photo: Abe Spear
Born 1958 in Charlottesville Virginia, a small Ivy League college town in the middle of a Southern relic, Chuck Varga was instilled at an early age with ‘highbrow academia’and ‘lowbrow schlock’. From Shakespeare to Stan Lee, Catholic schools to Kiss Concerts, from the Chess Club to Dungeons and Dragons, such were the rocky extremes that shaped his love/hate interest in art.
In an attempt to resolve this interest, he chose to attend Virginia Commonwealth University, confident that a degree in Art History would fuse his aesthetics and galvanize his gestalt. Though educated in classical and modern art, Varga became disgusted with the elitist disdain the art world held for popular culture and vice versa.
Emerging four years later as a dissonant iconoclast, chip firmly on shoulder, he vowed to fight back. So in 1985, Varga joined with a group of five like-minded individuals who formed the theatrical rock band GWAR. GWAR now consists of about fifteen to twenty members only about six of whom are musicians. GWAR is more than a mere musical prodigy, they are a multimedia atrocity.
Slave Pit, Inc. is the name for the communal group of artists who are responsible for developing the concepts and narrative of the GWAR mystique. Varga wrote and designed over a dozen graphic stories for the comic book, The Slave Pit Funnies. He also collaborated on scripts for eight major productions of GWAR that toured the US and Europe in over one thousand shows, and co-authored two feature length films, 'Phallus in Wonderland' and 'SkullHedFace'. The Grammy nominated 'Phallus in Wonderland' is a satiric parody of GWAR’s run-in with authorities in North Carolina. 'SkullHedFace' includes cameo roles by Jello Biafra and Sebastian Bach.
In 1996, Varga and GWAR member Don Drakulich started a collaboration called Hyperreal for the creation of commercial sculpture and installation work. This venture led to Varga to relocate to New York City in 1997 where he currently divides his time between working professionally as a special effects artist and writing and producing underground absurdist theater, most recently the Fall 2003 production 'Flopsy Bleats Appreciatively'.