INTERVIEW : Chad Savage : Kilter Magazine

1 How old were you when you first became interested in art?

I’ve always been interested in art. That is to say, I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember doing anything. Drawing was a form of self-expression for me as soon as I was capable of shoving a crayon across a piece of paper.

2 What sparked this interest?

Genetics, near as I can tell. My father was an architect with artistic tendencies; my grandfather (my father’s father) was an artist of astonishing talent and diversity, working in ink, paint, metal, wood and anything else he could bend to his will.

3 Why did you select art as a career?

Well, technically, I didn’t. I selected graphic design as a career, which I supplement with illustration. It is extraordinarily difficult to make a living as an artist; graphic design is a more viable choice, as it provides more employment opportunities.

4 Which aspect of your university studies did you enjoy the most?

Illustration assignments that included design aspects – things like “Design a poster for this event”. They allowed me to engage in all the aspects of art and design that I liked, all at once. That’s effectively what I do for a living.

5 Was it hard making the transition from a design job to freelance work?

Yes and no. Leaving a steady corporate paycheck behind is scary, but getting to call your own shots and succeed or fail on your own terms… well, there’s nothing like it. I was fired from the last corporate job I had under the mistaken idea that I was freelancing on the side (I wasn’t), but my then-boss, as she was escorting me off the premises, said “you really need to be running your own studio. It’s the only way you’ll be happy.” As wrong as she was in firing me, she was right on that point.

6 Can you define dark art?

Broadly, dark art is any art that deals with thematically dark concepts or imagery. At its best, in my opinion, dark art is art that celebrates and exemplifies the beauty in dark imagery. I’ve often characterized this as “the most hideous spider may spin the loveliest web”; seeing the beauty and intricacy of such a web is similar to the effect that effective dark art has on the viewer.

7 Which artists have influenced you the most?

H. R. Giger, Joel Peter Witkin, Clive Barker, Brom, Chad Michael Ward, Chris Mars, Vincent Marcone, Alan M. Clark, Beth Bajema, Joseph Larkin

8 How would you describe your art?

Dark, certainly. Somewhat Halloween obsessed. Occasionally horrific. Usually spooky.

9 What inspires you to create?

Creativity. Seeing art, hearing music, watching a movie – anything where somebody shows me their own creativity makes me want to respond creatively. Some of my best work (in my opinion) has been created in response to amazing creativity that I’ve witnessed.

10 Are you a big fan of horror movies, books, and haunted houses? Who are your favorites?

Yes, yes, and yes. Designating favorites would take up more time and space than either of us have. For those that are genuinely interested, follow me on the various social networking sites and blogs I’m on – I post about this stuff all the time.

11 Why did you decide to take this direction with your art?

I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision, any more than you decide to like Ranch Salad Dressing or the color blue. Some things we’re just born with a predilection for, and in my case, it was spooky imagery.

12 Tell me about “Hallontine” and “Psycho Circus”?

HALLONTINE was created for the Vile Valentine 2 exhibit at the Nineteen Hundred and One Gallery in 2008. Halloween is a daily lifestyle choice for me; I thought it would be fun to infect Valentine’s Day with a Halloween feeling, so carving a Jack-O-Lantern into a valentine heart just seemed… right.

PSYCHO CIRCUS: THE DEADLIEST SHOW ON EARTH was created as an album cover for a never-realized CD. That’s pretty much it. The client wanted a shark-toothed radioactive clown ripping through a circus tent. That’s what I painted.

13 Which pieces do you enjoy working on the most?

I love painting Jack-O-Lanterns. I really do. I did one a few years back in response to a Dean Koontz short story called “The Black Pumpkin” – the painting was called “Looking for Linus”, a reference to “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. Creating art with overt Halloween imagery, in particular Jack-O-Lanterns, is what I’d do all day, every day, if I didn’t have to worry about paying the mortgage.

14 Can you tell me the best part of your job as an artist?

Getting paid to do what I love. No question.

15 What are you working on now?

Same thing(s) I’m always working on – logos, websites, posters, etc. for horror, Halloween and haunted house businesses!

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