Zela Odessa Palmer


My works are mental landscapes. Through murals, books, and/or installations I visualize my interpretation of the outside world and create detailed images that represent my inner world. The material of choice for this is usually a 0.5mm mechanical pencil. I fill whole books and walls with texts and abstract figures.

I have a fascination with some of the biggest themes in existence, such as nature as a force, time, space, chaos, divinity, and anything bigger than humanity and out of our control. By trying to wrap my mind around these subjects, I order my mind and all that it contains to better understand my surroundings and my place in this world.

By fully focusing on every detail, I get closer to the bigger picture, every artwork is a piece to the infinite puzzle. In believing I can finish this puzzle, I have an investigative outlook on my process. I find patterns and clues, analyze them and pull out conclusions that make sense to me, even when they would not to anyone else.

These thoughts and feelings are represented through abstract forms that are organic and usually derive from details I have seen before. For example, the way a piece of clothing clings to someone’s body or a tiny detail of moss that sits on an alone-standing tree in the middle of a clearing. I let these observations grow on the page or wall and expand on them until they become unrecognizable. The art piece that comes out, is an out-of-context image with new details to be discovered.

Often, the accompanying text is a reaction to my immediate surroundings, whether that be conversations held around me that I’m not a part of or a thought that has occupied my mind for the past few days.

The works that stem from this detailed process, give viewers a chance to see a different perspective on life. Even when we look at the same things, we all see something else.

Because my work is usually a direct reaction to my immediate surroundings, identity plays a big role. My experience as a queer woman with a biracial background has a strong influence on my work. Even when it is not immediately visible, I strive for equality.
It is visible in the lack of hierarchy in my art, the texts and drawings are of similar sizes, to make the viewer observe without prejudice and choose for themselves how they relate to it.

Zela Odessa Palmer (1997) is a visual artist based in The Hague, Netherlands, recently graduated at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK).

instagram: @zelaodessa

curriculum vitae
thesis 2022 and attachmment