Dark Art Honors Suffering

IMG_2743Dark art honors suffering seems to be the agreed upon slogan for I Like to Paint Monsters, based on the incredible feedback we recently received at the Paradise Artist Retreat, premiere screening of the documentary. If we ever had any doubts about the potential impact of I Like to Paint Monsters, the Chet Zar documentary, they were completely vanquished after screening it for a mixed audience of one hundred and fifty plus artists, collaborators, and fans! IMG_2768After a brief introduction, standing in a spotlight, the audience somewhere out in the black hole of the auditorium, I seated myself for the nerve wracking ride. As the movie got underway I noticed people reacting where they were supposed, how they were supposed to, and for a brief one hour and twenty minutes I had the pleasure of watching three years worth of work through the eyes of my audience! The obligatory applause followed and I expected the audience to begin filing out. Instead they lowered their applause in favor of Rick Galiher’s delivery of the complete Ego Death eulogy, and sat quietly through the entire run of credits. Again we were met with applause, and at that moment I realized that we had achieved our goal. Originally the Q&A was to directly follow the screening, but I found myself standing and announcing a fifteen minute break to the audience, feeling that a few minutes to digest was necessary. IMG_2792Outside on the patio I was greeted by a regular stream of people, each taking a moment to express how deeply touched they had been by the film. I could overhear the murmur of the crowd and it seemed that everyone had felt the same tide of emotion. The Q&A began shortly thereafter and I found myself falling into that old Chet Zar, Mike Correll rhythm, and the bizarre stories began to flow. Even after the Q&A people came to the booth, next door to the auditorium, to express their appreciation of I Like to Paint Monsters; one incredible young man even said that it had changed his life! A humbling and hard to digest compliment, but one that speaks measures of the power of cinema and art! IMG_2562A week later now and I’m still digesting the experience. What is the most salient perhaps is that the Zarmy, albeit a catchy coined phrase, is actually a moniker for a group of people unified in their perception that Dark Art honors suffering. I Like to Paint Monsters has become a call to arms, and so it is quite apropos that those who support it would be called Zarmy members!  It is easy to get wrapped up in daily life, trying to both create and make enough money to pay the bills. Both Chet and I know it, and so we honor each Zarmy member for your level of involvement in both the Dark Art movement and I Like to Paint Monsters. With that in mind, Chet has taken a moment to give supporters and Kickstarter backers an update, and for those who did not make it to the documentary premiere, head to New Mexico on June 6th at 4:00pm, for the Albuquerque Film and Music Experience screening of I Like to Paint Monsters at the KIMO theatre. httpvh://youtu.be/7qa1xaNHQI8

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Chet Zar Documentary Premiere

The Chet Zar Documentary Premiere is scheduled: April 2nd, 2015, 4:00pm at the Paradise Artist Retreat in New Mexico. Following the screening, at 5:30pm, will be an on-stage Q&A with Chet Zar and Mike Correll. This premiere screening is FREE to the public, but the theatre will fill up fast, so please show up early and take a look around the auditorium, which will be hosting some of the most incredible Dark Artists of the decade, including Chet Zar, Gabe Leonard, Michele Wortman, Guy Aitchison, Nick Baxter, Jeff Gogue and many more! In preparation for this cinema event I have prepared yet another teaser for your viewing pleasure. 


It has been an intense and wild ride, spanning over two and a half years, during which I captured approximately one hundred and eighty hours of footage, which has since been distilled down to 80 minutes. I certainly couldn’t have made the documentary without the ongoing support and assistance from the Zarmy. Stay tuned for other exciting developments, as we begin to take I Like to Paint Monsters on tour!

More information about the: Paradise Artist Retreat

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Chet Zar Documentary Teaser

NRG Creations presents the Chet Zar documentary teaser for your viewing pleasure! I am currently rendering down the second to final draft of the documentary as I type this post, and I am only one all-nighter away from calling it complete! There is no way that I could have gotten this far without the support of each and every one of you, Kickstater Backers, family members, friends, colleagues and fans alike, the Zarmy, respectively. I will also be releasing a new trailer and a spoiler, so stay tuned for developments and film festival dates!


