Author Archive

Mike Correll

Mike Correll's fascination with Dark Art is long standing. As a young child he began drawing the monsters that plagued his dreams. Despite the reprimands of his worried teachers, his parents supported him in his artistic endeavors, allowing him to creatively purge the often violent and grotesque images that came to him in his sleep. Drawings made way for collages and sculptures, but Correll sought a larger audience and ultimately turned to filmmaking. In 2002, he graduated with a B.A. from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University, pioneering a degree titled "Imaginative Moviemaking." His studies included screenwriting, film appreciation, video production, and fine arts. Although Correll resides in New Mexico, his home state is Washington where he received local accolades at the Projections Film Festival with his video work, taking Best Feature Documentary for "The Many Faces of Homelessness" as well as Best Animation for "Labyrinth of Penumbra". Correll also interned with EVR Films, where he worked to master skills related to special effects, costume/set design, directing, producing, editing, and cinematography. In addition, he has created TV commercials, music videos, and experimental narratives. His newest release, Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters (2015), takes the audience into the dark and foreboding world of Chet Zar, where apocalyptic industrial landscapes are inhabited by disturbing yet beautiful monstrosities. Correll asks the question: Who is Chet Zar, and why does he like to paint monsters? Hailed by Tattoo Magazine as "Beautiful, moving and thought-provoking", and regaled by Clive Barker as "An inspiring and important film...", the documentary won an "Honorable Mention" at the Santa Monica Independent Film Festival, and the "Guerrilla Marketing" award at the Albuquerque Film and Music Experience.

Dark Art Crosses Barriers

Dark Art Crosses BarriersDark art crosses barriers like no other art movement! People from seemingly all walks of life are interested in Dark art. Why is this art genre so all inclusive? The answer may be quite simple. There are few things that all people have in common, but suffering is certainly one of them. Every person has suffered. Thich Nhat Hanh,  Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, poet, peace activist, and author of The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, had this to say, “Anxiety, the illness of our time, comes primarily from our inability to dwell in the present moment.” Visual artistry, unlike literature, has the ability in its raw state to cross language barriers, cultural boundaries, and political positioning. But most importantly it possess the unique ability to bring our attention to the present moment. Thich Nhat Hanh would say “We have to learn the art of stopping”, and yet visual artistry requires no education in this present-tense engagement.

Dark Art Crosses BarriersHow many times has a painting, sculpture or drawing literally stopped you in your tracks? Perhaps you were scrolling through your Facebook feed and an image immediately grabbed your attention – your future speculations, your past reflections, temporarily suspended. This is not signature to Dark art though. Regardless of the art genre, be it Pop surrealism, Lowbrow, Avant-Garde, or Dadaism, visual artistry poises us to engage without first categorizing the information, “Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. In either case, we learn nothing.” (Thich Nhat HanhThe Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching) In the case of visual artistry, we need not become entangled in interpretation before experiencing its depths. 

Dark Art Crosses Barriers Yet we still linger around the precipitating question: why does Dark art cross barriers like no other art movement? I have posited the reason to be suffering, the one aspect of life that everyone has in common. Dark art deals with fear, anxiety, worry, alienation, terror, and other forms of suffering, but does so in a safe manner. A canvas cannot hurt you. You are safe inspecting the details of a dark painting, and most importantly, it can end right there. But it does not have to, “When we direct our attention toward our suffering, we see our potential for happiness. We see the nature of suffering and the way out. That is why the Buddha called suffering a holy truth. When we use the word “suffering” in Buddhism, we mean the kind of suffering that can show us the way out.” (Thich Nhat HanhThe Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching) Chet Zar discusses his brand of this philosophy in the 2015 documentary Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters, “It’s sort of like turning a light on in a dark closet to show a kid that there’s nothing really there, there’s nothing to be afraid of. They’re not something to be afraid of, they’re something to be looked at and learned from.”   

