The noble savage…

fireside

Spooky, bizarre, horrifying, chilling and sinister… the things that make your pulse quicken, that make your heart skip a beat and your breath catch in your throat.

Almost everybody, it seems, loves to be scared. What is it that makes it so? The adrenalin rush? The images it provokes? The gooseflesh on the arms, and the feeling of acute sensitivity to surroundings? It is celebrated with gusto in the movies, literature and the arts whatever the answer is and it was with this in mind we made contact with our special guest tonight.

 

Variously described as;
a tour guide through the badlands of the imagination.”

“[having] a truly professional demeanor and thankfully, a wicked sense of humor.”

“a brilliant web designer. He has both the artistic eye and the technical know-how, an excellent and rare combination.”

…and “the best damned horror illustrator on the planet”

The list of awards and honours stacks up equally impressively, honours and professional duties such as;
DEATHREALM MAGAZINE AWARD WINNER: BEST ARTIST 1995

INTERNATIONAL HORROR GUILD NOMINEE: BEST ARTIST 1999

THE GHOULISH GALLERY’S ISABELLA AWARD WINNER 2007

Art Show Director for Flashback Weekend, Chicago, IL, 2006

Art Show Director for World Horror Convention 2005, 2006, 2011 & 2013

Art Show Director for HorrorFind Weekend, Baltimore, MD [2006-2008]

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It gives us great, and unique, pleasure to present a Special Edition Chat with dark artist extraordinaire Chad Savage.

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RVL: Good evening Chad, thank you so much for agreeing to share this time with us, we thought we might have scared you away after we got through with Lady A?

 

CS: Thanks for having me. You’d be surprised what it takes to scare me away… or, hey, maybe you wouldn’t!

 

RVL: After reading your bio, and might I say it is quite an amazing one, there are probably very few involved in the dark culture who haven’t heard of Chad Savage and Sinister Visions.  To help our readers get to know you a bit better, how would you describe Chad Savage?

 

CS: Wow, no softball question to ease into this, eh? OK. In a nutshell, I was the kid who inexplicably loved Halloween more than Christmas, or anything else, for that matter. By “inexplicably” I mean there’s no accounting for it – I have a lovely younger sister who was raised by the same loving, religiously conservative, reasonable parents that raised me, but for some reason I was wired from the word Go to love monsters.

Now take that fact and add over 40 years, and you can start to imagine what you might wind up with. My love of dark things has only strengthened each year since I was old enough to trick or treat. At this point, it’s exponential.

 

RVL: Now, for “that” question, the one that is perhaps lurking in the back of everyone’s mind  …. Do you identify as a modern living vampire?

 

CS: I’ve been involved in the modern vampire scene pretty much since there’s been one (starting in the mid-80’s); I’ve been involved in some amazing events and taken part in some truly unique opportunities; I’ve role-played and spent many years wearing custom fangs for fun and, when I was a younger and less cynical man, perhaps I fantasized about What It Might Be Like…

But no, I don’t. I find the subject endlessly fascinating and certainly find much to love (and even identify with) in the archetype, but am I one? No. I’m just spooky.

 

RVL: Quote: “Sinister Visions inc. has been involved in the graphic arts, in one form or another, since 1987.”

Can you tell us what pops up as being the greatest challenge for you as an artist and did that challenge change the way you approach graphic design?

 

CS: The question suggests a particular project or commission, but in reality, the biggest challenges that have come along have been less tangible: How to find enough work to keep food on the table? How much does one charge for one’s work? How to know when the promise of future fame and fortune in exchange for services now is completely bogus? Stuff like that. The answer to that last question, by the way, is ALWAYS.

Further, any truly challenging Thing to come along in your life will, by its nature, change the way you approach things in the future by virtue of how you solve the challenge. If not, you’re doing it wrong.

 

RVL: You live in an area that is well populated with commercial large format digital print media.  Have you dabbled in billboard art? Also, with the explosion of social media and advertising via the computer, what are your thoughts about this type of medium in advertising?

 

CS: I haven’t dabbled; I’ve done it for many of my clients. Large format printing evolved so quickly over the last 5 years that it outpaced the desktop computer’s ability to produce it – I had to change my pricing structure to allow for how long it takes to create, open, save and transfer such files, because they’re gigantic! Thankfully, printers are coming up with more reasonable file specs and I have a more powerful computer now.

Social media is part of my daily routine, and something about which I advise and counsel many of my clients. I often liken Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, et al to the elements of a Swiss Army Knife. Individually, each has its use; collectively, they make for a far more effective arsenal of tools.