I Like to Paint Monsters – The Chet Zar Story (teaser)

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Dark Egg Hunt

DarkEggHuntThe Dark Egg Hunt, if you follow I Like to Paint Monsters on Social Media, goes by many names: Scavenger Hunt, Puzzles with a Payoff, Chet Zar Trivia, etc. but the most important thing about it is very simple: it is FUN! It is vastly important, now more than ever, for us to remember to have fun. Life is cruel, it is a predatory Universe, and we are surrounded by boundless atrocity and suffering, so it is easy to become reclusive within ourselves. When this occurs, happiness begins to withdraw as we contract. Engaging in fun things for the simple reason that they are fun to do, is a way to counteract this contracting; it causes us to expand!MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA As previously mentioned, I offer contests as a way (on the surface) to provide cool prizes to Zarmy members for their support, but on a deeper level I seek to give at least one person a fun little distraction – something to enjoy just for the sake of enjoyment. Web pages have become mundane! We are so over stimulated by the scroll of images and the onslaught of sound, that we barely scratch the surface of things. I equate this to snorkeling as opposed to scuba diving. But what reason would someone have to spend time lurking? Well, a very simple reason is because they enjoy the material. But what could help someone to enjoy the material more? Engagement, interactivity perhaps? So as a tribute to being happy for the sake of happiness alone, to feeling accomplished over something as simple as a puzzle or riddle, to finding that moment where all of the societal bullshit quiets and the world stops, and somewhere in that perfect NOW you are solving something, which on the surface is perhaps just for fun…but what more lies beneath? In this vein I will present you with three recent contests (which lead to some of my personal favorite Chet Zar paintings) hosted on Instagram: ILTPM IG and on Facebook: ILTPM FB which should provide you with some enjoyment, and perhaps, dare I say, happiness! Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 5.20.52 PMThe prizes have already been won, but tune in to ILTPM IG and ILTPM FB regularly for more opportunities to win amazing prizes. In the meantime, enjoy these three puzzles, the solutions for which all exist within this webpage, the ILTPM headquarters!  PUZZLES! PUZZLES! PUZZLES!  1. Scavenger Hunt: Use this anagram, “Theist Rat —> Great Sege”, in concert with this webpage to locate a link to the correct Chet Zar painting! 2. Word Riddle / Scavenger Hunt: Using the “Latest News” seek out Chet Zar at the Stranger Factory, “follow your Bliss” and link to the correct painting! 3. Puzzles with a Payoff: Crack the following code; use the cracked code in concert with this webpage to locate the link; follow the link to the correct painting! XIII, V, IV, IX, I —> IV, V, I, IV,   XIII, I, XIV,    XIX, XIII, XV, XI, IX, XIV, VII IMG_0268

“What can promote innocent mirth, and I may say virtue, more than a good riddle?” ~ George Eliot 

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Hell City Zarmy

DSC00050The Hell City Zarmy has returned from a productive and exciting trip to Phoenix, Arizona, for the Hell City Tattoo Convention. NRG Creations rendezvoused with the two newest ILTPM Crew members at the luxurious Arizona Biltmore, and we set about tackling the final missing piece of active production: fan testimonials! With weekend Production Assistant Heidi Hunt providing back up, and ILTPM Magazine Publicist Patrick Richter snapping “behind the scenes” pics, we arrived with just enough time to catch Ben Licata from “TattooNOW” interviewing Chet Zar on stage! In his usual, casual candor Chet filled the audience in on Chet.Heidi.Mikehis study sales, connection to the tattoo world, creative inspirations, and talked a bit about ILTPM. Off the stage and right back at it, Chet Zar could be found in an adjoining room where the “Wet Paint Project” was taking place. Between touch up’s on a set of extraordinary studies, Chet laid down strokes a life painting, of a young female model.IMG_0244 Around the corner the amazing Neil Winn ran sales at a joint booth, where a constant stream of both young and old browsed through Neil’s incredible sculptures, magnets and sketches, before delving into the darkened corner where Chet Zar boasted his bizarre wares! The heat kept everyone inside, which made for a tangible buzz of excitement and energy, all to the perpetual hum of the tattoo machines gliding over prone skin in the main convention area.  Patrick Richter HC21My second day brought with it interviews from the world famous circus sideshow duo, The Enigma and Serana Rose, both of whom offered their instinctual and intellectual reflections of Chet Zar’s work, all wrapped in a bow of tattoos, skewers, implants and garish costumes! Long time Zarmy member, ILTPM supporter,DSC00116 and Chet Zar fan Richard Ray Ingersoll also stopped by and delivered a powerfully charismatic speech on how Chet Zar’s work has affected him personally, and why it is so important to the world at this time in history! Evening festivities brought with them powerful visions, warm camaraderie, libations and epicurean delights. The morning brought with it the heat as well as the inevitable departure! Luckily I had pre-arranged the lights, so I was able to get early morning, heartfelt interviews from both Patrick Richter (our weekend host and photographer), and Heidi Hunt (currently the only owner of an Ego Death tattoo – WIP by the amazing Jason Peacher of St. George, Utah) before tearing down and packing up. IMG_0241The long, ten hour drive home lulled me into creative inspiration, to the lovely array of music thrumming in my ears, and the darkened landscape speeding past. Back at NRG Creations headquarters and the footage consolidation began; satisfied with my Hell City plunder, I picked up the editing process, while simultaneously assisting with the completion of The Anxious Robot Raffle. As the days IMG_0243between now and documentary completion dwindle, I’m overcome with indescribable gratitude for the support the Zarmy has provided over the past two years, and more excited than ever to share this amazing piece of filmic history with each and every one of you!   

