MUD Celebrates Ninth Annual Joy Prom

It’s summer again, and that means it’s time for the annual Las Vegas Joy Prom. A night full of music, dancing, and beauty for teens and adults with different cognitive and physical abilities, Joy Prom is one of our favorite projects to be involved with through our charitable branch MUD Cares.

Every year, MUD runs a room where a team of makeup artists are waiting to put glitter in the guests’ hair, blush on their cheeks, and and a shiny new layer of lip gloss on their lips. Even better, each guest leaves with a tiara and a makeup goodie bag with their choice of MUD Lip Glaze. The beauty station is often many girl’s favorite part of the event, and the guests’ faces always light up when they receive their free makeup.

Troy Watson, the MUD grad and director of International Sales who’s passion spearheaded MUD’s involvement with Joy Prom, was inspired by a conversation with founder Bobby Tyler while walking their dogs. At first, MUD just supplied make-up brushes and a couple of lip glazes. This year, MUD was responsible for a Starry Night-themed makeup room for all to enjoy.

The 2018 Las Vegas Joy Prom hosted 300 guests thanks to the help of over 300 volunteers. Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen, and we can’t wait for next year!

Battle of the Brushes: Toronto

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MUD: Which category are you competing in and why did you choose to enter that category?

Korbyn Rachel:  SFX Character

Rose Ripley: I am competing in the character/prosthetic category. I really love creating characters and doing creature design, so this category, to me, is a lot of fun. I also just love Guardians of the Galaxy, so it is really cool to be able to participate when that is the theme of Battle of the Brushes.

Samantha Martino: I am competing in the Character/Prosthetic FX category. I was drawn to it because I loved how much you could do with it. One night my friend let me do 2 completely different looks on him back to back (which is a lot!) and both times he just looked like a completely different being.

Ashley Soper: I am competing in Beauty/Fantasy. During 301 I was able to build my portfolio and I felt really good about my photos. I loved the models I got to work with and was very happy about how my photoshoots came out.

Melissa Ginzel: I am competing in the character/ prosthetic category in Toronto. When I originally enrolled at MUD I definitely thought I’d be more on the track of doing beauty makeup in the industry. While in school however, I loved seeing the intense transformation that could occur using different appliances and painting techniques. Sean Conklin and Ray Schaffer definitely worked with me to cultivate that passion and my final project was so successful, I was hooked!

Caliann Feimer:  I am competing in the FX portion of the Battle of the Brushes competition. I chose this category because FX is what I love to do. I’ve been an FX artist at Six Flags Great Adventure coming up on four seasons and I couldn’t think of anything I enjoy more than bringing a character to life.

Faith Grady:  I was accepted for the Beauty/Fantasy competition! I chose this category because I love the creative side of avant-garde makeup, and really wanted to challenge myself to create something outside of the box.

Skyla Mangine: I will be competing in the prosthetic/character design portion of the competition. I chose to do the SFX competition because for me it’s where I can really show my skills and creativity. I love having the opportunity to completely design a new character and turn someone into an otherworldly creature.

MUD: What’s the best/most encouraging advice that you’ve received so far?

Rachel:  The best advice I’ve been given has been to always be true to myself. I am one to think outside the box and I think being told to embrace that really helps me expand more artistically.

Ripley: “Do or do not. There is not try” -Yoda.

Martino: The best advice I’ve received was to just move on. When something isn’t working out the way you planned or isn’t looking the way you want it to, just move on. I am one for always dwelling on something that isn’t necessarily going my way, but when I remember to just move on and work on something else, sometimes something better than what I planned can come out of that. Happy accidents!

Soper: Asides from the family, the first email I made was to Gil and Paul. Gil was one of my teachers for special fx 201. I brought in what I felt were my best photos, he helped me and gave me advice on which ones I should submit. I shared my inspiration photos with them and received amazing advice. I then texted Caitlin Nash, a girl from my class, after she offered to brainstorm with me, she then said “You are going to do so F*ing good. Like you know what you’re doing. You got this”. I also reached out to Lacey who took first place at IMATS New York and picked her brain about the competition.

Ginzel: To not be so hard on myself and to not let fear win out – take everything that comes to you and be confident in your decisions.

Feimer:  It’s honestly absolutely an honor to be chosen for this competition. The overwhelming support I have from previous employers, coworkers, and friends is extremely encouraging. Make-up Designory has also helped keep me in contact with a lot of previous competitors who offer the best advice given that they’ve been in these shoes.

Grady: Ever since I was a little girl, my mom has been telling me, “You’ll never know if you don’t try.” As I have gotten older and made big decisions, such as applying for Battle of the Brushes, I have listened to that advice. It’s nice to know that the worst thing that can happen is them saying no, and by trying I avoid that annoying “what if” that can linger in the back of your mind.

Mangine: So far the best advice I have gotten would be to follow your gut feelings and don’t get caught up in your own head.

