Pilar Zeta | A Trip Through the Cosmos
A scroll through Pilar Zeta’s Instagram feed could very well be a trip through the cosmos. Her art looks like the future imagined during the 1980s. It adopts a pastel postmodernist aesthetic — if 2001: A Space Odyssey took place in the Care Bears universe. The Argentinian artist has no shortage of inspiration from her unorthodox childhood obsessions; she credits her mother as a driving force in her non-traditional inspirations, peaking her interest in everything from metaphysics, to Indigo Children, to the paranormal.
“One of my influences was my mom ‘cause she was, like, obsessed with ETs and like aliens and entities, so she was always looking at the sky. She will see [a] UFO or she will have the most bizarre alien books and you're like, ‘Wait, what?’,” she says with a laugh.
Though Zeta has expanded her empire to just about every corner of the art world, she comes from humble beginnings. The self-taught artist initially began her foray into graphic design as a teenager, finding inspiration from the art books her father had at home.
“My teenage years and growing up my dad was really into art. So he will bring my books of like Picasso or famous painters, and I was like, ‘Oh, this is cool.’ So l go and I bought a computer, you know, that PC that is super slow, like the ‘90s, and just do stuff in [Microsoft] Paint,” she reminisces.
Zeta, who now lives in Portland, previously resided in Berlin, where she got her start in fashion design and creating album art for techno music—a time she considers formative to her career as an artist. Yet, each city that she lives in ushers in a new era of inspiration and creativity. After emerging from the Berlin underground and moving to Los Angeles, Zeta was hired by Coleen Haynes to design the logo for her new artist collective MAAVVEN, but quickly found herself signed to the agency as talent.
“I felt like I was, I don't know how this happened, but all the sudden it happened like, I'm in LA and I have representation,” she recalls. “Kinda crazy, 'cause it's not that easy when you're an artist coming from like a completely different environment. So as soon as we started working together, I got this job doing art direction for Coldplay and that's like the huge step.”
Zeta’s work for Coldplay soon became more than a stint, as she was hired as the band’s permanent art and creative director. She has done work with other noteworthy names in music, including Katy Perry, Miguel, and Bea Miller — allowing her to expand her range into set design and direction.
Directing music videos was never explicitly written in the stars, but rather was an opportunity that Zeta fell into. She had been photographing pop star Bea Miller, and when Miller was unable to find someone to replicate videos in Zeta’s unique aesthetic, she was “forced into” directing.
“They were like, ‘Yeah, you're going to do some videos. Okay,’ So it was kinda like forced, not forced, but in a nice way, you know, like, okay, I'm just gonna take the opportunity to, or, and I feel like it was awesome. I feel like it needed to happen, some sort of evolution that the universe was conspiring,” she postulates.
Working with industry heavyweights has been a humbling experience for Zeta. She cites letting go of ego as the key to success, reminding herself that she is executing the vision of the artist. However, she believes that this is one of the best parts of working with a team. “When I do my own art sometimes it's even as difficult cause I'm like, ‘Oh let me just go on [an] idea that I want to do,’” she explains.
It seems that Zeta has mastered the vertical integration of the music scene — aside from the act of creating it herself. Having her hands in nearly every part of the process from production to performance, she has revolutionized the role of the artist in music. But if she had to choose her next medium?
“Stone. Marble. Huge, weird sculpture.”