 

RVL: Both you and Alex are involved in endeavours related to “dark” arts (sorry Professor Snape!) Do you ever “brainstorm” projects together, or help each other flesh out an idea for your individual work?

 

CS: Oh, Alex is very much my sounding board when I get stuck on something and need a second pair of eyes on it, and she pulls no punches with her opinion, thankfully. We also have collaborated on many, many projects and events together. As one hell of a marketer and promoter in her own right, she has the added benefit of being able to bring Sinister Visions into the marketing mix, should she need to. Wow, look at me tooting my own horn!

 

RVL: Apart from the inimitable Chad Savage, have you any favourite artists that have perhaps influenced your work?

 

CS: Oh good lord yes. H. R. Giger, Clive Barker, Brom, J. K. Potter, Joel-Peter Witkin, Chet Zar, Eric Pigors, Joseph Larkin, Gary Pullin, Basil Gogos, Alan M. Clark… I could list names for paragraphs.
RVL: In our recent ‘chat’ with your lovely lady wife Alex she said, “I don’t relax that often.  There is always something fluttering in my brain and sometimes it is very difficult to turn it off.” Does that happen to you too or do you have a “goof off, wind down” plan that keeps you sane?

 

CS: As my schedule allows, I will occasionally take a night where I deliberately distance myself from anything with a screen smaller than the TV, but that doesn’t keep stuff from working itself out in the back of my brain. As a family, we like to go out to dinner a lot – it’s a way for Alex and I to get out of our own environment a bit, connect over a meal and spend time with our daughter without work-related distractions.

I am extraordinarily lucky to do something I love for a living and, further, I get to do it from the comfort of my own home. So while I may not “relax” very often, by the same token, I spend most of my time doing something I enjoy.

 

RVL: A great deal of your work revolves around a Halloween theme, do you have a favourite ‘Halloween’ character, witches, goblins, pumpkins, ghosts, zombies, werewolves? And what would you say is your all time favourite Halloween movie?

 

CS: Oh, jack o’ lanterns, hands down. I founded the Cult of the Great Pumpkin, after all. Favorite Halloween movie: Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat!

Autumn Benediction ~ Chad Savage

Autumn Benediction ~ Chad Savage

 

RVL: Have you ever touched on digital animation in your art to create promo’s for your clients?

 

CS: Only a little via Flash, and it isn’t true animation – it’s tweening (having objects visually progress between a starting point and an ending point). I am no animator.
RVL: An interesting quote from your website tells us that, “Chad Savage was a dark artist from the moment his pudgy little hands were able to set crayon to paper.” Probably, at some point we were all there, when did you decide that art was going to be your serious pursuit in life?

 

CS: You know, it was so ingrained in me, there was never a conscious decision. It was always just a given that my future would center around art/design. Again, I am a lucky man, in that I came from an artistic family on my father’s side (dad was an architect and draftsman/designer, grandfather was a formidable artists in multiple media), and so my entire family was always supportive. I know many artist/designers whose families wanted them to get a degree in something else so they could get a “real job” upon graduation – I never had to contend with that negativity, thankfully.
RVL: Without giving away any “secrets”, what did you do before Sinister Visions got up and running as a business?

CS: For years after I graduated college in 1991, I slung coffee as a barista. A design firm took a chance on my deliberately unorthodox resume in 1996 and I got my first professional graphic design job doing pharmaceutical packaging and trade journal layout. Then I moved to Chicago in the late 90’s and did courtroom trial presentation graphics for a bit, then moved to another company and did general graphic and web design for a year or two. By 2001, due to a variety of circumstances, I struck out on my own full-time as Sinister Visions, and that was that.
RVL: What’s in the future for Chad Savage professionally and for Sinister Visions? Is there a “five year plan”?

 

CS: Death and Divorce taught me the value or, more accurately, futility of Having a Plan, so the goal is to just keep expanding the client base and quality of work. I’m already doing what I love, so why mess with that?

 

RVL: Thank you very much for your time Chad, it has been a delight to have been able to know you and Sinister Visions a little better. We wish you all the best of luck with your future projects and efforts.

 

CS: I’m flattered by the attention! Thanks for having me. Anybody wishing to further explore my work can visit http://www.sinistervisions.com for the design side of things, or http://chadsavage.com for my artwork.

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From campfire tales of folklore millennia old to Hollywood’s 2012 offerings The App Killer (http://www.movieweb.com/movie/the-app-killer), Silent Night (http://www.movieweb.com/movie/silent-night) and The Collection (http://www.movieweb.com/movie/the-collection) horror is one of our favourite pastimes, spookiness, eeriness and the bizarre amongst our favourite fare. It’s a genre as old as mankind and one that has provided countless actors, writers and artists the opportunity to pursue their careers lucratively. Other styles, genres and fads come and go but the primal darkness that lives at the edge of our collective consciousness is never far from encroaching on our daily thoughts.

