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Chaz Letzkus did his first hidden images drawing back in the Seventies after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in Economics. He was drawing a gazelle and the ears pointed up looked like the wings of a bird so he drew a bird. He made the eye of the gazelle a fish so it looked like the bird was swooping down on the fish. He added various animals and people to the drawing and the first Chazmania drawing was completed.
The drawings are done on 100 lb. acid-free bristol board with plate finish. Chaz does all the creative in pencil first. He draws the outline of the main image and a few basic details. He then decides what to hide in the drawing- different animals, all the same animal, people, lighthouses, musical instuments, etc. He recently began a series of university drawings which have proved extremely popular. The drawings contain many iconic images of the universities and appeal to both students and alumni. The drawing process is like building a puzzle. He looks for a shape to suggest another shape and continues until the piece is finished in pencil. Chaz then inks it in with Rotring Rapidiograph pens with points as small as .13mm. After the inking is done, he erases the pencil and prints from the original. Most of his drawings contain an answer key on the back showing what is hidden.
Chaz was a fan of “Find the Hidden Objects” page in Highlights Magazine growing up. Other influences were artists M.C. Escher and Salvador Dali. Chaz has been successfully exhibiting at art shows the past seventeen years in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and New York.
All of his drawings require that you “look closer”. According to Chaz: “To many, life in the Twenty-First Century can be described as pandemonium. Long hours at work, chores, errands and family responsibilities fill our days with never-ending activity. We are so busy; we don’t often get the chance to step back and just marvel at the wonders of nature or enjoy the memories of times past. My drawings are meant to take a break from the hectic 24/7 pace and go on an imaginary safari. Enjoy the drawings and enjoy the world.
Chaz is a Pittsburgh native, growing up in the South Hills. He began drawing at a very early age and attended the Saturday art classes at Carnegie Museums. Following graduation from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Economics, Chaz resumed his artwork and did his first hidden animal drawing.
After a brief stint as a Cost Analyst for US Steel Corporation, Chaz moved to Southern California. During a six year period living in Laguna Beach and Los Angeles, Chaz took various art and design classes at Orange Coast College and Saddleback College. When his position as Manager of The Hollywood Experience in Century City ended with the theater closing, Chaz returned to Pittsburgh.
Working twelve years as Group Sales Manager for Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh provided Chaz with plenty of inspiration, especially the animal dioramas of the Natural History Museum and the OMNIMAX nature films. The many other great Pittsburgh cultural attractions like the Pittsburgh Zoo and the National Aviary supplied more creative influences.
Chaz began exhibiting at shows in the late 1990's. He can be found at Three Rivers Arts Festival and Shadyside Arts Festival. Other local shows he has done are Westmoreland Art & Heritage Festival, Penn's Colony, and Carnegie Art & Music Festival. Chaz also does numerous shows in Ohio like Old Fashioned Christmas in the Woods in Shaker Woods and the Cleveland Christmas Show. He has exhibited in shows at the Canton Museum of Art, Nassau County Museum of Art and the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island.
Chaz is a member of the South Hills Art League, the Calligraphy Guild of Pittsburgh and Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. He donates his artwork to many worthwhile causes such as the Animal Rescue League, Persad's Celebrate Art, Celebrate Life and Penn State University's THON, the largest collegiate fund-raising organization in the country.