George Zuniga (b. 1981) uses swift, decisive strokes in pastel and charcoal to create vivid and astonishing characters. Paying attention to only a small portion of the drawing surface and composition at a time, Zuniga creates ambiguity in his images through variation from the original source. Though at first glance, these works appear idiosyncratic and exaggerated, the effect over time is that of revealing something unique about the subject that goes beyond mere depiction. He explains his style as “artism”, a term of his own invention, which he explains as the work of an artist with autism.
A self-taught historian, Zuniga is an expert in Cold War-era military armaments and political figures, and has an equal fascination with Japanese anime and live-action films. An analog recording aficionado, he has amassed an extensive auditory library of recordings from all over the world that he sometimes double-records over his favorite metal albums, creating a rich acoustic tapestry to listen to while drawing. His expressive inter-personal communication style and many interests have made him a popular portrait artist at Project Onward–animal or human, he respects his subjects equally. Zuniga is a founding member of Project Onward, having joined in 2004, and currently lives in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.