See How They Run

Last Fall, I had the opportunity to join a small crew for an ambitious project down at the Saltan Sea. If you aren't familiar with the weirdly beautiful disaster that is the Saltan Sea, take a look. In short though, it's a tiny town with gorgeous views and a horrendous stench. Anyway, take a look:

I had some special challenges creating some of the FX needed for this piece, specifically creating a prosthetic finger that could be realistically cut off.

Sorry about my blurry camera work!

Sorry about my blurry camera work!

I made a life cast of the actor's hand, and then made a prosthetic thumb and finger our of a combination of silicone and gelatin. I wanted the inside of the prosthetic to be layered in color and texture after it would be cut. I also added a thin bone made of air clay to the center so that the bone would be seen when cut. Add an acrylic nail and a little paint, and we're ready to cut off some digits! 

Wearing the prosthetic involved the actor tucking his thumb and index finger down onto the palm. I secured his fingers with medical tape, then glued down the prosthetic fingers. I had a back up set of prosthetics ready for multiple takes, but I crossed my fingers we could get it in one. 

Next I applied lividity makeup to the actor for his role as a corpse. Also, I used the life cast of the actor's hand again to create the prop severed fingers seen in the shot with the plastic bag. Commitment to continuity!

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From this angle you can see the actor's tucked fingers, and the inside of the severed prosthetics.

From this angle you can see the actor's tucked fingers, and the inside of the severed prosthetics.

I was really happy with the way the FX turned out, and glad that I got to work with this crew!

 

Almost three years later!

When I was still in makeup school, I had the opportunity to assist Stephanie Pasicov on applying bald caps on the set of "Sisterhood of Night". It's been almost three years, but I stumbled across the trailer recently, and it's finally getting released! Seeing everything come together is thrilling!

Monster Palooza and a Warning from Danny Trejo

I had the pleasure of assisting my friend and Face Off season 7 contestant, Rachael Wagner, in a demo for MUD at Son of Monsterpalooza! Lindsay Skinner and I helped Rachael during the mold making process, and then helped her apply the piece on Saturday. It was a fantastic sculpture, and I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out!

Photographer: Eric Anderson

Photographer: Eric Anderson

Also, Rachael and I got a to see some of our work really come to life! The trailer for "Volcano Zombies" was recently released, and since Rachael assisted me on that project last November, we've been on pins and needles waiting to see a sneak peak!


Mermaids and Monsters at Myth and Labyrinth

I had the priveledge of doing makeup for Virginia Hankins of Sheroes Entertainment at masquerade balls twice this year!

At the Los Angeles Myth Masquerade, I joined Aubriana Zurilgen and Rachael Wagner to body paint the mermaid team that performed at the event. 

My bodypainting to compliment Catalina Mermaid's gold tail and gold metal corset.

My bodypainting to compliment Catalina Mermaid's gold tail and gold metal corset.

And over this past 4th of July weekend, we debuted a new character at the Labyrinth Masquerade! Meet Swampy:

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Swampy is comprised of a custom sculpted cowl and nose piece made especially for Virginia, complete with liquid cheek bone pieces and body painting. Swampy's full silicone tail was crafted by Aubriana Zurilgen and Louie Lambe. 

Swampy will make another appearance soon! I'll keep you posted.

Fargo: Blink and you'll miss it, but it's there!

A while ago, I was brought onto a photo shoot with the amazing Harmony Boudoir Studio for an extremely top secret project. But! Now that all the episodes have aired, I think I can spill the beans:

I did the glamour makeup for photos of Kelly Holden Bashar of FX's Fargo fame. The glamour shot-like boudoir photos popped up in a pivotal point in the series-- and that's all I'll say about it if the show is still on your watch list.

First, Kelly tweeted this photo of the crew behind the scenes pampering her doing the shoot:

Then the photos popped up on screen, held by Lester, played by Martin Freeman:

No, you can't really see the full detail of the photos, but I know it's there!

