My artistic journey began decades ago and has evolved over many years. I trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a figure painter / sculptor and whilst there discovered beeswax.
This wonderful material fundamentally altered how I made art, in painting as well as sculpture. I began to experiment with resins, oils, and papers in the search for the perfect encaustic wax as well as to satiate my creative desire. These tests lasted years until I found the right formula and it was then, in 1995, that I began to exhibit my artwork.
This formula is what I continue to use in my paintings to this day. In 2001 I was included in the book "The Art of Encaustic Painting: Contemporary Expression in the Ancient Medium of Pigmented Wax" by Joanne Mattera.
I had an early and ongoing influence with nature as well as with Japanese culture. Growing up with a pond in the back yard meant summer mornings were spent feeding dozens of enormous golden orange carp.. Paintings of the Edo period hung at home and this influence was reflected in a review in Art In America Sept 2002 – “Zima creates translucent, meditative colour fields in encaustic. His blocky interlocked patterns recall Chinese landscapes and limestone cliffs. The active surfaces suggest terrain with ridges, troughs and unexpected depressions.” Acknowledging this lifelong connection to the East inspired me to begin the study of the Japanese language which is ongoing. This experience has provided emotional, creative and intellectual traction points and is now an inherent part of every creative working day. It was the hiragana and katakana alphabet that appealed initially but the Kanji symbols and the rich history around the characters were a key connection. The brush strokes for kanji are similar if not the same as brush strokes for tree branches, one and the same.