 

Dark Art Crosses Barriers All visual artistry could be considered “medicine wheels”, as described in greater detail by Cheyenne Native American spiritual leader and poet Hyemeyohsts Storm, “Any idea, person or object can be a Medicine Wheel, a Mirror, for man. For example, one person alone on a mountaintop at night might feel fear. Another might feel calm and peaceful. Still another might feel lonely, and a fourth person might feel nothing at all. In each case the mountaintop would be the same, but it would be perceived differently as it reflected the feelings of the different people who experienced it.” When we look upon a painting, drawing or sculpture we are seeing our own thoughts, feelings, and ideas reflected back at us, and so in the case of Dark art we are faced with our individual suffering. 

 

Dark Art Crosses Barriers Some might say that like suffering, we all share the pursuit of happiness, and while this may be true, it does not always bring us together. “Everyone wants to be happy, and there is a strong energy in us pushing us toward what we think will make us happy. But we may suffer a lot because of this.” (Thich Nhat HanhThe Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching) My pursuit of happiness may infringe upon another’s, and this may be cause for derision or worse, conflict. Or I may be pursing an illusory happiness. My idea of happiness might also differ from another’s idea of happiness and place us at odds. We can, on the other hand, come together over our suffering, because each of us has suffered. I do not have to agree with a person’s world-view or ideology to relate to their suffering.

I believe Plato said it best, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” During these unsettled times it is vitally important to remember this. Rather than attaching to the ways in which we differ from our fellow humans, we should focus on how we are the same. Progress is only made by coming together, regardless of how uncomfortable it may feel. In many ways this is no different than looking upon a piece of Dark art that is very unsettling. Dark art and Dark artists are often misconstrued, as explained by Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters Co-Producer Erwin Tschofen, “Actually those dark artists are really light artists, because they shed light on the things we don’t want to see.” 


“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” 

Abraham Lincoln

 

 

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Chet Zar’s DY5TOPIA Evolves

Chet Zar’s DY5TOPIA evolves! Though it has been in the recesses of Chet Zar’s mind for over a decade, the process began in earnest this year on April Fool’s Day, with the success of the first DY5TOPIA Kickstarter. The generous assistance of the Zarmy allowed us to begin the arduous process of developing a Field Guide to the Dark Universe of Chet Zar. In order to truly capture the essence of Chet’s Dark Universe, we decided to approach the process from the standpoint of investigators; “When we embarked upon this journey to understand Dy5topia, we knew very little. What we did know existed in the paintings themselves. The paintings are the only “evidence” that we can base our investigation and research on. So we approached the process as interviewer (me) and interviewee (Chet Zar), observing the paintings simultaneously as the Q&A unfolded.” (excerpt from the Field Guide) 

Chet Zar's DY5TOPIA Evolves

Over a period of five months we developed the backbone of the field guide in the form of a classification system, which allowed us to organize over one hundred paintings, and so the field guide was born. Fast approaching though was Chet’s annual Solo Exhibition at Copro Gallery. Having been immersed in the various dark corners of DY5TOPIA for nearly half of a year, we recognized that the DY5TOPIA exhibition required funding. There was no other choice than to launch a second DY5TOPIA Kickstarter, in order to transform Copro Gallery into one such dark corner!

Chet Zar's DY5TOPIA Evolves

Once again, with the amazing support of the Zarmy, we were able to facilitate not only an exhibition, but an event and moreover, an experience! For those who had the pleasure of attending the opening night of DY5TOPIA, it was no doubt more than a simple event. Working up until the last minute Lee Shamel and the Figment Foundry crew, owned and operated by James and Tayler Brown, assembled DY5TOPIA piece by piece. The parking lot was alive with activity as everyone, many Zarmy members included, helped to seam together the elaborate set. Inside was no different with Erica Miller and Gary Pressman facilitating the final, minute details. 