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Breathtaking Documentary Beauty

  Three Sisters - Monument Valley, Navajo Tribal ParkBreathtaking documentary beauty abounds! From the amazing pieces of Dark Art that I have discovered, to the supportive people and astounding landscapes, this journey has been unforgettable! For those of you who do not know, early last week I traveled to Chinle and Kayenta, Arizona, to film time-lapses of rocks, clouds, landscapes and the sun. Synchronicity landed me at a gorgeous Best Western, in a one horse town seemingly populated by 99% Navajo residents. Two hotels, five restaurants (if you include fast food in the restaurant category), and three gas stations made for simple amenities, but the “Junction Restaurant” in the parking lot of the Best Western made for easy, local meals. I have never encountered such an amazing and welcoming group of people! A twenty minute drive in the intense Arizona sun and I was ready to scout the perfect spot. After making my way down the side of a sheer 600 feet cliff, Canyon de Chelly - White House Ruinscovering one and half miles, carrying approximately 135 pounds of film equipment, I located the White House Ruins. While my camera captured the sun moving across red rock faces, behind which turbulent cumulous clouds spun spirals against cerulean blue skies, I chatted with a group of Navajo kids ranging from seven to twenty-two. They were taking a day off from ranching to help their grandmother sell art near the ruins. Knowing that the return climb would be far more intense than the descent, I lounged in the shade of a tree and enjoyed the stories of lightning and cattle wrangling, eagle spirits guarding the canyon and simple western life.  IMG_9140 After a late evening, sunset time-lapse near Rough Rock, I headed back to my hotel room to get some work done. The next day I checked out and traveled to Monument Valley in Navajo Tribal Park. I sought the iconic John Ford Point where Stagecoach was filmed in 1936, for the depth of field and late evening shadow play. Most people who see images of this place immediately have a contemporary reference for it, and truth be told, I think every filmmaker wants to shoot there! The morning yielded a beautiful time-lapse of the sun pushing shadows across a fifteen mile rock face. As I readied to pack up and find another spot, I encountered a Chirikawa guide, Martin L. Samaniego, who works for an intriguing Navajo woman with at least eight generations of family born on the spot where we stood. We set up camp near their fry bread stand and talked photography until evening time, when I was able to get a full sunset looking out from the classic John Ford Point. Rather than spend money on another night I hit the road and made the seven hour drive home under a bulging half moon, all the while ruminating over the exciting developments and my plans for the footage! IMG_9377With the patience and support of Chet Zar, I Like to Paint Monsters is taking an extraordinary form! In the mean time Chet Zar has offered up his iconic 16×20″ oil painting, “The Anxious Robot”, on a month long raffle to generate more funding for the documentary. The raffle will run until August 20th at 9am, with the drawing occurring at 11am PST, streaming live! Five prizes in total with unlimited $25 entries, and every raffle entry comes with an autographed I Like to Paint Monsters sticker! RAFFLE

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Documentary Revelations Abound