Two Ends of the Spectrum!

Recently, my schedule has been jam packed with exciting projects-- a feature film, more music videos, a short film, and several amazing beauty shoots (those images are coming soon!), and I thought I'd post some images showing the range the last couple months have encompassed.

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These images are a sneak peak of an exciting body painting shoot I did with Efi Green of 8000 Nerves Designs. The model is Alicia Vigil, Hair by Marissa Cydya. Prodessional shots from Pete Ambrose photography coming soon!

Earlier this month, I was able to assist Bethany Serpico in an exhibition project at IMATS LA. You may have recently seen Bethany Serpico competing on Face Off. Not only did I get to work with Bethany, but Rachael Wagner, my friend and partner from Volcano Zombies, modeled for us. Shot by Deveril Weekes. 

Assisting Bethany Serpico, with Rachael Wagner Modeling. Photographer Deveril Weekes.

Assisting Bethany Serpico, with Rachael Wagner Modeling. Photographer Deveril Weekes.

More Music Videos!

Over the last few months, I've been able to work on music videos for some incredible artists. The shoots have been fantastic, and I can't wait to post the videos when they're all released, but, in the meantime, here are some shots from set!

Gorgeous Katerina Bravve in a helicopter for her "Sudden Addiction" shoot.

Gorgeous Katerina Bravve in a helicopter for her "Sudden Addiction" shoot.

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I have been able to work with JayCeon and the crew from EclecticCo Entertainment twice now. The last time, we shot an alien landscape with gorgeous models up in Alta Dena for the "For Your Love" video. We shot in infrared, so after color processing this video will look completely different!

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More recently, I got to work with the guys from Kalm Kaoz on their Ziggy Stardust track. We shot for two days in different locations around LA, and created some truly mind blowing images. 

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Behind the Scenes! Making Siamese Twins

Making identical twin models Megan Murrago and Joey Bones into a pair of conjoined twins was one of my absolute favorite shoots of all time. Tash Kouri of Body Art by Tash (tashkouri.com), and I developed the concept together, and shot with Jae Hwang of Eleven Images. The results were beyond anything I could have imagined.

I sculpted and ran the gelatin prosthetic piece that conjoined the twins, and created their severe and slightly vintage makeup, while Tash created their body paint looks, and amazing headdresses. We both brought together everything from the depths of our closets to create their wardrobe.  Jae was kind enough to take a few behind the scenes photos as we got the models ready. 

Gluing the girls together.

Gluing the girls together.

Task Kouri fitting and adjusting her headdress pieces.

Task Kouri fitting and adjusting her headdress pieces.

I powder and Tash paints! 

I powder and Tash paints! 

Welcome to LA!

I've been boots on the ground out here in LA for almost three weeks! I've been able to hit the ground running and hopefully soon I'll be able to share images from the volcano zombie feature I did FX for, and the lovely short film I had the pleasure of keying this past weekend. In the meantime, here is a recently released still from Jayceon's new video, Do It All Again. I keyed this crazy awesome 8-hour production and had a blast!

Jayceon and Stephanie Danielson in Do It All Again.

Jayceon and Stephanie Danielson in Do It All Again.

Oh, hey, remember this?

I do. One time, I did makeup for an Uncle Murda music video out in Bensonhurst. There was aging makeup, glamour makeup, fake beards, and all the Ciroc one could drink on set. The producer introduced himself as Batman. No cape, though.

It was quite a day. Anywho, here's how it turned out! 

IMATS Sydney Battle of the Brushes

With so much going on (the wedding! the cross country move!) I have lots of things that have not made it online yet! In September, I was able to compete at the IMATS Battle of the Brushes for the second time. The Sydney competition was packed with talented artists, and I was proud to be among them. I created a glowing wizard to reflect the Wizard of Oz theme.

I made a cap out of polyfill and LED lights underneath a bald cap to create a giant glowing head. 

Model Kelly Rice also wore a nose, brow, and horn prosthetics.