Chet Zar's DY5TOPIA Evolves

As Cris Velasco‘s score rose and “Black Magick” (played by Rick Galiher and costumed by Junker Designs) emerged from the DY5TOPIA street scene staircase, an ominous sensation gripped the attendees. An uneasiness permeated the atmosphere, and it seemed those who came to look were almost afraid to see! The “Interloper” (created by Jim Beinke, played by Alexander Ward) snapped its arms as Zarmy members began snapping pictures, and the entire experience took on a very surreal quality. It seemed the fine line between our world and DY5TOPIA began to blur. Oddities appeared up in every direction you turned – trench coats, gas masks, beaks, rotten grimaces, everyone moving as if in slow motion. Water continuous sloshed from a rusty pipe, and nearby a skulking zombie peered into a storefront, where enormous centipedes writhed upon a countertop. Adjacent to the street scene were towering smokestacks glowing an ominous red, from which thick smog belched.” 

“Up the ramp and through an elaborate Mausoleum complete with a coffin, flickering candles and flying-gas-mask facades, and into the “Interloper” monitoring station, where flashing imagery and bizarre landscapes could be seen upon the screens, along with a live feed of those in attendance. Damien Echols held down Gallery 2, where DY5TOPIAN leaves swirled about gallery goers’ feet as they enjoyed his many “Collaboration” pieces. Gallery 1 boasted Chet’s fourteen paintings, framed atop rusty, drippy walls, with “Black Magick” periodically moving through the crowd. Five framed excerpts from the field guide hung near Chet’s painting “DY5TOPIA”, elaborating upon the many facets of “Creeple”, “Black Magick”, “Interloper”, “Landscape”, and “nOmen”.” (Kickstarter Update)

The following day I had the pleasure of returning to Copro Gallery, where Chet and I met up with Rick Galiher, and did some pick-up shooting. Aside from advising Rick on some basic “Black Magick” character information, we allowed him to feel out the “monster” on his own, with only minor direction. Shooting in tandem, Chet captured the secondary angle on his phone, while I captured the primary angle on my camera. Rick is, in my opinion, a genius at his trade, and this performance was no different! With footage in hand I returned from Los Angeles and set about editing together a short, experimental narrative of the footage that we captured. Toying with various cuts, filters and resolutions I was able to create an experimental short, which only increased our already teeming excitement concerning further permutations of DY5TOPIA.

Next the Field Guide text will be handed over to editor Tony Saavedra, while Chet creates the final images in preparation for everything to go to designer Mackie Osborne. The End is NEAR! In the meantime we are devoted to reward fulfillment for the two Kickstarters, and with that in mind, check this out: You can still get DY5TOPIA Merchandise, but only for a limited time here: BackerKit DY5TOPIA Store! Stay tuned for updates as we move forward with the evolution of Chet Zar’s DY5TOPIA…

Chet Zar's DY5TOPIA Evolves

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DY5TOPIA Solo Show Kickstarter

The DY5TOPIA solo show Kickstarter is launching August 25th, 3:00pm PST! This is your chance to get an original Chet Zar oil painting from the DY5TOPIA solo show, for discounted prices! 

Dy5topia Solo Show Kickstarter

For the past five months Chet Zar and I have been creating a Field Guide for his dark universe. This process has required a deep investigation into the only evidence of DY5TOPIA that we possess – Chet’s paintings. The information we have gathered has since been organized and and is currently being refined for publication. Throughout this process Chet has similarly embarked upon a personal journey, using his paint to flesh out the many dark corners of DY5TOPIA. 

Dy5topia Solo Show Kickstarter

On October 15th, 2016 many of these new paintings will be unveiled at Copro Gallery for his annual solo show, and we would like to transport you to DY5TOPIA! The walls of Copro Gallery will be transformed into DY5TOPIA, smokestacks will be erected, Chet Zar will be scoring the event soundtrack, props will be installed and special character appearances of Chet Zar’s “Black Magick” and “Interloper” are scheduled! Everyone attending will be invited to dress as their favorite Chet Zar monster, or any monstrous being of choice. Placards will also be placed throughout the gallery with excerpts from DY5TOPIA: A Field Guide to the Dark Universe of Chet Zar, guiding you through the experience!