Our guest today, Chad Savage, is a leader in his field, an artist much sought after and a person who can truly claim to be blessed by being able to turn his first love into his career. His is definitely one of THE names to remember in the field of horror art and if you have a function or event coming up that you want promoted or art work done for you could do far worse than have “the best damned horror illustrator on the planet” in your corner.

Copyright Chad Savage/ Sinister Visions Inc and RVL 2012

 

NB: Quoted portions of other works are reproduced under the “fair use for education” provisions of relevant legislations.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented, and accept no liability, nor responsibility, for the use or misuse thereof. Anything that the reader takes from this article is taken at their own discretion. 

For further details please see our Website Disclaimer

Chatting with Vampires ~ Special presentation

 

One of the best things about writing for RVL is being able to “chat” with so many extraordinary and fascinating people, people who have led a full and rich life and who have drank deeply of the reality of the modern vampire life. Our guest this evening is no exception; from the heady days of the mid-nineties in New Orleans to the northern metropolis of Chicago she has made a name for herself as a promoter, band booking manager and marketer for the Vampire community and subculture for the last 20 years. She is, by her own admission, a “budding journalist in all things dark, vampy and rockin’ when it comes to bands I love.”

 

In her bio she writes,
” My partner in crime, Dark Artist Chad Savage of  Sinister Visions inc., is busy designing  dark websites and materials for the Halloween industry while I lurk in the dark meeting all kinds of Children of the Night,  promoting and planning the next gig I’ll attend in between an artist husband, a daughter, three dogs, travel, writing and guitar sessions.”

Ladies and gentlemen, it gives Real Vampire Life great pleasure to present a “Chatting with Vampires Special Edition” with the renowned Lady A, a.k.a. Alex Savage.

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RVL: Good evening Lady A, it’s wonderful to be able to spend this time with you, thank you for joining us.

Lady A: Thank you for the interview. I’m usually the one asking all the questions!

RVL: Okay, first things first and to put our audience out of their misery, so to speak, do you identify as a modern living vampire?

Lady A: The term “modern living vampire” can mean many things.  I don’t subscribe to any philosophy, religion, dogma or anything else pertaining to the esoteric idea of the vampire.  I’ve been in these circles before books were written on how to be a vampire.  I am my own vampire and do not subscribe to any ideology.

 

RVL: You make mention, in your website bio, of the early days in New Orleans, what is your fondest memory of that period?

Lady A: Probably when I lived there for a couple of years starting in 1995.  The vampire scene was at its peak and the city was alive in a way I’ve never seen since.  Living there really gave you the ability to really absorb the culture. I had been traveling to New Orleans since 1991 and was fortunate to end up living there.  I will always cherish those crazy times and everything I learned about myself as a result

 

RVL: Having traveled as extensively as you have, and moved in the circles that you have, what’s special about life in Chicago to you?

Lady A: I lived in Chicago for 10 years of my adult life. I am originally from San Diego, California, but Chicago was the longest time I spent in one place as an adult living on my own. The city itself is a true metropolis and full of culture.  I got married there, had my daughter there, survived cancer there and created a reputation for myself there. Chicago will always be the place where the best and worst of my life occurred. I live outside the city now, but go back often for gigs, events, business and to see friends. It’s a hard city to live in. It’s expensive, constricted with traffic, brutal in the winter and quite conservative when it comes to vampires.

RVL: You are associated with many of the highest profile live “vampire” events around today, why do you believe that Chicago hasn’t opened their arms to real vampires and their sub-culture in the way many other major cities have?

Lady A: As I mentioned above, Chicago is rather conservative and very practical in nature.  Outside of drink and live music, the people of Chicago in general aren’t big into fantasy.  There are long running events that sort of have the exclusive for the goth and vampire scene.  I tried for over a year to start a vampire scene there.  Interest was there, but the numbers weren’t.  There used to be a bigger scene back in the nineties but many of those pioneers moved to NYC or New Orleans.  It had its time and then it was gone.  I’ve done a couple of yearly Halloween parties there that seem to do much better.  There is so much citywide competition for events, that you have to have that built in audience or choose your timing wisely.  I don’t like to step on the toes of established events, so I decided to expand my horizons instead

RVL: What would you consider to be your biggest challenge at present?