Rachel Wagner's entry and Mine side by side. Go MUD NY!

Rachel Wagner's entry and Mine side by side. Go MUD NY!

Halloween 2013!

Sadly, I never managed to get into a costume myself this year--but that's ok, because I had WAY MORE FUN designing a character for the Denver Zombie Fashion Show Competition on October 25th. Model Kaylee Feldt embodied the glamorous and ghoulish Audrey HelpItBurns as Holly GoBiteMe in "Breakfast IS Tiffany!" We came in second place, and the crowd absolutely adored our combination of sophisticated vintage glamours and melting flesh. 

Peeling flash before added blood, puss, and more texture.

Peeling flash before added blood, puss, and more texture.

Painting and adding the finishing touches to the exposed spinal column.

Painting and adding the finishing touches to the exposed spinal column.

The Zombie and her necromancer.

The Zombie and her necromancer.

Complete with accessories!

Complete with accessories!

A Huge Backlog of Recent Projects!

I have to get better at posting my work in a timely fashion! I'm going to work backwards, starting with IMATS NYC, Battle of the Brushes. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to work alongside some of the most talented student and recent graduate artists I've ever met. 

The theme was "Oz" since the new Wizard of Oz movie had come out, and the judges were the makeup design team from the movie, which was exciting and also wildly intimidating. 

Based on the theme, I chose to design a china doll character, since the china people appear in the books and also the recent movie. My character was played briliantly by Caroline Martin, who you might recognize in my portfolio as the grizzled pirate and the Octopus lady.

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Body Painting for Video Games!

I got to be a part of an event that included independent video game exhibitions, music, whiskey, and a body painting! Tash Kouri (http://www.tashkouri.com) and I joined forces to sponge and airbrush paint two models. Tash provided amazing stencils, and we switched models every 15 minutes to build on each other work, essentially the freestyle jazz of body painting.

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Haute Trader Shoot!

I got to work with the lovely people over at http://hautetrader.com/ for their launch video. The models were delightful and I got to do some lovely beauty work!

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I also got the chance to work on a feature film which combined special effects and beauty. The actress in this scene required sultry smokey eyes and red lips, and a black eye.

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The Making of Lady Octopus!

Making the tentacle headpiece for the Lady Octopus shoot took weeks of trial and error. This is how I got from this: 

Aldo the Hydrocal bust.

Aldo the Hydrocal bust.

To this:
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My main goal with the tentacle head dress was to make sure that it would blend seamlessly

 into the skin, so the forehead of the piece had to transition from prosthetic application to fabrication easily.  

I started sculpting the frame of the tentacles out of armature wire using a hydrocal bust as the base. I looked at Carnivale and Mardi Gras head dress bases online as a guide for how to structure the wire that would hold the expansive work in place. After I had a frame that wrapped around the head and extended out into tentacles, I wrapped the entire frame in cotton batting.  Once the cotton was applied, I started papier machet-ing the frame with paper towels soaked in liquid latex. 

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The photo above shows plastic wrap taped tight to the bust as a barrier. This way the latex would peel off easier from the bust.

Learning how to manipulate the paper towels so that they laid smooth and created organic shapes took many layers and many failed attempts. You can see a green layer above the forehead-- that was a failed attempt at using tulle as a textured skin. It lacked structure and would not hold any latex. Tissues were my original layer, but they proved too thin and too easily clumped together. 

When I finally settled on paper towels, I tore them into uneven jagged strips so that I'd have organic shapes and no hard edges. Covering the entire piece took almost 50 ounces of latex. After the first layer make a skin, more latex was sponge stippled over every inch to help create a texture. I was using reference photos like this for the skin texture.

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As I stippled latex for texture, I started bringing thin layers of latex down over the forehead of the bust, the same way one would stipple latex as if making a bald cap.

Once I had a skin over the whole piece, it was time to start thinking about suckers. 