Dy5topia Solo Show Kickstarter

This Kickstarter is offering original paintings from Chet’s solo show at Copro Gallery, October 15th, 2016. Not only will you be able to get your hands on smaller items like the DY5TOPIA book, companion book, Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters DVD, 5×7″ custom DY5TOPIA frames, and full sized DY5TOPIA frame-corner sculptures, but you will also have the opportunity to purchase custom framed paintings that will be featured in the solo show! Choose your favorite images, from Interlopers to Black Magick, landscapes to smokestacks, and so much more. This is your opportunity to get an original Chet Zar painting (before they are gone), and contribute to the success of the solo show, all in one! Look for links to the Kickstarter tomorrow at 3pm, and get first choice —> DY5TOPIA FACEBOOK

Dy5topia Solo Show Kickstarter

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Ratings Reviews Keep Coming

Ratings Reviews Keep ComingThe ratings reviews keep coming for ‘Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters’ on iTunes! There is still time, enter to win Chet Zar’s custom framed oil study, “Nostrum”. We are so pleased with the outpouring of support for the documentary thus far. The Zarmy has nearly tripled the ratings and reviews for the film on iTunes, in only three days! We are enthused to see so many 5 star ratings, with such heartfelt and well delivered reviews. On the first day of the contest one Zarmy member had this to say in their review, “Any visitor to my house that sees his work and gives a sneer or gets uncomfortable because of the subject matter, this has become required viewing.” As a creator and the director of the documentary, it fulfills me to know that the film is used in such a way. The goal was always to create something that was both entertaining, and a dialogue instigator – a film that would cause people to think and to engage in discussion. Another Zarmy member concisely stated in their review, “This is about as honest a dialogue with the master as you can get. This oozes originality and the delivery of the subject by the director is truly special!” 

Ratings Reviews Keep Coming

Aside from the obvious gratification of enjoying the words of the many Zarmy members affected by the documentary, these ratings and reviews drive our stats on iTunes. These stats dictate our position, and thus our exposure to those who do not already know about the film. Inevitably we want the documentary to spread as far as possible. Your help ensures that we “comfort the disturbed, and disturb the normal“! Sharing on social media is incredibly powerful. Email the link to a friend who you think might appreciate the documentary. You may have already rated and reviewed the film, but the power lies in your ability to find 5 others to do the same. We ask this of you, because we also believe in the power of our film, and feel that it can inspire many!

Contest Rules and Regulations: 

  1. Review and/or Rate ‘Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters’ on iTunes 
  2. Choose your favorite Chet Zar image and post on Instagram
  3. Tag the following: @chetzar @NRGcreations #iliketopaintmonsters #Zarmy
  4. Only one entry per Zarmy member 
  5. Contest ends 07/19/16 @ 5:55pm PST – Winners randomly drawn within 24hrs

Ratings Reviews Keep Coming

 

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Custom Framed Oil Study Contest

Custom Framed Oil Study ContestThe custom framed oil study contest is now live! Review and/or Rate ‘Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters’ on iTunes and enter to win. Five prizes will be drawn randomly for five lucky Zarmy members. First prize is a custom framed 5×7″ oil study, with four runner-up winners receiving signed 8×10″ Chet Zar prints. Winning prizes is great, but the purpose of this contest is to promote the success of the film. We believe there are many people in the world who have not seen ‘Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters‘. One of the most effective ways of ensuring that people outside the current Zarmy ranks see the film is through ratings and reviews. In this vein we are seeking 5 star ratings on iTunes, which enhances our placement on the page. This is no different than what the music industry refers to as “the charts”. The closer we get to the “top twenty”, the farther the documentary reach expands, exponentially. Each time a user reviews the documentary and/or rates it, our exposure grows. So we are looking to you for assistance! Without the Zarmy we would have had no funding, and therefore no documentary. Now we need the Zarmy to assist once again. It only requires a few minutes, but will make all the difference! 

