I love zombies and because I do, I get to meet a lot of talented people who also share this love for the shuffling dead. I first took notice of Rob Sacchetto on Facebook after coming across a portrait of a female zombie that he posted. She was beautiful in all her rot and decay. Rob not only loves zombies, he is the first artist to offer custom zombie portraits since 2006. What would make a talented illustrator want to draw decaying slimy creatures? Why would person want to be drawn as a zombie? The only way to get to the bottom of this phenomenon was to talk to the artist.
Gilbert: Hi Rob. Thank you for doing this interview for Biff Bam Pop. I love the zombie pictures that you put on your Facebook page and think that they are absolutely amazing. I hadn’t realized how many different types of pictures you did including pet zombies. How did this start?
Rob Sacchetto: I know this is going to sound crazy but I actually invented the Zombie Portrait. It didn’t exist before we started doing it back in 2006. We did the research and, we went on line and checked before we started the website to see if anyone else was doing this. Nobody else did this. I started doing the zombie portraits and up until now, I’ve done almost five thousand worldwide.
Gilbert: What did you do before doing zombie portraits?
Rob Sacchetto: I pretty much worked as a freelance illustrator and did private work and company work while working a number of day jobs to supplement my income. Then I sort of stumbled upon the idea of doing zombie portraits after doing a couple of portraits of myself and my wife. A friend of mine said, “Let’s make up a website for you and see if it works.” Literally overnight, the site blew up and I’ve been doing the portraits ever since.
Shortly after that, I began doing the Zombie Daily Site, which I’ve been doing since 2008. I post a new zombie drawing or painting every day on that site so there is over 2500 zombie drawings and paintings on that site that are updated every day.
Gilbert: Where can the readers find the Zombie Daily Site?
Rob Sacchetto: They can find Zombie Daily on Zombie Portraits.Com. It’s a blog that is attached to the website.
Gilbert: How did you get interested in doing zombies?
Rob Sacchetto: It came from way back when I was a kid. I saw a zombie movie and I was like, “Wow, zombies are so cool.” I loved big monster movies, but zombies were so cool because there are so many ways to depict them. Zombies are like snowflakes and no two are ever alike. As an artist, it’s the perfect vehicle to just do these things forever. There are so many ways to show them like, zombie animals. There are so many facets to zombies that I can just keep doing this forever and, I love it.
Gilbert: What I was surprised about, and it such beautiful work, is the Zombie Pinup Divas. Now, I love zombies, but never in a million years would I have considered zombies as Pinups.
Rob Sacchetto: Yeah, it was one of those things where I love drawing the female form, and I really don’t get to do that with Zombie Portraits that much, so I wanted to see if I could make it work and, it’s the most popular image that I do on Zombie Daily.
People love them the most and, it’s like how do you make these decaying zombie women look sexy?
Gilbert: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and especially with the Zombie Divas. They are dead and decaying but they’re not scary. You flipped the whole theory of zombies on its head. How do people go about getting a portrait?
Rob Sacchetto: Through the Zombie Portrait Website, people will send me a jpeg of themselves, a loved one, or a pet and they can order a zombie portrait right from the site and they get an original painting in a week or so.
Gilbert: I did see the one that you did as a tribute to David Bowie. It was beautiful. Do movie stars contact you and ask for a zombie portrait?
Rob Sacchetto: Yes, in the first or second year that we started doing zombie portraits, Scott Ian from Anthrax wanted me to do ten zombie portraits of him and his friends for Christmas as gifts. I have some comedians and movie stars in there that he wanted me to do, including one of his wife, Pearl, who is Meat Loaf’s daughter.
I just recently did some work for a guy who works on “The Walking Dead” as gifts for the ‘Key Grip’ and ‘Best Boy” for the season six wrap party. That was pretty cool getting a job from those guys. It was like, wow, even those guys know who I am.
Gilbert: They better know who you are because this is some of the best zombie work I’ve ever seen. I see that you’re now doing Coloring Books. How long have you been doing these?
Rob Sacchetto: That book, I just did last year just in time for Christmas and, it is doing great. A lot of people are picking it up and I loved doing it. It was a lot of work, but it was a new thing that I wanted to try out after doing zombies every day.
Gilbert: Can people order your other books from your site?
Rob Sacchetto: Actually, all of my books are on my Etsy site. I’m actually doing a kickstarter for a 200 page Zombie Diva Pinup book right now. Next week, I’m doing another kickstarter for a deck of Zombie Diva Pinup playing cards.
Gilbert: Wow! That is amazing.
Rob Sacchetto: We just shot the interview video for the kickstarter. It was a lot of fun.
Gilbert: When you do a big project like the coloring book or playing cards, do you always do a kickstarter?
Rob Sacchetto: In the past, I was contacted by publishers to do work, then the United States playing card company, Bicycle Cards, recently got me to do a couple of decks for them. I wanted to try something like this on my own.
Gilbert: What can we expect from you in the future?
Rob Sacchetto: I’m doing the deck of playing cards next and I’m coming up with the 800th head of the “Living Dead” drawing for the Zombie Daily site, plus doing a lot of conventions. If there is one thing that I’ve learned in the twelve years of doing the zombie thing is that anything is possible so between the Zombie Diva book and the playing cards, I’m going to be really busy
Gilbert: Will we see you at any conventions here in the states?
Rob Sacchetto: I was talking to a friend about doing a tour and hitting all of these conventions coming up.
Gilbert: Before we end, I did read where you did Greg Nicotero from “The Walking Dead” can you tell me about this.
Rob Sacchetto: That actually happened a few years ago when I was in a documentary with Greg Nicotero and George Romero and Tom Savini and a bunch of other guys. I did zombie portraits of everyone being interviewed in the documentary. They would pause the interview and morph into the zombie drawings that I was doing. It was called Zombie Mania. They have the whole thing streaming on Starz, and you can find it on YouTube.
Gilbert: Thank you Rob for chatting with me and I’ll be looking forward to the Zombie Diva Coloring Book and the playing cards.
Rob Sacchetto: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure talking to you.