Rob Sacchetto is an artist. But not just any artist – he’s a zombie artist that wants to illustrate YOU and everyone else in the world who wants to be undead! In 2006, Rob started an online service called Zombie Portraits and has zombified over 2,000 people all over the world. Feeling that the infected needed to expand in 2008, Rob started Zombie Daily, a blog where he posts original zombie art every day! There’s no discrimination regarding who Rob will zombify and that’s one of the reason’s that we enjoy his killer art.
GT: What sparked your interest in Horror?
ROB: Well, I’ve always been a huge fan of the big rubber monster movie monsters. In the “olden days” before PVR, VCRs, DVDs or virtually any home recording devices, you had to catch stuff when it was on TV. If you missed it, you may never see it again. So what would happen was I’d get my mom to wake me up late at night to watch these monster movie marathons that were shown every once and a while, and that’s how I got hooked on horror. I remember watching a movie that was called Attack of the Mushroom People, it was on with a bunch of big monster movies one night. I guess it was included because it was another Toho produced movie, but it didn’t have huge monsters in it, but it was about these people stranded on this island who were turning into these hideous mushroom-type creatures. It was actually pretty damn scary to me as a kid, but it was also really cool. That led me to Night of the Living Dead, and so on.
GT: Why zombies?
ROB: I love zombies because zombies are like snowflakes, no two are alike. Seriously though, there are so many different ways to interpret the living dead; they are an artist’s dream. From state of decay to the manner in which they became zombies in the first place, there are a zillion ways to draw them. Zombies can be the most frightening, grotesque things humans have ever seen, or they can be played for laughs. We can feel sympathy for them, or we can simply view them as cannon fodder. I don’t think that any other man-made character can be viewed with such a wide range of diversity and that, ultimately is what has led me to stick with them for so long. I’ve literally drawn more zombies than anyone on this planet and I have never once been at a loss as to what I should draw next.
GT: What are some of your horrific inspirations and muses?
ROB: I’m a huge horror movie guy and an equally huge horror comic collector, so virtually any visual medium is my inspiration. Believe it or not, nature is another massive influence on my art. I love nature and especially the so called “lower life forms” like insects, invertebrates, and amphibians. I am always fascinated with the inner workings and feeding habits of these groups of creatures. Of course, art of all sorts also feed my imagination and continue to be an inspiration.
GT: What’s your preferred medium?
ROB: I primarily use watercolour paint and pen and ink, but sometimes just ink or pencil. I like to combine many different media to create one piece as I do with the Zombie Portraits. For the portraits I use watercolour paint on thick watercolour paper stock, then go over the coloured areas in ink, then use pencil crayon on top of that, then use whiteout pen for highlights amongst other things. Of course, sometimes I’ll simply want to do a very detailed black and white ink illustration, or purely pencil drawing. It really depends on what the subject matter dictates.
GT: Do you pursue any other forms of art or do you just morph breathers into the undead?
ROB: I do pursue other types of art as a job will come along that requires me to do something else. I feel that as an artist, you should be able to take on virtually any project that comes your way, both financially and for personal artistic growth. I’ve never turned down a reasonable request for art in my career, so I’m pretty open to anything; I just choose to do zombies an awful lot. I‘ve got a huge graphic novel coming out this year so people can see me do many other things besides straight up living dead drawings. It is a horror graphic novel but it has many other neat elements within it as well.
ROB: Oh my goodness, I could never answer that question in one breath. I’m inspired by so many artists that I always feel bad answering this because I feel that I’m going to leave so many people out. I love everyone from William Stout to Mike Mignola, Neal Adams, John Buscema, Jack Kirby, Wally Wood, Simon Bizley… there are so very many comic book illustrators and artists that I could never mention them all here, and they’ve all inspired me in different ways. I mean, I could even mention entire art movements, like Expressionism, or the Renaissance, the list goes on and on. Although you wouldn’t be able to necessarily pick out any one influence from the list in my art, there is always a little hint of things here and there when the need for a certain nuance presents itself.
GT: Do you have a favorite Horror villain/monster?
ROB: Yup, hands down it’s got to be Godzilla. I was an instant fan since I was a little kid. I love the whole giant monster idea and I really started out like most young boys, loving dinosaurs, which of course led to the big movie monsters. In fact, when I was a kid, I’d do these comic books featuring all of the Godzilla monsters with a little Shogun Warriors who were these giant robots, kind of a precursor to Transformers, and my own made up superheroes thrown in for good measure. I’d have them all battle these other giant monsters that I would make up. It was a lot of fun, and I must have done close to ten of these comics. I almost wept at the Americanised Godzilla movie and what they had turned him into, but was so glad when Toho took him back and updated him in the new Millennium series. I’m really looking forward to the next movie!
GT: Favorite zombie flick?
ROB: Favourite zombie movie has to be Return of the Living Dead. It was so innovative and imaginative and all the zombies were diverse, much more so than the Romero films. Zombies weren’t just used as a metaphor to shed light on the human condition. Here you had the Tar Man, the half dog, the study corpse, the skeletal female torso, and of course, the super hot babe zombie. Plus the zombies could talk. Where do you think the phrase “Braaaains” comes from? It was that move that pretty much solidified that phrase in everyone’s mind as being spoken by only zombies. I think that film was more important in forming zombie history than all of Romero’s movies combined. It was just a brilliant zombie film that I think is incredibly underrated. Just sayin’.
GT: Flesh or brains?
ROB: I say both. As much as zombies love brains, there are other important parts of the human body that can be eaten for proper zombie nutrition. It’s all there in my book, The Zombie Handbook: How to Identify the Living Dead and Survive the Coming Zombie Apocalypse.
GT: What message(s) do you hope to convey through your work?
ROB: What I hope to convey with my art is a sense of fascination and joy. I want to evoke in others the same feelings I have as an individual who has grown up being inspired by art and artists. I want people to say “Whoa, ‘ever cool!” when they see my stuff. And I want people to realize that everything has not “been done before” and that imagination has no limits. More than anything I just love people loving what they see from me… their reaction. It really means a lot.
Rob, thanks for taking the time to give us the lowdown regarding what keeps you illustrating zombies! Keep bringing the undead to the masses!
Interested in having yourself or a loved one zombified? Contact Rob through his site, Zombie Portraits, and let the decaying begin!