Chaz Guest


Chaz Guest’s paintings are widely recognized as important works in the realm of figurative expressionism. Beginning in the late eighties, his canvases have energized galleries and collectors, introducing them to a pallet of Pozulli red, Egyptian blue, and Naples yellow.

His compositional skills and complex vocabulary of refreshing, painterly boldness are undeniable. Guest’s work is truly transcendent, demonstrating an uncanny ability to capture the complex resonance of his subjects. When one views the spectrum of Guest’s work, from the exuberant paintings of Dancers and revealing portraits of legendary Musicians such as Miles Davis, Kenny Garrett and John Coltrane, to the sparse cuttle fish ink on paper or canvas, pieces created during live stage concerts, these and subsequent works seem infused with life, utterly committed to the moment.

Quite often, Chaz’s paintings elicit an emotional response. His latest pieces on Pablo Casals are a remarkable confluence of ideas Guest has been developing. The juxtaposition between the relative sparseness and simplicity of the brushwork played against the raw, deeply layered textures on canvases evoke both the meditative and intense nature of Casals’s presence and his music.

The platform for Guest’s unique form of artistic expression can be traced to pivotal influences in his background. Born May 2, 1961 in Niagara Falls, New York, he was raised to revere the spiritual by his father, a gospel minister, whose bold sermons resonate as an inner voice in Guest’s work. His first passion in school was gymnastics, which brought him to Southern Connecticut State University, to study kinesiology and pursue a degree in graphic arts. He subsequently competed successfully in the U.S. Olympic program.

Guest’s love of movement, and his ability to dramatically synchronize that flow from the spiritual to the visual, conveys an athlete’s innate strength of motion and emotion. After graduating from S.C.S.U., Guest moved to New York City, where he enrolled in a fashion design curriculum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. It was during this period that he honed his formal skills in drawing.

Later, Chaz moved to Paris, where his body of work for Dior, Lacroix, and Yves St. Laurent made a lasting impression on the world of haute couture Fashion. It was while in Europe that Guest’s eye for physical poetry turned his focus to painting; it was in ideal synthesis that has led to the creation of his most brilliant work.

For most of this decade, Guest’s work has received rave reviews across various segments of society, whether established members of the art community or political figures, notably including U.S. Senator Barack Obama, who has chosen a particularly powerful Guest portrait of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to grace his Washington, D.C. Senate offices.

Everything about Chaz’s paintings is unique, from the linen canvas to the use of ink and oil, to the actual subjects of the paintings themselves. While he is a study of many subjects, Chaz Guest is best known for his captivating, in-the-motion paintings of jazz legends. Most recently commissioned to paint Max Roach for the Playboy Jazz Festival, Chaz has also painted such legends as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. His paintings feel like musical notes sweeping across a canvas, some going up the scale, some going down, some in treble clef, some in bass, an eighth note here, a four count there…different sounds moving in different directions…creating one beautiful masterpiece.

In recent years, Chaz has established a large and dedicated following of collectors. The impressive roster of cultural and business luminaries who have supported Chaz’s work includes: Wall Street financier Hugh Quigley, Marcus Miller, Kenny Garrett, Victoria Rowell, Dennis Haysbert, Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Mattie and Michael Lawson, Faye and Robert Davidson, Stacia and Michael Washington, Bill and Brenda Galloway, Josh Lucas, Dr. Tod and Shelly Turner, Dr. Deborrah Hyde, Steve McKeever, Ron Sweeny, Naomi Campbell, and the renowned Bebe Winans, just to name a few.