Lady A: Doing what I’m doing now.  I’ve been working on branching out into music journalism and the like over the last few months.  I’ve always loved music and one of the reasons I got into the vampire party business was to book bands and enjoy the music.  Since way back in the goth days, I’ve loved to dance and paint my life with a backdrop of my own inner musical score. Putting myself out there in an entirely different capacity with my reputation being referenced is a bit daunting, but par for the course.  It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time, but I get to do what I love so it’s worth it.
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RVL: Being a promoter and, by your own admission a, “budding journalist in all things dark, vampy and rockin’ when it comes to bands I love.” How would you define “vampire music”?

Lady A: I think vampire music can really be any musical style or genre that evokes mystery, power and love with a profound sense of melancholy.

RVL: Who is, or who are, your favourite “dark” band/s?

Lady A: HIM, My Dying Bride, Opeth, Diminished 7, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode to name a few.  Classic goth acts like The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Type O Negative, Joy Division, and Siouxsie and the Banshees also qualify.
RVL: With everything you have going on what does Lady A do to relax?

Lady A: I don’t relax that often.  There is always something fluttering in my brain and sometimes it is very difficult to turn it off.  The best thing would be hanging out with my friends when they’re not gigging or “on”.  Just drinks and jokes and a killer jukebox at a dive bar helps me wind down. On the more artistic side, I write poetry when I need to purge my inner demons so to speak.  My work will soon be published in eBook form and in print in the New Year

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RVL: What plans for growth and expansion are in the works for Lady A’s Vampire Social Club?

Lady A: I’ve spent years hosting parties in New Orleans and now it’s time to branch out to new vampires and music enthusiasts.  I am currently involved in the conception and organization of the Austin Vampire Ball in October of 2013 with published author, Gabrielle Faust and the Vampire Court of Austin’s Logan South and Daley Catherine.  I will also host some of my own events in the year to come along with doing more music interviews and reviews for my website www.vampiresocialclub.net.  I want my site to be more about the arts and how all mediums of art are fundamental food for vampires and artistic people in general.  As mentioned above, I will also be publishing my works of poetry.  I don’t want to make any solid definite plans about too many things.  I find I function best when I let the road take me where it wants to.

 

RVL: Do you see a lack of offline “community” and cohesiveness between real vampires in the central North American states and what do you think can be done to counter this?

Lady A: There is a lack of communication there.  I think people in the Midwest are just a horse of a different color from the rest of the USA.  People here are blue collar, hard working and practical.  Backlash from family and religious institutions is severe here. People like their anonymity and see vampirism as more of a fetish and something to be kept secret than in other parts of the country.  I hope to do more events here to give those children of the night a safe haven to be who they are.  If they come out, then there will be more. These events don’t pay for themselves, so people have to come, get involved and give their patronage. Only time will tell.

RVL: Can you imagine a time when Lady A will “chuck it all in” and go off and be a gardening hermit and sandcastle sculptor or something?

Lady A: *Laughs* During heavy bouts of vampire politics and drama, I have pondered throwing in the towel on occasion.  But in a sense, it is like the mafia…every time I try to get out, they pull me back in.  I live in a late Victorian farmhouse in Indiana.  When it gets to be too much and it’s time to go to ground, I will happily retire and write poetry for the rest of the romantics left in the world.  It’s better to burn out than fade away

 

RVL: Thank you for sharing this time with us Lady A, we are privileged to have been able to get a glimpse into your world.

Lady A: Thank you for asking great questions, my pleasure!

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If it is true that we, the real vampire sub-culture, live in our own sweet and nurturing darkness then it is obvious that Alex Savage is, and has been for many years, one of our ‘guiding lights’.

With her poetic works soon to be published online and in print in the New Year, and her involvement with the Austin Vampire Ball in October of 2013 with author Gabrielle Faust and the Vampire Court of Austin’s Logan South and Daley Catherine, Alex will, as usual, be in the thick of things and we look forward with anticipation to seeing what other events she will be hosting and what goodies she has in store for us at the Vampire Social Club.

 © Lady A (Alex Savage) & RVL 2012

NB: The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented, and accept no liability, nor responsibility, for the use or misuse thereof. Anything that the reader takes from this article is taken at their own discretion. 

For further details please see our Website Disclaimer

An invitation or two

Looking for a gig over the Christmas break? Want to kick it with some EPIC tunes?

Here you go…

EPICgigThat’s the pre-Christmas taken care of but if you’re busy in the run up try for this one…

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A reminder also, our good friends Becky and Dennis of Epic Death are raising money and awareness for a fight against domestic violence… even if you can’t support materially help spread the word…

For Micki & Sapphire

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