Meet the Makers: Illustration Street Artist

In this Meet the Makers blog series, we will feature an artist that, quite simply, makes something. Drawing inspiration from custom works handcrafted in various media, we travel beyond the pieces by diving into the minds of the creative makers themselves.

Today, we feature our interview with David Zinn, the creative designer of Zin Art street illustrations. David’s street art is composed of mostly chalk and charcoal and is improvised upon location. Most of his works have appeared in and around the streets of Ann Harbor, and other parts of Michigan adding quirky humor and creativity to the outdoor scene.


GPI Design: What (3) words best describe your work?

David Zinn: Fleeting– Public – Childishness


GPI: What compels you to create with this particular medium?

Zinn: I am inspired by the ephemerality, spontaneity and integration of sidewalk chalk, i.e. the ability to improvise a drawing onto the real world without the distraction of planning or preservation.


GPI: What is your biggest constraint in the creative process?

Zinn: Now that photos of my drawings have become such a large part of my professional life, it’s harder to ignore their pragmatic usefulness in what was previously an anonymous and disposable medium. (See distractions above.) Also, sundown can be a problem.  


GPI: What would your 5 year old former self say about your work now? And what do you hope your future 90 year old self will say about your current work?

Zinn: I hope my five-year-old self would behave as well as the other five-year-olds I meet – i.e. by telling me my work is cool and then offering to fix it. Come to think of it, that’s probably what my 90-year-old self will say as well.


GPI: What other maker would you most like to collaborate with?

Zinn: I have great respect for many artists who play in similar public and temporary environments, such as Andy Goldsworthy, Isaac Cordal, Mark Jenkins, Hombre McSteez, and especially Joe Iurato, with whom I have done one collaboration already. However, we all have our own unique ways to interact with the world, and I think we’re more useful spread out than clumped together. More than anything, I wish I had a good connection with a skilled photographer, because taking pictures of my own work clashes head-on with my desire to walk away and never look back.


GPI: What do you think the future of creation/creativity holds (for you, and the artistic world as a whole)?

Zinn: I think it’s dangerous/impossible to predict where creativity is going to go next, because that would defeat the point of going there. Generally speaking, however, I think it’s obvious that technology will continue to democratize the sharing of creative acts. Thanks to blogs, digital photography and social media accounts, it’s already hard to remember a world where artists could only share their work widely via publishers, agents and curators. Now an idea scrawled on a napkin can potentially affect millions of people on the same day through viral inspiration alone.

GPI: What does your work space look like right now? Send us a selfie of you in your creative arena!



Many thanks to David Zinn for spreading little joys around town, and the insight to his creativity. Stay tuned to our next Meet the Makers interview coming up in two weeks! The interviews will publish every other Tuesday throughout the remainder of the year, focusing on a wide variety of makers, which has us truly redefining what it means to create.


View this maker’s work: Zinn Art