  1. Review and/or Rate ‘Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters’ on iTunes 
  2. Choose your favorite Chet Zar image and post on Instagram
  3. Tag the following: @chetzar @NRGcreations #iliketopaintmonsters #Zarmy
  4. Only one entry per Zarmy member 
  5. Contest ends 07/19/16 @ 5:55pm PST – Winners randomly drawn within 24hrs
Custom Framed Oil Study Contest

Enter to WIN First Place Prize – A NEW Custom Framed 5×7″ Chet Zar Oil Study

There are many ways to help the documentary. You can buy a Signed DVD + Bonus Features. You can share your experience on social media, set up a screening night with friends, and comment on articles at www.ILikeToPaintMonsters.com. There are a variety of platforms in addition to iTunes where you can review and/or rate the documentary. While these do not count as entries for the current contest, they help immensely: iMDB, Amazon, and Rotten Tomatoes. We are so pleased with the positive outpouring of support for the documentary thus far! Now we are seeking to push it even farther, with your help!  

 

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Rotten Tomatoes Contest

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 9.19.48 PMThe Rotten Tomatoes contest has begun – your opportunity to get the Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters DVD signed by filmmaker Mike Correll, and a signed paintbrush used by Chet Zar. Not only will you be entering to win amazing prizes, but your review will assist the documentary in reaching a greater audience! The rules are simple: 1) Watch Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters; 2) Review the film on Rotten Tomatoes; 3) Post an ILTPM documentary image on Instagram & tag: @chetzar @nrgcreations #iliketopaintmonsters #firstrunfeatures. The contest will end on June 27th, at 5:55pm (MST). After a twenty four hour grace period for reviews to post, the winner will be drawn randomly! We have had several winners over the past three months, and their reviews have been very helpful in promoting the documentary on iMDB, Amazon and iTunes – now we are seeking your help with Rotten Tomatoes.

James 333 had this to say on iMDB, “This is an intimate, in depth look at one of todays greatest surrealist visionary dark artists, Chet Zar…In this well made documentary you will follow Chet, and his friends and family, along that path to the successful artist that he is today. You will also see much of the art that Chet has created over the years and some insight into his process. This Documentary is highly recommended for art fans everywhere.” Similarly we received a 5 star review with an Amazon customer who said, “This was not what I expected. Watching this movie is like finding pieces of a puzzle you didn’t know you were searching for. Chet’s history is intriguing and his art imaginative, captivating and personal beyond belief. His life’s experiences touch the canvas and his other works are spellbinding in their own right. Well done NRG Creations! We are Chet fans, no doubt!”

ReviewILTPM.Rotten

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Documentary DVD In Stock

IMG_3580The documentary DVD in stock once again – back by popular demand! This time I am offering them signed, with a “Zarmy” edition patch insert. The purchase price also includes shipping, so this is a deal worth noting. Over the course of the film festival circuit, we managed to get some amazing quotes, including Clive Barker, who said, “Chet Zar’s extraordinary paintings open an elevator shaft that delivers us down into a world of the purest mystery and dread. ‘I Like to Paint Monsters’ is an inspiring and important film about the artist, as well as art itself.” We were also honored to premiere the documentary at the Paradise Artist Retreat (2015), where Guy Aitchison first saw the completed piece, and later wrote for Tattoo Magazine, “A great film that I expect will become a cult classic…beautiful, moving and thought-provoking.” 

