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Art by Chip Zdarsky. Copyright 2002.

PopImage is part of the PopCultureShock network.

Interview Conducted by Ed Mathews

Marilyn Manson, Robin Black and Lucifer walk into a cabaret. There's an angel at the bar with a shotgun and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Is playing on the big screen. There's a girl on stage liking fire off her breasts and a redhead on the other stage having fun with mousetraps. Don't ask. Spiders begin to crawl out of the martini glasses and start to spew excrement of nanotech and leather steampunk lizards. Born covered in piercings and chains they begin to scurry about, no one would care but when they knocked over the Hennessy the bartender wasn't too happy. A PVC wrapped dominatrix with an hourglass figure and a dragon tattoo that started at the ankle and ended at the neck started to yell obscenities and pulled out a sword from god knows where. That's when the fun began...

If there's anyone who could bring those few sentences to life like no one else, or perhaps even already has, it's a man by the name of Chad Michael Ward. Chad recently spoke with our own Ed Mathews about his art and photo book from NBM Publishing, BLACK RUST.

Pop: Why did you go with NBM to publish your book, Chad? Also, did you approach them or did they approach you?

: When the time came to shop the book around, my agent had several publishers interested in putting out BLACK RUST. I chose NBM because I've been a big fan of their past books like THE FALLEN, HOW LOATHSOME and the LUIS ROYO series of art books. It made a lot of sense at the time, and I feel honored to be alongside great artists like Luis Royo, Michael Manning and Richard Moore.

Click For Larger ImagePop: Who would you say is your greatest influence? What inspired you to do this kind of digital art?

: My single greatest influence would have to be Dave McKean. It was his work, combined with the work of H.R. Giger that inspired me to do digital art in the first place. My early work was very heavily McKean-inspired montages and collages. Since then, though, my style has evolved into more of an illustrated technique thanks to the influence of artists like Brom, Ashley Wood, Rick Berry and Jon Foster.

Pop: In political science, there is a model called the Funnel of Causality, which boiled down for purposes of this question suggests that many smaller factors influence a larger decision; that the sum of our past experience affects our policy decisions. In this creative funnel of causality, which of the above parts would you say helped create BLACK RUST? What are some other factors that fell into the funnel?

Click For Larger ImageCMW
: Based on influences, BLACK RUST was the type of work you might see if Giger and McKean had a love child and that child in turn grew up under the guidance of Brom. It's got subtle nuances that owe themselves to Giger's biomechanical work and McKean's photomontages but are structured in a more illustrative style like Brom or Ashley Wood.

Pop: What is your favourite piece in this book and why?

: My favourite piece in the book is the cover. It represents the culmination of my art career at the time and is probably my best work to date.

Pop: Do you have any interest in taking this style and applying it to a future project in sequential art?

Click For Larger ImageCMW
: You know, someday I would love to. Right now, though, I just don't have the discipline or patience to do sequential work. Because the nature of my work is photographic, there's that extra step required to doing sequential work. I had originally wanted to do a short sequential piece for BLACK RUST but it never worked out properly.

Pop: Did you have space constraints in the publishing of BLACK RUST? Were there any pieces you'd have loved to include, but at the end of the day had to be bumped out?

: Originally I had wanted to do BLACK RUST as this massive 200 page tome with a lot more writing, some sequential stuff and an expanded "world bible". However, NBM has a page cap on their books of 96 pages, so I had to reel in my ideas a bit. In the end, though, this proved to be a good thing because I think it made the book more concise and theme-centric. It also gives me an excuse to do a sequel.

Pop: Aside from the prospect of a sequel to BLACK RUST, what's Chad Michael Ward's next project?

Click For Larger ImageCMW
: Well, I've always got a million projects in the fire at once. Right now I'm working on two different books, both of which are more photographic than art. The first is called GEHENNA: A MURDER OF ANGELS, which is more thematic like BLACK RUST; and the second is (tentatively) called THE DARK MIRROR, which is a portrait/fashion book. I'm also slowly working on a script for a comic book that ties in to the BLACK RUST called JOE KILLER.

No time for sleep!

Thanks Chad.

BLACK RUST is in stores now.
9x12, 96 Pages in full colour.
$18.95 U.S., ISBN 1-56163-363-1.

Foreword by Warren Ellis
Afterword by Tim Bradstreet


Ed Mathews is Co-Editor in Chief of PopImage

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