Interview with dark, surreal, goth artist and musician ZARA KAND

A freelance writer who has written for Paraphilia magazine, LA Review of Books and Toronto Review of Books, John Wisniewski, recently emailed me an interview he has been working on with artist Zara Kand, daughter of Valor Kand (lead singer of the 80’s influential goth band Christian Death). All questions are his work, except the last one which was my question to her. All of the art work you see are her paintings. I have not seen them before until now. Since I like to do dark and strange art myself her works are inspiring to look at. Enjoy! unnamed (1)

John: What are your current projects like, Zara?

Right now (and this is usually the case with all of my work) I’m finishing up a collection of oil paintings that focus on the spiritual and social aspects of humanity, a reflection of our behavior as a species at large, and how we may somehow transcend into a more ungoverned way of being. Additionally, I have just finished my first book “Cry of the Chrysalis: A Venture into Creative Purpose & Development”, which serves as a commentary and guide in uncovering one’s creative potential through autonomous thinking, and includes interviews & artwork from a handful of artists notorious in the underground scene. Now I just have to get it published!

unnamed (5)J: Any favorite artists, music that you like?

Some favorite painters of mine are Goya, Bosch, Rembrandt, Munch, Monet, Blake, Bacon, Tanning, to name a few -these were all revolutionary artists of their time! I like any kind of music that seems to send me into another realm, of dreamy or ethereal quality, or through rawness and excitement… the band COIL seems to have just the right combination of all of these things. These days I mostly use music as a vehicle to drive me to such states, as I have it playing in the background while I paint -music and visual art work as a great team in inspiring one another

J: What is the goth scene like now, who is most popular?

I’m not entirely up to date with any scene happening now, I’m afraid, perhaps because of the artist tendency to lock oneself into a solitary bubble, only coming up briefly for air. But I have noticed the interesting expansion of the goth scene, which now incorporates more musical influence than it did decades before, made danceable in clubs, and embraced by more and more younger generations. My parents, who were some of the originators, will tell me that this is not how it was when it was first began in the late ’70’s – then it was a very obscure scene and followers were considered ultra outcasts of society, not having previous goth history to fall back on, boldly carrying the weight of being unique at the cost of utter alienation.

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J: What is the reaction to your artworks, usually?

I am grateful to receive as much positive response to my works as I do. Sharing your personal visions with the world is a sensitive thing, and not always guaranteed to align with someone else’s brainwave. Some have told me my work is strange and creepy, some find it very beautiful; either way I take it as a compliment. But generally people say they actually relate to my work on a personal level, that it inspires them, sends them into another dreamy realm or makes them think about themselves/their life -this is the best reaction I could ever hope for!

J: What are you usually doing, when not writing songs or painting, Zara?

unnamed (3) In my spare time I like to read books or watch documentaries on other artists or anything to do with science. I love going on walks through nature or just sitting on the grass staring at the sky by day, blasting my favorite music and drinking with good company by night. Every now and then, if there is an exceptional band in town, I’ll go out and see them play, dance a bit. Food is a real pleasure to me -I love going for coffee or lunch at cafes, and I love cooking, challenging myself to come up with interesting new dishes all the time. And if time affords, I really love traveling to new places, be it camping or just experiencing a different city.

Hyde: What was it like growing up as the daughter, of the leader of such an influential band?

My parents, being artists themselves, were always highly encouraging of my creative endeavors. They let it be known from the beginning how significant art’s influence is on the world, and always took any kind of creative expression very seriously. If it weren’t for having creative parents who were very much individualistic thinkers, I would certainly not be the artist I am today.

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Her website


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