Rob Sacchetto has been in the business of zombie portraits for eight years now, so it was only natural that Bicycle® approach Rob to ask about creating another deck. We sat down with Rob to chat about his art and his process. You can find Rob at his website, or get your daily dose of zombies at his Zombie Art Daily page.
Club 808: What’s your background as an artist? Where’s your studio, what were you doing before all the zombie pictures?
Rob: My studio is at home—I work from home. I’ve been a professional artist for about 25 years, but I started the whole zombie thing full time about eight years ago in 2006. I’ve pretty much been doing that exclusively for the past eight years. Doing the zombie portrait things, like—a friend of mine developed the website for me. I came up with the idea, and virtually overnight I was deluged with orders and have been going ever since. I’ve probably done over 4,000 zombie portraits in the last eight years.
Club 808: Holy zombies. That’s a lot of portraits.
Rob: Yeah, on my site I have a section where I post a new zombie drawing every single day. It’s called Zombie Daily. I think that’s how The United States Playing Card Company found me.
Club 808: Why do you think pop culture is so nutso for zombies?
Rob: I think they’ve just been sort of the unsung heroes of the horror world for so long. Vampires were sorta big, and I guess vampires are still big, but zombies are so interchangeable with so many things. You can play them for laughs, they’re scary, and they’re sort of a metaphor for human nature. There are so many different facets to them. I think they’re kind of doomed, and I think that’s why people gravitate towards them too. And you know, it’s fun to shoot at them. [laughs] You can feel good about killing a zombie because it’s already dead. There’s no real sympathy there, that much. Where with other monsters, you feel kind of sorry for Dracula, and for werewolves, and Frankenstein. All those other monsters, there’s humanity and sympathy for them. But zombies represent this faceless thing that you can let your frustrations out on.
Club 808: Do you have a favorite zombie movie, or a character?
Rob: Return of the Living Dead is, by far, my favorite zombie movie of all time.
Club 808: What’s your favorite card in the deck?
Rob: I really like the video game kid. . . I really like the fishing guy, and I really like the guy shoveling snow because I can totally relate, living up here in Canada. That happens like every other day in the winter, so I really put a lot of fun into that one.
Club 808: Is there a famous public figure you’d love to zombify?
Rob: [laughs] I really want to get to zombify Miley Cyrus. . . eventually I want to get to her but I’m just so swamped right now. She’s just everywhere. There’s so much I could do with her, zombie-wise. I just need the time to do it.
Club 808: How many requests do you get a day?
Rob: Well, at the end of September, I got 33 in one day. And I’m still working on that order, and I’ve been doing rush orders every other day. I’m also working on a book cover, and a logo for a theater company. Sort of side jobs every once in awhile. But it’s basically always zombies or horror stuff. I’m just jam-packed with orders right now. Then I’m doing drawings for the Zombie Daily site, since I’m posting every day there. Doing all-nighters isn’t uncommon. I think I’ve done two this week.
Club 808: Where can we find your work, and how do you order a custom portrait?
Rob: Zombieportraits.com is where everything sort of happens. You just send in a JPEG of yourself or a loved one. I actually do a real hand-painted portrait, and you get the original and you get a hi-res JPEG as well, so you can use it as an icon for Facebook and whatnot. Turnaround is fast—usually about a week. . . and I don’t charge extra for rush orders, which is unheard of, today.
Club 808: What are some celebrity types you get to work with?
Rob: I got to work with Scott Ian from the band Anthrax. . . he’s a huge zombie fan. I think the second year I was doing zombie portraits, he put in an order for 10 zombie portraits as gifts for his friends. It was him, his wife, Brian Posehn—another comedian zombie fan. I’ve worked with more but I can’t actually mention them. I had to sign all these legal things saying I wouldn’t tell. They got custom portraits done.
Club 808: That’s why you gotta get Miley. She’d love that.
Rob: Yeah! I actually did one of Kevin Smith recently, just for fun. I’ve been trying to get it to him. . . I did a book a few years ago that just featured celebrities. It’s called Zombiewood.
Club 808: So if there were a zombie attack, where would you hide?
Rob: A convenience store. Yep—access to food. There’s basically everything in a convenience store from band-aids to food, water, the windows are usually barred, you have access to the roof. As long as you have a few weapons with you, even a slingshot or a machete, you’re pretty much safe.
Club 808: Awesome. Rob thanks so much for your time!
Rob: Thank you. I really appreciate it.