I am so happy to note the S&P's 300TH post (to now well over 30,000 visitors!) with a special guest.
Let's move these stools over there -- right, closer to the fire, it's gettin' chilly! -- and let's make comfortable painter, sculptor, seamster, illustrator, artist extraordinaire and loyal patron of the Skull & Pumpkin, Adam Chiet!
Who is this guy? In his own words:
"I'm a self taught sculptor with a BFA in Illustration/Design from the Massachusetts College of Art (93'). My professional artistic career has spanned over 15 years and I have been lucky enough to work as a sculptor for Universal Studios, FL., Walt Disney World, FL., several museums, casinos and themed restaurants. I've also worked in the video game industry, and as a digital photo-retoucher in NYC. I'm also proud to have taught art on the elementary and college level. Besides my sculpture work, I've recently worked for a major company designing light/sound/animated Christmas and Halloween villages for the retail market."
Adam's been kind enough to allow me to dig into his twisted brain and explore the creative clutter there!
S&P: Adam, can you remember when you first discovered your love and talent for creating things with paint, clay, and pencil?
AC: I think I was about 3 and I was drawing the family pets, dogs, cats, fish. Then my parents and brother, my family took notice because it wasn't your usual stick figures but actual shapes and faces. When I turned 4, I started sculpting animals and dinosaurs with my Play-Doh. Dinos would eventually lead me to Godzilla and then the classic monster films!
S&P: Does artistic talent run in the family?
AC: Yes, my mother could paint and draw and still is into many different types of crafts. My dad can build anything and although it's not his profession, he is a very capable carpenter. My brother however is just a pharmacist, haha!
S&P: Were you always a Classic Monster lovin' kid?
AC: Absolutely! The Creature Double Feature and having a brother 3 years older than me, helped introduce the classic monsters to me at the age of 5 or 6.
A fantastic bust of our good friend, actor Daniel Roebuck, as horror host Dr. Shocker!
S&P: You began Chiet Design in 1999. What compelled you to jump into business this way, and how has the ride been?
AC: I wanted to have a small voice in the creation of monster figures. I was a big fan of the Telco Halloween motionettes, and based a series of large Monster figures off of these whimsical electronic display figures. It's been over 10 years and I've had very busy times, and down times, but I've made many one of a kind figures. The challenge now is to make more elaborate and detailed figures with each passing year.
S&P: What, if any, are your criteria for choosing a subject for your next incredible piece?
AC: Mostly it's up to the collector. I have my personal favorites and have covered them in the past. I'm thinking about a line of Super-Hero and TV personalities next!
S&P: Is there an average length of time for finishing a piece?
AC: It really varies. It can range from 13 hours to 25 hours. Each figure is hand made, painted, and clothed. Also, commissioned figures may also have a custom sculpted head as well!
S&P: You've had to become a fine seamster in order to really complete and bring your figures to life. Was this something you'd done before?
AC: No, in the early days I actually hand sewed everything, but the more involved costumes were sewn by a seamstress for me. All of that was very time consuming. It was only a few years ago I finally was taught how to use a sewing machine, haha!
S&P: Do you have a favorite character/subject in horror? Sci-fi? Fantasy?
AC: Yes, I love the classic Monsters, and I also love fantasy and classic sci-fi too. My favorite character is the Wolfman, but I also love vampires, and mummies... okay there are too many and not enough space to list all them, haha!
S&P: Do you have a favorite piece from your own creations?
AC: I'm very partial to two figures -- the (Glenn Strange) Frankenstein and The (Lon Chaney Jr.) Mummy with shades of the Aurora model kit -- but honestly I like them all.
S&P: Any hints about future projects you're particularly excited about?
AC: Yes, I'm very keen on doing some vintage Batman & Batman Villains, The Three Stooges, Abbott & Costello, Karloff, Price & Lorre from the "Raven" and definitely more Hammer monsters!
S&P: Any advice for aspiring artists?
AC: Draw, paint, sculpt, design -- try to do it all -- and then in all that chaos you find your voice, your style, and what your trying to say with your work. If you have the time, create, create, create!
One of my favorite Chiet wonders is this fabulous bust of Uncle Forry!
S&P: All Halloween loving guests of the S&P must eventually answer Question 13! Would you care to share a story or memory of any particularly fond Halloween experiences? You're free to ramble... this is what the S&P is for!
AC: I love this question! Halloween for me is New England -- crisp, dark nights; the rustling of dead leaves on the ground as you walk; the beginnings of a slight chill to the night air; window decorating that begins on Oct 1st... and lawn decorating that begins on Oct. 2nd! It's finding the perfect pumpkin, or pumpkins; taking old clothes and stuffing them with fallen leaves after raking the front lawn; passing my Halloween excitement onto a new generation each year, while still honoring the child in me -- I remember all my Halloween costumes from age 5 to 43 -- and I'm looking to add new memories to the Halloween of my 44th year!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------Adam, thank you very much for indulging us and passing along some of your monster-makin' wisdom! Most of the Skull & Pumpkin's patrons are artists of one stripe or other (usually more than one!), and your incredible work inspires us all!
Folks, you REALLY need to go to his website and peruse his insanely cool portfolio of big scale pieces. The Scrooge and Marley figures alone are worth the trip... but there's so much more!
One of these days when I have the funds to make it worth his while, I'm going to commission a piece from Mr. Chiet just for the Skull & Pumpkin... can't wait!
A hearty S&P toast to Adam Chiet... raise 'em high, everyone --