Chaz the Bug (Zach Cunningham) from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, started young - assisting his mother with murals and filing away inspiration from cartoons like The Ren & Stimpy Show. Today he is an illustrator, mask-maker, creative jack-of-all-trades who recently designed the cover of a local Portland, Maine music and events guide called Preacher's Fire.
Artist & Craftsman Supply: Who are you and what do you do?
Zach Cunningham: My name is Zach Cunningham, and I make art under the name Chaz The Bug. I'm primarily an illustrator, but I'm also interested in video work, mask making and various other creative things. A couple of my friends and I put out a comics compilation zine called One Page Stinkers.
A&C: Did you go to school for art/what is your background?
ZC: I went to a vocational high school where I learned graphic design and majored in Illustration at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
A&C: How has your practice changed over time? Has your work always been so intense?
ZC: Yeah I guess my work has always been fairly intense! It's definitely always been kind of weird. You can probably blame that on the fact that my earliest inspirations for wanting to make art were cartoons like Ren and Stimpy and Rocco's Modern Life, and then I got into anime when I was a little older which brought a whole different kind of weird intensity to the table.
A&C: Do you have a favorite artist or piece of art?
ZC: My favorite artist rotates around pretty regularly, but some of the constants in my life have been John K., who did Ren & Stimpy, Akira Toriyama who did Dragon Ball, and Stephen Gammell who did the original illustrations for Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark!
A&C: What drew you to art initially?
ZC: My mom's really creative! She used to paint murals on the walls of our house when I was a toddler. She even designated a space on the wall for me to draw on so that I could help. She would always give me tips when I was stuck on a drawing.
A&C: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given (not necessarily art related)?
ZC: The best advice I ever got was probably from my grandfather, who told me to never retire. I guess I won't know if it's actually good advice or not until that's an option, though.
A&C: Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
ZC: I don't think I could fight ducks or horses of any size or quantity, because I am not very strong and and am easily upset.
A&C: What is your go-to album/artist right now (in the studio)?
ZC: I've been playing this spooky reggae dub album by Scientist called, "Scientist Rids The World Of The Curse Of The Vampires" in my studio a lot lately.
A&C: What do you like most about Artist & Craftsman Supply? What's one thing you can't leave the store without buying?
ZC: I love Artist & Craftsman Supply because you guys have a great selection of <a href="../drawing/pens-pencils.html">felt-tip and brush pens</a>! I always find a new one (or ten) to try out before I leave.
Thanks so much, Zach! If you want to check out more of his work head over to his Facebook page.