Chet Zar has garnered a legion of international fans and art collectors from his fine art paintings of dark and surreal creatures.
We sat down with him this week to find out what his inspiration is behind his ‘monster' art, and how he keeps such a positive attitude while immersed in a world that many people would be fearful of.
Starting his career in the film industry, Chet's talent for creating Hollywood special effects lead him to work on major Hollywood productions such as The Ring, Hellboy 1 and 2, Planet Of The Apes and critically acclaimed music videos for the band Tool.
Disillusioned with the politics and artistic compromises he felt he was having to make in his career, at age 33 Chet left the movie industry behind — to follow his bliss.
Chet is quite possibly one of the most philosophical and empathetic people that we have had the pleasure to chat with. An incredibly emotive artist, there is something extraordinary in the way that he uses his artistic outlet to work through emotional trauma.
Rather than shying away from societal fears, Chet's art shines a light on them — showing people that they're not alone in their fears and anxieties.
We talk about how an acid trip in a meat market caused him to have a vegan epiphany, as well as him trying (and failing) as a child, to terrify his mom with elaborate fake injuries. Chet gives us an illuminating look at the life experiences that have molded his dark — but beautiful — outlook on life.
Inspirational Takeaways from Our Conversation with Dark Art Creator Chet Zar
Shining a Light on Fear
Chet is a master at creating art that highlights humanities inner psyche and neuroticism. As multifaceted beings, we all have both dark and light aspects of our character. From an early age, we are told by society that darkness is something we should suppress — but at what cost?
Chet's art challenges the assumption that darkness is a negative outlet.
“The worst thing that you can do, I think, is not acknowledging your shadow side or fear and keeping that hidden — keep that fear pushed down. That's when it creates problems — when you try to deny that this side exists inside of you.”
Patreon – The Artist's Peace of Mind
Chet shared with us how using Patreon to help fund his art has allowed him the freedom to create and share with his fans in an organic way. He also stressed the need to build up a strong online following and the importance of offering value to your followers.
Choosing to put his money where his mouth is, Chet supports around 70 other artists on the Patreon platform.
“Patreon is whatever you make it. Some people have a Patreon with a tip jar, that's it — no tiers, no levels, they just say ‘pay what you want.' And some people make that work. Some people say a dollar only, some people five dollars and up. And that's what kind of cool about it because you can do things that have never been done before — it’s all up to your creativity and how you market.”
From creating art to hosting his podcast ‘The Dark Arts Society,' Chet is relentless in his artistic pursuits. He explained to us that when he feels physically exhausted and emotionally drained, he allows himself a day or so to recuperate.
“What I usually do is I work too hard, I go too long, and then I get to a point where my body says, “Okay, you have to stop.” And then I just take a day or two off and watch movies on Netflix or something.”
Losing Your Ego
Chet's passion for his art is so inspiring. He shared with us how important it is for him to lose his own ego during the creative process.
“I feel like whatever is painting, which is this weird subconscious part of my mind, it will do a better job than my conscious, intelligent part will do. It's better than I am at art and creating meaning.”
Taking inspiration from the process of his childhood drawing, Chet strives to stay true to this purity and spirit when creating his art as an adult.
Learn the Fundamentals of Art
Understanding the technical aspects of painting is an important skill to master to express your ideas effectively. Chet chatted to us about how he encourages other artists to build upon their fundamental knowledge of art, such as composition and understanding color and lighting — especially when distorting reality.
“Color temperature is so powerful. When you start throwing in different temperatures of the same colors, it makes the piece come alive.”
Chet expresses himself and his art in such a way that it's impossible not to acknowledge the beauty of our own vulnerability.
If you want to hear more from our conversation with Chet, click the link to our podcast and get ready to make friends with the monster under your bed (and inside of your head!)