Vintage Mozart: A patriot at heart & multi-talented surrealistic artist breaking all art boundaries
Born Liam Vries, Vintage Mozart is a young multi-talented semi-abstract surrealistic artist, content creator/director Zimbabwean who loves art. From package design, typography, corporate identity design to photography and filmography you name it Liam does it. This multi-talented artist has a different approach to his art as he not inspired by the cliché Pablo Picasso, David Carson and Leonardo da Vinci but instead he draws his inspiration from local artists and music. “My inspiration comes from a lot of people mainly Zimbabwean artists, like Tapfuma Gutsa, Pearl Thompson and other international artists like Lorna Simpson, , Irma Boom, Taj Francis” he explains. He quickly points out that his inspiration is not limited to artists, but even music and the aesthetics of everything. “Musicians like Kanye West inspire me in terms of pushing boundaries, Tyler The Creator and to a certain extant A$AP Rocky and his movement” he elaborates.
A self-taught graphic designer who started with logo design on Corel Draw at age 17 and later on at age 20, he started photography which propelled him to do filmography and he mentions that he did his first film as a gift to himself for his 21st birthday. “I’ve always had a passion for painting, I’m more of a painter than a sketcher and this changed when I moved on to a digital art form as I felt my talent can be better in that spectrum” he shares on how he got in to graphic designer, film and media. Art runs is embedded in his DNA as even his father is a drawer who does glass engravings, “Art runs in my family as my dad is a quite a drawer, very talented but comes from society which believes in the corporate world but I decided to pursue my passion” he explains.
A firm lover of what he does, Liam is unique as he starts his pieces by drawing them first, scans them and puts it on illustrator, try different colours/designers, redraws the image and adding some details. Currently studying in North Cyprus, Liam has taken that opportunity to expose his talent as he has been involved in a road traffic awareness project and has a had a few galleries there but quickly points out that the island didn’t limit him and has exported his work to other countries. “I’ve had a few projects in Cyprus but I didn’t narrow myself to the island as a lot of my stuff went out to Dubai, Turkey because the art background in Cyprus is not that big“ he explains.
It is without doubt that Liam is a patriot at heart as throughout the interview he mentions his home country Zimbabwe and you can clearly see that it holds a special place in his heart. This is evident by that he mentions a number of Zimbabwean artists as an inspiration, constant reminder about his background even though he is overseas and to certify that he has a big flag of his country hanging in his room. He has also been involved in humanitarianism as he was a member of the Harare City junior council (in 2015), a member of the Harare city junior ambassadors (V.P) and advocate for women’s rights and domestic violence and speaker on issues. Don’t tell me that doesn’t spell out patriot to you! Vintage Mozart his alias which he presents his art under and a company he founded and ended up getting investors. “It is a cultural art form under the term coloured excellence considering that I am coloured. It is me, my whole design persona under the label” he shares about Vintage Mozart. He explains that every artist needs that because he doesn’t want his art to be attached to his government name but he wants to have his own creative license allowing him to express himself.
An art and design student at Cyprus International University, Vintage Mozart is on the road to greatness with truckloads of accolades such as honour student (204-current), TED X CIU 2017 Speaker, ASGA designer of the year (2015, 2016, 2017), ASGA winner of most creative innovative designer of 2017, 4th place Tropfest film festival Zimbabwe (2015) and Best original script Zimbabwe film festival in 2015. His first short film Lungs: Lyssa’s Vengeance was well received which landed him an internship at Invision studios Zimbabwe 2014-2016.
The 21st century has been an era of major and hasty transformation across nearly every dimension of life, from science and healthcare to technology and communication. Art, of course, is no exception. Art has always been influenced by the era in which the artists live in, with the rapid change of technology which has pushed boundaries of creativity and sensory experience. Vintage Mozart is one of the many artists who acknowledge the advancement of technology, enhancing art but is definitely not for the idea of artificial intelligence generated art. “I am not for A.I generated art because it does not have the personal touch of the artist which is crucial when creating art”, he explains. He points out the importance of the advancement of technology which is brought about a number of software’s which may assist an artists but emphasises that it is essential that as an artists you do not lose yourself and get carried away. “Technology has played a major role in art but as an artist you have to try by all means to stay original and not to be carried away because the modern software’s can do everything for you thus losing the personal touch.” He further explains that fine art will forever sell more than digital art.
With most/some of his artwork having elements of afrofuturism, I wondered what are his views about the whole concept which has become popular again. “I love the whole concept it is hard to explain because it feels God like-Egyptian , if you’re a rap fan it is basically what Jay Electronica raps about, Lupe Fiasco, it is systematic woke-ness on its own” expressing his views on afrofuturism. He mentions Janelle Monae’s cover for Ark Android as what comes to his mind when you speak of concept of afrofuturism and mentions Art Man X (Menzel Bowman) as another key inspiration for him to include afrofuturistic elements in his work. Even though his artwork can be considered to be afrofuturistic he believes he is more surrealistic and abstract art.
His work speaks volumes, with unique elements of surrealism and afrofuturism, Vintage Mozart is an artist way ahead of his time. A unique artist, philanthropist and patriot, Liam is yet to make his mark in the art world.