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Artist Chet Zar recommends some books.

Artists are often great readers and painter Chet Zar is no exception. The same goes for photographer Jesse Pollock. I saw their work in Juxtapoz magazine, which is an excellent art magazine by the way, and checked out their websites. First up, Chet Zar, who talks about his work in the movies creating prosthetic special effects, as well as his oil paintings of strange creatures.

To see Chet Zar’s dark yet fun paintings, visit www.chetzar.com.

READERSVOICE.COM: I’ve read in interviews where you have an interest in the supernatural and spiritual. I was wondering if you could recommend a few books along these lines and maybe say why you liked them.

CHET ZAR: I used to read a lot of books on ghosts when I was a kid, but I don’t remember the titles. Some good books dealing with metaphysics and the supernatural are Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts and Adventures Out of the Body by Robert Monroe. 2012: The Return of Quetzaqoatl is another really good one that I have read recently. Manly P. Hall’s The Secret Teachings of All Ages is another good one.

Here are a few more off the top of my head: Jonathon Livingston Seagull and Illusions by Richard Bach, The Art and Practice of Astral Projection by Ophiel, The History and power of Mind by Richard Ingalese.

RV: Can you recommend any other books, whether horror novels or any other kind, comics, books about prosthetic effects, art or anything else?

CZ: Wow, it’s been a long time. It’s hard to remember. Tom Savini did a book a long time ago that has a nice overview on some basic techniques. I think it was published as Grand Illusions and Bizarro.

There are probably some better ones now that I am not aware of.

RV: You also have an interest in b-grade horror movies from the 1950s and 60s, which sometimes inspire your art work in various media. Have you any plans to make movies like this using 3d programs, and if so, what sort of programs would you use. Could one person make a movie like this, with one computer?

CZ: I might like to make a CGI movie. It can all be done by one person, but it’ very time consuming. I realized that after producing my 3D CGI animation DVD, Disturb the Normal. I did everything on that by myself and it really took a lot out of me. I think if I were to do something like a film utilizing CGI now I would not do it without some sort of help.

RV: You’ve said that when creating make-up effects for movies, you saw a lot of politics in the movie industry. What kinds of things went on, and what were the plusses and minuses of working in movies?

CZ: Mostly creative compromises and lots of wasted ideas and money due to creatively unqualified people calling the shots, the bean counters, lawyers and studio execs.. Everything is design by committee. Imagine that somebody came to you and asked for a creature design (and imagine that this guy is an accountant or something, so he has no art background).

Then he started throwing his idead in the mix, as well as some ideas his wife had…oh, and his housekeeper saw the designs laying out on the kitchen table and said it looks too scary, so make it 7% less scarier. Also, the film needs to appeal to boys from age 9-17, so make the monster look cool to 9-17 year olds. And I am not even exaggerating.

It’s this kind of thing. The plusses are that you can go to work dressed like a slob. There is a kind of laid back feel to the makeup effects industry. And the people I worked with are very cool and extremely talented for the most part. You can really learn a lot working with other artists.

Also, you are doing somewhat creative work, so it’s a good way to learn technique (painting, sculpting, etc.) if you can stand the other aspects.

RV: You created a lot of pictures when you were growing up. Did you ever burn out, and stop creating art for while, or has it always been happening?

CZ: Maybe a couple of times in my life that has happened to me, but not too often. I have been lucky in that way. I had a band for a while, which I was devoting all my spare time to, but even then I was always sketching and doodling.. It was always just part of my life.
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