Portrait of the Artist: Zio Ziegler

The busiest bee in town this summer has been a 23-year-old artist who says he has reconnected deeply with his hometown since he returned from college.

If you've spent any time in Mill Valley this summer and you own a pair of working eyes, you've likely spotted some of the art created by Zio Ziegler.

The 23-year-old Mill Valley native has been a whirlwind this summer, operating a pop-up art and clothing shop, seemingly creating murals on walls all over town in need of color and infusing downtown with a contagious creative energy.

Ziegler opened his Arte Sempre shop in the building at the beginning of the summer, intending to head back east in the fall, where his girlfriend Jordana Fribourg is from and where he attended both Brown and Rhode Island School of Design.

Whether it’s the buzz he’s incited, the relationships he’s established or the creative energy he’s sparked, Ziegler has decided to stick around. Arte Sempre is staying in its current location at 144 Throckmorton, and while he and Fribourg might head to New York City later this year to open a similar store in the East Village, Ziegler says Mill Valley has shown him as much as he’s shown it over the past several months.

“This is my where my heart is,” he says. “For an artist, it’s about environment. My art is so inspired by the daily ride I take on the mountain. I just love this place. I would love to live here forever.”

There’s no shortage of easily spotted evidence of Ziegler’s inspiration. He’s crafted murals at the surf shop at Tam Junction and at on Miller Ave. He pulled countless marathon days and night while painting a huge, 20-feet by 8-feet mural in the space where Karen Goldberg intends to open Tamalpie Pizza. Ziegler has since moved to the mural to Arte Sempre and intends to find another home for it.

For the past week, Ziegler has been painting a huge creature, part human and part tiger, on the Madrona Street-facing side of the 142-144 Throckmorton building.

“He’s a spontaneous, wonderful, very creative guy who is willing to act on his creativity, which is a wonderful thing,” 142 Throckmorton Theatre Executive Director Lucy Mercer says. “He’s pushing boundaries.”

Mercer said the Throckmorton mural will change, contract and expand over time “as a way to show the piece as an ongoing, evolving thing.”

As for the store, the son of Banana Republic Founders Mel and Patricia Ziegler says the response to Arte Sempre has been incredible.

“There’s far more here that we can do in terms of providing a creative a hub for kids,” says Ziegler, rattling off ideas like film screenings and open drawing sessions for young people.

The couple plans to expand Arte Sempre’s clothing lines to include more women’s clothing and bathing suits. Most of the store’s clothing feature’s Ziegler’s own hallmark artistic style.

“The idea is to represent your meta-beliefs on a garment,” he says. “I’ve always thought that is was cool to connect with people in that way. It creates a dialogue about how the etymology of that product and how it became to be. It’s a catalyst for discussion.”

Ziegler has connected with his former employers at Tam Bikes to create branded t-shirts, and he’s in the process of doing the same for and , among others.

In this and many of his innumerable projects, Ziegler draws on a plethora of references. In explaining the t-shirt work, he cites the way books like Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo were released as serials.

“How cool would it be to tell a story over time with a line of t-shirts?,” he says.

The 411: Arte Sempre is at 144 Throckmorton Ave., next to . For more info and to see more of Zio Ziegler’s art’s walk around Mill Valley or visit his website here.

Janis Bosenko August 29, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Art? I think it is a visual blight. Can't believe the City of MV allowed this considering the grief they give other businesses regarding signs, color of buildings etc.
denise August 29, 2011 at 09:21 PM
I LOVE the mural on the side of the 142 Throckmorton Theatre! It is a guardian dragon for the downtown. I look forward to watching it evolve and truly hope that the handful of naysayers don't have the power to extinguish this bright light of creativity we so badly need in downtown Mill Valley right now.
Nancy Puckett August 29, 2011 at 11:55 PM
Yes!! Love it too!! Fresh, great creative, thank you Zio! Stop and check out his mural on the side of Tam Bikes too, excellent. I agree with Denise's comments whole heartedly.
Kathleen Duich August 30, 2011 at 04:32 AM
Hello? Mill Valley LIVES!!!!!!! Thank you beautiful Zio for bringing energy, creativity and authenticity to our town. And I LOVE the mural on the theatre - good call Denise - guardian dragon! I love it. May it protect us from more $200 jean stores and real estate storefronts. Rock on Zio!
Citizen February 02, 2012 at 10:53 PM
So... (January 2012)...the store is closed. What happened? Will Zio be back?


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