MomentOfClarity_11x14_OC_2005Documentary revelations abound as I dissolve into a round the clock I Like to Paint Monsters extravaganza! Amidst the technical turmoil of pounding out the editorial kinks, moments of clarity seem like gulps of frigid water, shocking my system into profound wakefulness. Despite only having two hands, and over a dozen balls in the air, intuitions rises like a berg from the depths, its cratered surface glistening in the harsh light. If I am fast and lucky I am allowed a relic. As I have imparted before, documentary occurs in tandem with both the lives of the documentary subjects, and the inevitable twists and turns of the filmmaker’s. These things are not separate, and as a consequence they rub off on one another, just as you pick up dust on your jacket squeezing between tight surfaces. Recently while musing over literature revolving around Joseph Campbell, one of Chet Zar’s inspirations, I was struck with a moment of clarity! A connection was made in my mind concerning the management of old and new myths, and the potential impact of that notion, in application to paradigm shift, namely the movement towards happiness and away from fear. And so the script continues to ebb and flow as I work through the production of necessary b-roll (images used to carry the story), while simultaneously sequencing the interviews into a manageable infrastructure. Another moment of clarity arose recently while enjoying a Facebook thread with some friends. A glimmering idea, nearly carbonated with energy shone through, and I decided that a fundraising contest is in order.
NEW Chet Zarmy Design

NEW Chet “Zarmy” Design – Coming SOON!

We are always looking for ways to fund the documentary, now the film festival circuit, so here is the deal: Open design submissions for a limited edition, I Like to Paint Monsters poster run! Post your finished high definition image (300 dpi or better) on the I Like to Paint Monsters Facebook page —> ILTPM, no later than 12am MST, July 14th, for a chance to have your design featured! Contest winner will also receive a documentary Hoodie, and runner up prizes will be revealed on the 14th. While I suggest an image that is a traditional poster size, 11×17″ for instance, I am allowing full creative freedom. One submission per person. Donate your time and creativity to help the documentary succeed! Together we can ensure that the documentary has the most thorough Film Festival circuit review, by creating and selling merchandise to support travel!  IMG_8379 “Ever since we could see, hear, smell, taste and touch we’ve been learning cultural myths, upon which the infrastructure of our perception rests. Unfortunately these myths are often outdated. Biblical information, for instance, that was once pertinent, is rendered obsolete by the passage of time. Yet we are left with these empty myths that still govern our behavior. Joseph Campbell would tell us that we need to create our own myths!” ~ Excerpt from ILTPM Script    

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And The Beat Goes On

IMG_7937And the beat goes on; every night this week I have been hard at work blasting through the I Like to Paint Monsters Documentary b-roll, shaping the Chet Zar story into something greater than the sum of its parts. When people think of documentary they often reflect upon a traditional piece of journalistic film work, in which the subject of the documentary follows a clean and clear pathway from a “beginning” to an “end” – from point (a) to point (g)…or whatever. The story of Chet Zar is not so convenient, and it would be irresponsible as a director and artist to force it into such a mold. I Like to Paint Monsters has subplots, and at times is structured self-reflectively, and yet I did not make these decisions. The process of documentary is so unique, in that the documentary (if you are open to it) will inform YOU of what to do next. Often the next suggested step seems off-kilter and perhaps questionable. Yet if you are capable of staying out of your own way, as is the case I believe with all art forms, the most amazing magick occurs – the piece of art takes on a life of its own! It begins to evolve, and in the case of documentary it evolves with the ever changing conditions of life. A documentary does not occur in a static, studio environment, rather out in the world, where random occurrences are the rule not the exception.

The “star” of the shoot – a scarlet runner bean hints at what is to come

Now with that said, I will offer up some rare behind the scenes images, of documentary studio work I have been completing. Aside from the interviews (obviously), and the periodic “dramatization”,  the audience is carried through the experience by visual storytelling. Most of this visual storytelling is captured throughout the process of shooting, so long as you are brave enough to leave the camera running when the situation “seems” to be over, or turning it on when you get an intuition. Even still, unless you want your audience staring at a bunch of talking heads (often too close, so you can see nose hairs) you must fill the gaps with imagery that coincides with what is being said. I Like to Paint Monsters has been gracious enough to tell me how to fill those gaps. Most of this is TOP SECRET of course….wouldn’t want to spoil the enjoyment of taking the ride, should you decide to buy the ticket! In the mean time, here is an excerpt from the script, enjoy! IMG_7931 “It’s always hard to wrap things up with a nice, neat little bow. That’s what I struggle the most with as an artist. As humans we have a tendency to perceive things in a very polarized fashion. Very black and white. But what our experience teaches us, is that while black and white exist, most things fall in the tones of grey. And so loose ends are the rule, not the exception.”     

