The artist has been compared to Dr. Seuss; he thinks that's interesting, since the two men share a birthday. Any resemblance is really just a happy accident, Zbryk adds: "Just to be mentioned in the same company as this guy is awesome."
Zbryk's intricate detail-work has also been likened to that of Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. And there's no denying that his style and use of color are strikingly similar to -- and this time often inspired by -- American multimedia pop-culturist Red Grooms.
Zbryk shows his work in a very unconventional forum: Jefferson County Public Schools. "When I first started substituting, I noticed that the hardest part was getting respect from the kids," he explains. One fateful morning, Zbryk realized he had a piece of his art in the car. "I decided to take it in and see if anybody noticed," he says. The art got everybody's attention right away, and the word "substitute" was seldom mentioned again.
Zbryk also had a very moving piece in the Denver Public Library
benefit show for human trafficking. "That was probably my hardest piece," he says of "Misled Journeys," above, which was produced after some heart-wrenching research into the subject.
This four-foot-tall pen-and-ink drawing was first mounted onto a wood cutout, and then the wood was mounted on blocks that were mounted onto black canvas. "It's very vertical and tells a story from bottom to top," says Zbryk. Several powerful images are connected with a chain colored with red marker; the story starts in the slums that children are often relegated to during trafficking, progresses to an abandoned church, and ends with a group of children walking toward a factory, leaving not as humans but as angels. "This is really different than other stuff I've done," admits Zbryk. "But one of the reasons I did it was because it was a challenge, and it made me think outside the box."
Keep reading for more from Scott Zbryk.