Got a Light All images courtesy the Artist
Dark Art & Craft Interview with Chemical Messiah
This month Dark Art & Craft had the pleasure to speak with Artist Chemical Messiah/Joshua Dunlap. Under the Chemical Messiah name Dunlap creates surreal image collages that bring together a wide collection of pop, horror and literary references. Read below to see the full conversation with the Artist and his collaboration with Dark Art & Craft.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with Dark Art & Craft. Can you tell us a little more about yourself & what you do?
Thanks for having me! I’m 34 & I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA with my wife, son, & a couple of pets. As of right now, I do my art full time.
What is Chemical Messiah's function and meaning?
Chemical Messiah started as a title/character in a novel I was writing. The meaning was to convey any type of substance that you rely on or look to for answers, the same way someone relies on religion. The function of the art is to get people to stare & analyze subjects & ideas they might otherwise look away from.
Does your location impact your work or style? Are there other Artists/musicians working in your Area of Philadelphia or does the internet or travel provide you with most connections?
I wouldn’t say my immediate location has influenced my art to be honest, other than the fact that some of my art does lean towards US politics. Ever since starting my Instagram I’ve come in contact with a lot of great artists & people, some I would consider friends.
The evolution of an Artist is always one our readers like to know about. Can you describe a little bit about how you evolved into the creator/Artist that you are today?
It all started when I was seven or eight, my grandma would watch my brother & me while our parents were at work. that’s when I was exposed to the subtle horror of Hitchcock & the twilight zone. it’s stuck with me ever since. when I first started graphic design around thirteen, I didn’t have a voice or a way of really expressing my inner thoughts, a lot of my early work is just terrible. but over the years i zeroed in on what i wanted to say & how. even since i started my Instagram page I’m still evolving. the earlier chemical messiah work was filled with bright colors & plain backgrounds. now, I try to create complete worlds & really expose the juxtaposition of pop, horror, & surreal.
Do you have any specific Collage or surreal Artist you recommend?
I’m a huge fan of everything that Paul Neberra paints, it’s incredible. @neberra
How has Covid-19 and the resulting health and societal issues affected your Art? Have any tips for other Artists trying to make their way through this time?
It’s helped in so far as being able to work on more projects since I’m stuck in the house, but seeing the negative societal affects has also helped create a couple pieces that speak to the failure of the united states’ handling of the whole situation.
Return to Our- Natural State
What tools/mediums do you use to create Art?
I use photoshop exclusively.
You are quite active creating Art for music and other entities can you speak to any particular projects you enjoy?
Music has played such a big part in my life, especially since that was how I got into graphic design; designing artwork for my band. Ever since then it’s constantly flowed throughout my pieces. I’m proud of every project I receive. most of the projects are album covers & I’m honored when someone entrusts me with creating a visual for their inner most thoughts & feelings.
How does the occult, Magick, Dark Art or the macabre relate to your work (If it does)?
I really enjoy mixing macabre with pop, I feel it creates a sort of train-wreck-like feeling where you can’t look away. The images feel similar but at the same time foreign. I don’t hold any beliefs in occult or religion, I just find the imagery to be paralyzing.
What does Dark Art mean to you?
Art is so subjective. Dark art to me means anything that is outside of the norm, anything that might make you feel uncomfortable at first until you really sit & analyze the subject.
Do you have any Artistic Rituals or frameworks you adhere to?
I’m always listening to music when I design. ALWAYS. if it’s a personal piece I’ll listen to whatever feelings are coming up, that usually helps with he design process. if I’m designing an album cover for a band or artist, I’ll listen to those tracks exclusively, over & over again. i need to feel the music so the cover can accurately capture the feelings & emotions in the music.
What past Artists of any medium have inspired your current output?
My biggest influences are first & foremost literature & philosophy; Albert Camus, Franz Kafka, & Samuel Beckett. Next would be artists like Rene Magritte & Zdzislaw Beksinski. I’m also hugely influenced by filmmakers like David Lynch & Stanley Kubrick.
We always ask people for three contemporary Artists you want everyone to check out right now. What are your recommendations to our audience?
I’m in a small collective of artists called Bad Luck Club. I met them through Instagram & think they’re all great artists. @i.am.spencer.jackson @kyokill @_daisydan @carxlina.salas @baileytattoo @mothergrime @pastforms @cultofscum @qubensis
Where can we find you online?!
I can be found on Instagram @chemicalmessiah & my website chemicalmessiah.com