Juno Zago


João (Juno) Zago is a queer visual artist working in Newark, NJ. Born in Brazil, Zago came to the US in 2005 where he’s since lived in and around Newark. In 2016 he obtained his BA in Visual Art from Ramapo College of New Jersey. He’s been an artist in residence at Gallery Aferro in Newark, NJ since 2017, and has exhibited at Gallery Aferro, Index Art Center, Equal Space and Akwaaba Gallery all in Newark, NJ, and Catalyst Gallery in Beacon, NY. He is one of the 2020 grantee recipients of the Newark Artist Accelerator Fund.

As an artist, Zago wants to bring together disparate media and images to create process-based compositions on paper, panel and canvas. His works dwell in themes like introspection and sexuality, as well as internet/meme culture – not so much the humor, but the fast-paced, image-based nature that sees pictures appropriated in inventive and unexpected ways. He is a mixed media, process-based painter/collage artist who uses different quotidian and dispensable materials in his practice. Magazine pages, soda bottle labels, scrap vinyl from graphic design projects. Unseemly throwaways from day-to-day life – with me they have a new home.

As an artist, Zago’s work dwells in introspection, addressing themes like identity, place and sexuality. He’s also inspired by the fast-paced appropriation of images in internet culture: any one thing can be a reference to something else. He together disparate media and images to create process-based compositions on paper, panel, and canvas. Much of Zago’s work is iterative – and with interesting implementation of color as his common starting point, wherever possible, he looks to include quotidian materials into the work in both overt and subtle ways. Things like magazine clippings and other printed images, stickers, gift-wrap, soda bottle labels, plastic trinkets, dried acrylic paint, and plastic rhinestones are all examples of media likely to appear (often all together) in any one of his pieces. Zago’s use of dispensable materials stems from a greater interest to not only combat deliberate waste in my art practice and to be more resourceful.

Selected Works