We at PopWrapped are happy to introduce you to an amazing talent with a huge career ahead of him. Zachary Crane's work has always been controversial to its immediate audience. It challenges the viewer to look at their reality in a way they may have never considered. Zachary has always been deeply inspired by the dark side of pop culture. He often uses humor as a tool to tell stories of a very real and human experience.
PopWrapped: When did you decide that becoming an artist was an avenue that you wanted to pursue?
Zachary Crane: I grew up in a podunk town called Morgan just outside of Park City, Utah. Very small quaint little Mormon town. Not a lot of tv, video games or obviously the internet, so I was forced to be creative at a young age. My whole family was creative, crafty and hands on. My imagination was everything. I have always been really good at drawing. I remember any contest in school for drawing I always won and most entries always went to a state level. When I was on my LDS mission for my church, you can read magazines, no tv, no movies, very limited for 2 years. It forced me to find ways to entertain myself. I started drawing little comic strips of strange and eccentric people I would meet in Portland. I didn't feel I wanted to write or journal about them, so I drew them. One woman in particular, a 60-year-old rocker chick with dreads. A friend showed her my drawings and she thought it was the most amazing thing ever. And so it began.
PW: You made the move to LA in 2013; any regrets?
ZC: No, I moved on an impulse. Things got really depressing at home. I felt like there was something bigger out there for me. I hated my job. I worked at a marketing company. I was just there, I got tired of watching my friends pass me by and get degrees. I got to such a depressed state. I had $300 and I just packed up my car and moved. I don't even remember where I was mentally at that time. It was a big blur. My family and friends were pissed off at me. I lived in the car and couch surfed. I got through it really quickly and hustled when I first got here. Worked at a tanning store at 24 and earned $7 an hour, I have never worked for that. I swallowed pride and made it work, met the right people, and fought the battle not to move back home.
PW: You have painted so many famous people, Oprah, Dolly, Miley Cyrus, Goldie Hawn, Clint Eastwood, the list goes on and on. Do you have a favorite?
ZC: I paint people I think are interesting and have something I can express. Really admire Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the Killers, but I haven't actually painted him yet. I really enjoy painting Oprah Winfrey. It's just fun and it always gets a great response. I think she is a great person and what she has done is wonderful. I put her on a level of deity. With my religious upbringing I started calling her Oh holy Oprah hallow be thy name. For some people who aren't religious in many ways, Oprah is like their profit. I do believe she has been called to do great things in this world. She does serve a great purpose.
PW: You tend to explore the darker side of Pop Culture in your work. Please explain your method to the madness.
ZC: It's a tie in to a lot of Google images. I never use just one image. My goal one day is to be able to have a private sit down with a celebrity and take my own photos of them. There are things that I like from their face that I feel only I could capture. As for the dark side and what I see, it all depends on who it is. A great example is Dolly Parton, I find her so interesting, because she has put so much crazy work into her body. Huge boobs and all of that, but she is still pretty modest. Always wearing a corset, always covered up. When I paint her I don't see wholesome country sunshine Dolly. I see Hard rock biker bar Dolly.
PW: I know you painted Jane Fonda and she actually bought the painting. Would love to hear a little about that, and if you had other celebrity interest in your work?
ZC: Actually she didn't buy it. A friend bought it for her and gave it to her. I rarely have celebrities just come up to me and just buy the painting. Celebrities don't really buy stuff [Laughs]. The painting of Jane was a comment on her book. She has a really amazing book about her childhood. It's her escape of feeling like a little cowgirl and lone ranger when she was young. My painting of her is called the Lone Ranger. It was very emotional for her to receive that piece because at first, like my work often does it, she had to process, is it mean, is it making fun of her? But then I think when it was explained to her what it was about she cried a little bit. Her Book "Jane Fonda: My Life so Far" reached out to someone like me. I was able to create that painting because of what I got from her book. It was a very moving experience for both of us, I think.
PW: In many way I think of you as a song writer, always thinking and processing ideas that inspire you. How do you log those, and decide if some are more important than others?
ZC: I log them in my notes folder on my iPhone. I feel like if they are important enough to go in there I will revisit them. Even if it's 6 months down the road. Movies, tv and media inspire me a lot and sometimes I need to just stop what i'm doing and do it right then. Example: the amazing characters of American Horror Story: Freak Show. I painted those all night after the premiere episode and posted those the next morning. I just have to do those things instantly to keep people's attention. The same was also true with my Kim Kardashian "break the internet" piece. It had to be done that minute. If i did that one a week later, no one would have cared anymore.
PW: What's coming up next for the loyal fans of Mr. Zachary Crane?
ZC: I'm really into this "Plaid" coloring right now. Strong red, black and yellow. It's a very creative furniture venture, that I'm having so much fun with at the moment. In fact, I just filmed the coolest photo layout for a magazine called The Adon Magazine, it's coming out in October. It's my first editorial that's going into a print magazine that's world wide. It's an up-and-coming men's fashion magazine. A very hot magazine, and I'm the centerfold. I got to work with the amazingly talented Donald Simrock who did my makeup. He has worked with everyone, it was an honor. Stephen Busken was our photographer. We have worked together before, so it was great to see him again. I think we all created something truly amazing together. Also a message to ALL my fans I'm going to become a POP STAR so stay tuned!