Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anais Nin
 

 

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chet Zar

Posted by Charley Parker at 10:20 am

Chet Zar
Chet Zar’s site has a subtitle of “Painter of Dark”. In addition to being a good sendup of a certain franchise gallery painter, it’s a pretty concise description of the tone of his work.

In his gallery work, Zar paints monsters, gruesome, grotesque and deliberately disconcerting. His eerie “portraits” glare out at you with glazed, bloodshot, and sometimes absent, eyes; grimacing, grinning or open mouthed in apparent shock, perhaps from looking at the preceding or following monster, each more gruesome than the next.

He creates his monstrous faces with highly defined textures. High-contrast areas of light and dark combine to suggest leathery, wrinkled skin, sometimes dark and weathered, at other times veinous and pale, as if insufficiently protected against some caustic environment. His palette for each piece is controlled within a limited range, but rich with subtle variation.

Zar has also applied his talent for creating monsters, and other characters, to a career in movie special effects, creating sculptural prosthetic make up and effects for films like Planet of the Apes, The Ring, Darkman, Hellboy and X-Men 3.

There is also a gallery of Zar’s work on the beinArt Surreal Art Collective, and his work is included in their Metamorphosis collection (see my post on Metamophosis and the beinArt Collective).

Zar is an instructor at the Gnomon Workshop and their site includes a brief bio and a gallery of his work. It also features an instructional DVD, Digital Creature Painting with Chet Zar.

His most recent show is at the Copra Nason Gallery in Santa Monica until May 31, 2008. There is a gallery of image on the gallery’s site.

Wikipedia has a post on Chet Zar, through which I learned that he is the stepson of James Zar, a fascinating fantasy and still life painter who will undoubtedly be the subject of a future post.

10 comments for Chet Zar »

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  1. Comment by =shane white=
    Thursday, May 22, 2008 @ 3:02 pm

    I dig his work.It has the feel of Oscar Chichoni.

    http://chichoni.com/site/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=77

  2. Comment by =shane white=
    Thursday, May 22, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

    …mixed with Dave Cooper and Basil Wolverton. :)

    Good lineage for gruesome!

    =s=

  3. Comment by Hazard
    Thursday, May 22, 2008 @ 5:38 pm

    I LOVE Chet Zar! That’s so cool to see him on your blog. I didn’t know he worked in movies and stuff, but now it’s obvious. Cool!

  4. Comment by Daniel van Benthuysen
    Thursday, May 22, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

    And exactly how am I supposed to get to sleep tonight!?

  5. Comment by kleist
    Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

    “a good sendup of a certain franchise gallery painter”….Todd Schorr?

  6. Comment by oakling
    Wednesday, May 28, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

    a good sendup of the “painter of light,” old whatsisface. thomas kinkade.

    this guy is clearly not just the opposite in emphasizing “dark,” or in painting figures rather than landscapes, but also in being able to really communicate feelings and arresting expressions and complicated stories in just one figure…. i’ll hold my tongue about my opinion of kinkade’s work.

  7. Comment by Emily Man
    Tuesday, June 3, 2008 @ 7:24 am

    SIGNING @ Orbital Comics: American Artist CHET ZAR , 14th June 2008, 3-5pm

    Addresss: Orbital Comics, 148 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0LB UK

    This will be a rare chance to meet makeup effects artist, sculptor, painter, digital effects artist and creature designer in the niche field of Special Makeup Effects CHET ZAR in London, at Orbital Comics.

    He’ll be signing and giving away a limited number of Catalogues, and there will also be a limited edition catalogue for sale on the day which features 13 all new pieces of art as well as a few older pieces and includes a forward written by Adam Jones. Bring down your portfolio’s and he’ll give you advice on starting a career in art and design.

    Zar has also applied his talent for creating monsters, and other characters, to a career in movie special effects, creating sculptural prosthetic make up and effects for films like
    FANTASTIC 4 – sculpting and painting for ‘The Thing’
    HELLBOY- Hellboy arm design, sculpture and painting
    PLANET OF THE APES – ape design, sculpture and painting.
    X Men 3 – creature design.

    When you look at Chet Zar’s paintings, you will realize an inescapable truth: We are the monsters.

    The Ugly American show premiers in London, 13th June in the Strychnin Gallery London – 65 Hanbury Street – London E1 5JP (www.strychnin.com)

  8. Comment by Leo Plaw
    Saturday, August 9, 2008 @ 4:53 am

    I had the pleasure of meeting Chet and seeing his wonderful artwork at his Strychnin Gallery exhibition in London this year. He explained some of his motivations about his artwork. You can read more about it on my blog. http://leoplaw.com/2008/06/15/chet-zar/

  9. Comment by OZ
    Tuesday, August 12, 2008 @ 11:20 pm

    There is an interview with Chet Zar on the Myartspace blog. You can find it on the list at http://www.myartspace.com/interviews.

  10. Comment by Charley Parker
    Wednesday, August 13, 2008 @ 8:10 am

    Thanks, OZ!

    Here’s Chet Zar’s MyArtSpace page and the interview.

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