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Since the surface area that required suckers was a huge amount of the piece, I needed to think of a way to quickly make a lot of suckers in sculpy clay, in uniform shapes, sizes and thicknesses. I sculpted different size suckers out of chavent caly in a grid on a woodent board. I had about 14 suckers sculpted, ranging from silver dollar sized suckers to a few about the size of an M&M. They each had slightly different textures and centers, since I wasn't sure what shape I was going to like best. 

I built a wall around the sculptures and poured a mould our of tin silicone. I added UFC to set off the tin silicone in minutes so that I would have two identical mould quickly. I was lucky tis time-- but I forgot to spray mould release the first time I poured the cast-- the silicone thankfully peeled away easily without damaging the sculpture so I was able to pour a second, but that could have gone south fast. 

Once I had the moulds, I pushed sculpy clay into the negatives and immediately pulled out a positive that I could bake and the eventually glue to the head dress. Once again, these were in an experiment in trial and error. Some negatives produced terrible looking positives, and as I held them up the tentacles for placement ideas, I realized I had not sculpted any that would be nearly small enough for the delicate thin ends of each tentacle. Many were usable, many were not, and a great many more were sculpted individually using my finger tips and a tiny stylus tool for the smallest ends. 

Once they were all cast and baked, it was time to break out the hot glue gun. 

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The largest ones were arranged closest to the head and descended in size as they radiated out to the tips. In the photo above you can also see where I started to experiment with a little extra cotton batting soaked in latex to create raised veins. Laying each sucker on all eight tentacles took...uncounted hours. Again, a part of the project that was stretched out much longer than I expected, but, oh what we have learned!

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So with the skin created, the suckers attached, and the "bald cap" portion was stippled. All I had to do was paint! Simple, right? 

Oh my oh my oh my....

My original color scheme plan was a yellow and green combination. Green ove most of the octopus which would transition into yellow around the sucker tracks. The first layer of paint was always intended as a sealant to protect the latex and make sure it didn't inhibit any other compounds I might use in the make up later. I mixed acrylic paint with prosaide to make a PAX paint, and started stippling.

I hated it. The yellow and green I thought would look sea-like and organic just looked drab and sloppy. So I tried something new.

Pink and purple skin, and orange suckers.

I hated it.

This next bit would take a long time to explain...suffice it to say, it basically involved multiple color changes, concept changes, new choies that would influence costume styling and character, repainting each sucker several times, costing myself a considerable amount of extra time, sometimes painting and the repainting to go back to the color I had just covered....

It was a learning experience. But this as the ultimate result that I was quite happy with:

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The gold dust was added to help achieve the decadent and almost translucent quality. 

The gold dust was added to help achieve the decadent and almost translucent quality. 

The finishing touches included lots and lots of gold and bronze dust, and a pearl glued into every. single. sucker.

My friend and costume queen extrodinaire, Caroline Martin, had agreed to be my model. Caroline made a FANTASTIC costume for this year's mermaid parade (as she does very year). She agreed to wear part of the costume she had made for her Undersea Queen Elizabeth creation for the photo shoot, which was the perfect compliment to the aristocratic half lady/half octopus concept.

Caroline in her amazing  Queen Merlizabeth costume, with mer Abrham Lincoln.

Caroline in her amazing  Queen Merlizabeth costume, with mer Abrham Lincoln.

Once the details on the head dress were completed, it was given about five coats of Crystal Clear to not only protect it and make it more durable, but also make the pearls and gold dust more stable.

The mouth pieces were sculpted out of friendly plastic beads, which was the perfect material to achieve thinness and translucency I was looking for (that was after sculpting a full set out of wire and sculpy...did not work). 

With lots of borrowed pearl jewelry, a big seashell also covered in gold powder, we were all set for photo shoot day, and voila.

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If I make another one of these again, there is A LOT I would change. I'm happy hat as a learning experience for this first hybrid appliance/fabrication, it turned out so well. I'm excited to tackle something like this again in the future armed with the knowledge from my mistakes.