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 4.04.30 PMSimilarly, since the documentary dvd release two months ago we have received some wonderful reviews from fans, such as Malinda T. who wrote on Amazon, “One of the BEST art documentaries I have ever seen! A truly MUST see for artists and art fans alike, even if you’re not really into dark art. The cerebral components of the film make it a true diamond in the rough, a unique glimpse into a growing culture of art today.” On iTunes NinaBees wrote, “I don’t think I can adequately express what watching this documentary means to me, but I can try. I knew that I would be blown away by this documentary, but I was also surprised by the degree it moved my spirit.” We always hoped for these kinds of reviews, and 5 star ratings, and are both humbled by the outpouring of appreciation and support! It has rivaled our expectations, certainly. 

dy5topia.squareNow we are seeking even greater exposure, both through our efforts in publicity and advertising, to your purchases and shares. Every person that you bring into the Zarmy fold, is one more opportunity for the vision of Chet Zar to have greater reach. One person shows two people, and two people show four, etcetera. I have always believed that I was working on something much larger than the documentary, and I know Chet similarly feels his body of work is a facet of something bigger. The culmination of this effort is taking shape in DY5TOPIA: A Field Guide to the Dark Universe of Chet Zar, but can be further perpetuated by spreading knowledge of the documentary! 

Get your copy of the DVD here: Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters (DVD)

ChetZarDVDbox no background

 

 

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Documentary Website Relaunch

"The Primaries" as featured in Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters (2015)

The documentary website relaunch is complete after several months of work! New style, information, images, and merchandise, plus all of your favorite I Like to Paint Monsters blogs and media. Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters (2015) has been on the streets for two months, and we continue to receive a humbling number of reviews, reflections, and overall appreciation daily! The goal in creating the documentary was to produce a thought provoking biopic, that encourages personal growth and artistic exploration in the audience, through the process of inspiration. It is now clear that we achieved our goal! Needless to say, we intended to appeal to Chet Zar’s existing fan base first and foremost, but also sought to extend the fold to include new fans, friends and collectors – we are encouraged to see that we also succeeded here. The reason for this success is YOU! The Zarmy is the reason that we were able to fund the documentary, and continues to be the reason that people learn about it. Our reach is only so far, and we rely on the “100th Monkey Effect”, so to speak. We need the Zarmy to spread the word so that those who do not know about Chet Zar, can find out! Please take a moment to tell a friend about the documentary, share the iliketopaintmonsters.com website on social media, rent the documentary on iTunes, or buy it on DVD and have some people over for a screening. Another thing that greatly assists in our online stats are reviews. If you have a few spare moments and feel compelled, you can score and review the documentary on iTunes, Amazon, iMDB, and Rotten Tomatoes. These scores and reviews will enhance the likelihood of the documentary trickling down to Netflix!   

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We are currently running a sale in the ILTPM Store for Documentary Collectibles. You can pick up 25% off Signed HDV Cassette Boxes from I Like to Paint Monsters production, and the only Signed Zarmy Edition Silkscreen. We have a special DARKLY TICKET contest co-occurring with the sale: 5 of the 50 Signed HDV Cassette Boxes will contain Darkly Tickets. These numbered tickets are redeemable for amazing prizes including documentary patches, a signed 8×10″ Chet Zar print, a signed Chet Zar Paintbrush, and a silver-sharpie-sketched “Chet Zar: The Art of Black Magick” book! If you receive a Darkly Ticket, ranging from FIRST PLACE (5) to LAST PLACE (1), follow the social media descriptions within for redemption (shipping is included). There are currently on 35 left, and no winners yet, so your chances are high!!!

EgoDeath_48x36_webThe ILTPM Store is currently out of Chet Zar: I like to Paint Monsters DVD’s, but you can pick them up from Chet Zar’s Store of Doom, signed by the man himself: Signed ILTPM DVD. You can also get a copy from our distributor First Run Features (DVD)! Last but not least, you can rent it in HD from iTunes VOD here: Rent/Buy ILTPM iTunes.  

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