PostAmericanGothicChet Zar is well known as an influential figure in the Dark Art Movement, and, given his chosen moniker “Painter of Dark,” this is no surprise. But where did this creative giant get his start?

Born on November 12, 1967 in San Pedro, California, Zar was well known as the family prankster, always coming up with creative and often gruesome gags. His brother, Rick Zar, remembers him as always doing art, constantly making something. His mother, Judy Zar, has said that his fascination with dark imagery seemed to come from somewhere within, and permeated all of his artwork.

shamanicTendencies_ChetZarWith a passion for horror films, an innate urge to create bizarre artwork, and a superhuman work ethic, Zar seemed to be made for the special effects industry. During his time with the film industry, he designed and created creatures and make-up effects for such films as “Darkman,” “The Ring,” “Hellboy I & II,” and “Planet of the Apes.” Even more well-known is his work with the band Tool, contributing to both their music videos and their on-stage theatrical animations.

Despite his success in the film industry, Zar became disenchanted by the many artistic compromises required of him. With the support of his family and encouraging words from horror author Clive Barker, Zar decided in early 2000 to pursue his passion for monsters by painting them. In this new arena, he has flourished and found the much-needed freedom to explore his internal world and all of the oddities created by his brush strokes. Combining humor, horror, and humanity, Zar’s work is wildly entertaining and deeply thought-provoking.

Chet Painting still-frame from documentary - © 2015 NRG Creations, Inc.

Chet Zar painting at the Paradise Artist Retreat 2013