnerability of being hollow. There is a a mood of self-actualization and more reflective thought, while Rodin’s thinker seems to be grappling with the knowledge of the world, rather than his place in the world, which seems to be Ziegler’s directive.


Industrialized Figure            8.8′              Bronze

I enjoy this sculpture because it is less complex than most of his work, but it creates an idea of a life lived for others. The emphasis of the sculpture is on the horse, with the head of the man looking back, and smaller than any other figure in the sculpture. In the background there is a shadow of another man pointing direction. I believe that this sculpture is representing a man who contributes to a movement, like a soldier in war, or a worker in an industrialized factory. While the sculpture is fairly basic in form and lacks any intense detail, however the meaning behind a link in the fence, a soldier in the war, comes through. Ziegler is making a statement about how the simplicity of the sculpture informs the life that its figure represents.

I will continue to follow Zio Ziegler’s work both in oils and sculpture and I hope that the work I do will be inspired and evolved from some of Ziegler’s work. His website can be found here which has high definition images of his work. 



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