Exclusive Interview: Chad Michael Ward

BD Music has scored an exclusive interview with photographer/director/artist/all around awesome guy Chad Michael Ward. The interview goes over his artistic history, what it was like to work with some of todays hottest bands, and who some of his biggest inspirations are. While you’re checking out the interview, make sure to check out Ward’s Top 10 Horror WTF Moments. WARNING: Images after the jump are NSFW.


Jason Voorhees actor Derek Mears
1) How did you get into photography/art and directing?
I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life, from the time I was old enough to draw with crayon, really.  I originally started off as a writer.  Eventually, I discovered Photoshop and started doing digital art back around 1996 or so.  It didn’t take long before I was doing album covers for tons of European death metal bands.  After a few years, I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles and got asked by a client to do some photography work.  That blossomed over a few years to where I was doing more photography than artwork.  That led to some production design gigs for music videos and film, where I realized I really wanted to get into directing.  Several years later I’m doing digital art for dozens of novels a year, photographing tons of bands and commercial clients and directing music videos.  I still do production design here and there, and have started writing again as time permits.  
2) Your work, while often grotesque and horrifying, is quite beautiful. How do you walk that line?
I don’t know that I have an answer for that.  I don’t intentionally intend to walk any line when creating images.  I just shoot and/or paint what I see in my head.
3) Some of the photographs show your models in pain or in dangerous situations. Have there been any accidents or problems that arose during your shoots?
Shoots can be somewhat brutal or physically demanding on my models, but I’ve never had any real problems or accidents.  I think the only person who ever ends up getting hurt is me because I’m a very physical photographer/director when on set and can be a bit clumsy sometimes.  I always somehow end up with cuts and bruises after a shoot.  
4) You’ve worked with some of the biggest music artists out there, including Marilyn Manson, Static-X, Combichrist, and more. What have those experiences been like?
Every experience is unique and exhilarating in its own way.  I’m just thrilled that I’ve been able and continue to be able to create art with other amazing artists.  Each has its own set of challenges and rewards that makes it worth getting up in the morning for.
Video directed by Chad Michael Ward
5) Who are some of your inspirations?
Hmm…there’s a wide variety of influences on my work.  Everyone from Joel-Peter Witkin to Dave McKean to David LaChapelle to Ashley Wood.  I’m also heavily influenced by directors such as Takashi Miike, Chris Cunningham, Floria Sigismondi, David Fincher and Mark Romanek. I’m also influenced by people like H.R. Giger, Clive Barker, Cliff Nielsen, Bill Sienkiewicz, Barron Storey, Mark Ryden, Phil Hale, Kent Williams.
6) What do you do to get inspired? Is there some specific kind of music you listen to? Movies you watch? Etc…
Everything inspires me, to be honest.  Movies, music, LIFE.  There’s no one genre the defines who I am.  I am a huge horror fan, obviously, but if you were to look at my DVD collection, you’d see a pretty eclectic collection of work.  Same with music; my ipod can bounce from Marilyn Manson to Coco Rosie to Tom Jones to Eminem to Iron Maiden to Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  It’s all over the place.  I just do my best to absorb anything and everything around me and let that help shape the visions in my head.
7) Can you tell us of any upcoming projects that you’re excited about?
I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. I’ve got a ton of crazy and exciting projects and tours coming up between now and the end of the year. Keep an eye out on my website at www.digitalapocalypse.com for updates, news and release dates of my upcoming books and videos.