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Documentary Progress


ILTPM Storyboard image used for cut-in shots

Documentary progress has been the entire focus of the past several months. With Sundance Film Festival submission deadlines fast approaching, NRG Creations is working split twelve hour days, six days a week, to ensure that I Like to Paint Monsters becomes what it is truly destined to be! Throughout the process of logging, capturing, transcribing, scripting, sequencing, and non-stop mental cogitation (sometimes consternation), I have delved deep in to the theories we are presenting with ILTPM. Drawing upon a reservoir of some 50 interviews, the subject matter is at times so striking and powerful, that I am floored at the potential impact it could have. This sensation of greatness, a feeling of being directly involved in the shaping of culture, by means of art and social commentary, namely documentary, is not based in ego, rather love. I am in love with the world, and seek to help others to open to the miraculous potential of the human experience! We are nearing some kind of a crux, and nearly everyone I talk to agrees that a significant paradigm shift is occurring. I couldn’t be happier to play my small role in this exciting process!  IMG_7856Last night, having spent the past week converting a section of nearby warehouse into a useful studio shooting location, I got to work! At this point the only shooting that remains are pick-up and cut-in shots, or b-roll as we say in the industry (b-roll: images that you view while listening to interview subjects speak). I treat these cut-in shots (close-up detail of images) and pick-up shots (additional imagery to carry the story visually) with great reverence! As a filmmaker I am always trying to make what I would like to see. I personally enjoy hi-resolution images, with great attention paid to lighting, focus and movement. I also feel that I have a responsibility as a filmmaker to carry you through the adventure, to fill in the gaps and make art, not just a recapitulation of a bunch of talking heads. I do not seek to present an A&E Biography! When documentary journalism and creative inspiration join, the result is an experience, not a simple rehashing of life’s events.

Director, Mike Correll, doing late night studio cut-in shots for ILTPM

When on location I have had the luxury of assistance from friends and colleagues, but here in Northern New Mexico it is all me. As a consequence of finances and location, I typically complete all filmmaking tasks solo. When I say this I simply mean that all of the aforementioned shooting (b-roll) I complete alone. I can often show the set-up, but can rarely show myself at work. Last night I captured myself on set – it is about one in the morning and I have just finished shooting a section of storyboard for the ILTPM title sequence! It is clear by the expression on my face that I truly love to create! In tandem with the filmmaking, Chet Zar and NRG Creations are busy fulfilling ILTPM Kickstarter rewards! I would not be here, now, grinding out the last couple months of post-production, were it not for the support of the Zarmy! Thank you for contributing to the process, whether you donate money or simply share Chet Zar’s work with a friend, every little bit counts!   
b-roll shot from Spectral Motions Studio

b-roll shot from Spectral Motions Studio

“…Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” ~ Marianne Williamson       

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Iconic Chet Zar Painting is available

Abandoned_ChetZar_OB_14x18_2008Iconic Chet Zar Painting is available! I was somewhat surprised to see Chet Zar’s “Abandoned” for sale on ebay, yet not entirely. Chet Zar’s paintings are at the forefront of the Dark Art Movement, so if there was ever a time for collectors to begin circulating iconic pieces such as “Post American Gothic” (recently on the market) and “Abadoned”, now is the time! With only two days left and no bids, “Abandoned” is poised to sell for the ridiculously low price of $2,700! There is a great likelihood that this painting will be included in the “I Like to Paint Monsters” documentary, which will only increase its already teeming value!   Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 9.55.54 AMRecently featured in the “I Like to Paint Monsters” documentary trailer, “Abandoned” embodies the very essence of Chet Zar’s work – lonesome characters wrought with pain, sadness and bleak nostalgia. These characters resonate deeply because they touch us in a very intimate place, a place that is so personal and fragile, that we dare not expose it to the world. Within the capacity of artist and shaman, brave creators like Chet Zar blaze a path that others can follow. They tear open their chests and expose the withered, worm riddled heart that beats within their core. They beckon us to look, despite our fear, so that we may also open our hearts and share our suffering with others. They remind us that we are all afraid, and it is okay, so long as we do not allow it to stop us in our tracks, like the character in “Abandoned” we must persevere. We are all bound in this human experience, and while we may feel isolated and sick with the state of the world, we are all connected in our dismay, and galvanized in our pursuit of a better world! “Abandoned” speaks measures of this eternal human struggle, and will likely be considered one of the great masterpieces of our time! So I implore you to follow the link and drop a bid: BUY ABANDONED 

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