Chaz Guest

[caption id="attachment_1938" align="alignnone" width="577"]Guest painting. Photo by Sayama[/caption]

Painter Chaz Guest was born in Niagara Falls, New York, the son of a minister and one of nine children—“a baseball team,” he says with an easy laugh. At the age of ten, Guest moved to Philadelphia’s tough west side with mother and siblings after his parents’ divorce. It was in Philadelphia that Guest had an epiphany while watching the 1976 Olympics. “I was fascinated by a gymnast from Japan named Shun Fujimoto. I watched him execute the routine of a lifetime on the rings and then dismount onto a broken knee. I saw him grimace, yet he kept his composure. That man’s ‘Zen’ traveled clear around the globe to this little boy in Philly. He led me to my creative process. I wanted to know what he knew—to know accomplishment at his level of dedication and sacrifice.”

Guest’s paintings capture stillness and movement with equal skill. From still lifes of enslaved people working the fields in his lauded Cotton Series to evocative oil portraits of jazz greats creating brilliance with their instruments, Guest has a clear philosophy about his creative zeal. “It’s about capturing the moment,” he says with Zen-like clarity. “If I had three lifetimes, I still couldn’t paint everything I have going on in my mind.”