MUD: What do you hope to get out of this experience?

Rachel:  I hope to connect with other artists and people in the industry to further advance in my career!

Ripley: I hope to gain exposure and experience. Hopefully, the competition will get my name out there and help me with networking opportunities. It will also help give me experience in a “high stress” environment because it is timed. In addition, it allows me the chance to deal with problems that happen on the fly, which is also something that happens on set.

Martino: I hope to be able to really discover and hone in on my adaptability skills. Being able to come up with a look and adapt it to whatever prosthetic pieces I may get is definitely freaking me out a little bit, but I can’t wait to learn how I will handle that situation when I’m in the thick of it.

Soper: Just that, experience. This is very outside of my norm. I haven’t done anything like this before. I have experience in Bridal and Print makeup, not avant guard or fantasy makeup. This really challenges me, and I am up for the challenge. Just the fact I got accepted to compete is amazing!

Ginzel: The whole thing seems to be very character-building– how to perform under pressure, how to develop a character or concept, how to adjust when curve balls are thrown at you. But ultimately I want to create something that leaves a lasting impression that I can be proud of.

Feimer:  I really hope to grow as an artist in this experience. The nature of the competition is stressful and exciting all at once. I hope to create an amazing character and create some connections with the other artists and people I encounter on this project.

Grady:  Best case scenario, I’ll be able to earn back the money I spent getting there, haha! Really though, I’m so excited to learn a few things while having fun and being inspired by the other competitors! I’m truly honored to be selected to compete in such a prestigious competition, and if one person likes the make-up I do, I’ll be happy.

Mangine:  I would like to get my work out to a bigger audience. I hope that I can show more people what I’m capable of and get a career boost.

 

 

 

MUD Talks: Eryn Krueger Mekash

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Photo: Deverill Weekes

MUD: Talk about your early life and how you became a MUA?

EKM: My early life was spent in the hospital. So I’ve had kidney problems. I’ve had a lot of surgeries, which I think very much led to my imagination running wild and escape tactics to get out of the hospital. I had a huge support system with my parents and my brother who is younger than I am. My family loves Halloween, so I think in an effort to have this normal childhood when I was home, we had big Halloween parties and Christmas was a big deal.  So I was exposed to not only so much realistic horror but also you know monsters and all kinds of stuff because my parents loved that. I’d been doing make up on myself like little funny things since I was 7 or 8. So I always loved it and it kind of started leading me in that direction as I went to do art classes and things in Junior High School.

I started High School in 1982, which was the year of American Werewolf in London, Thriller, and The Thing were happening.  Make Up Effects were everywhere. It was booming. So I got see a lot of behind the scenes things on television and I just knew that was what I wanted to do. So I slowly moved in that direction and was in college taking art classes and taking Sandy Berman’s Make Up Effects school, which was this 4 week course where I learned the basics. Then I quit college and got a job but the make up and the monsters had always been there my whole life.  Whether it was creature features on Saturdays or my brother making horror films and me helping him, it just was something that was always a part of my life so it seemed like “oh of course that’s what I want to do.” Although it took a minute, because I didn’t know that was a real job!

Also there wasn’t much access back then. I mean you could write letters and send up a smoke signal, but there wasn’t any internet. There wasn’t any way to contact people and say “I want to work for you.” You just had to make a lot of cold calls. There was a lot of men and not very many women. Initially it might have been a token thing to have a girl working in the shop. John Beakler took a chance on me. That was my first job I had. So many people have worked for him that have started their careers there and I’m so grateful to Sandy Berman and to John. They both know that. 

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Eryn doing make-up on Jane Lynch for Glee
Photo credit: Eryn Kruger Mekash

MUD: Talk about working in the shops and how your career began?

EKM: I started off at John’s shop and quickly moved to other shops where I didn’t realize that at John’s shop you could do everything.  You were doing whatever he had available to work on. So the sculpting, foam running and going to set with it were all things I did. However, the bigger the shops you worked at, the less you got to do that. It was more of a specialized area and I was not a good painter, not a good sculptor and not fast but I was a good mold maker.  So I started doing that as well as doing seaming, finishing work, and some hair work.

Those kind of propelled me along but I wasn’t really getting on set the way I wanted to. I really wanted to be doing application. Of course, I would just practice on the weekends and do little jobs. I worked in the shops like 4 years and it was really hard but I loved it. After that time, I finally decided to start moving away from shop work and doing beauty make up, because I knew that would eventually help move me into being on set more and getting to do more prosthetics.  So I worked on General Hospital and got all my Union days. That said, it’s invaluable having worked in the shops. I mean at least four to five times a week I’m referring back to that or how to correct an issue or how to talk to a shop owner or an effects person on how to do something. I know exactly how hard it is to create a piece and deliver it to set because I have all that background.

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Make-up on Evan Peters for season 1 of American Horror Story
Photo credit: Eryn Kruger Mekash

MUD: Talk about working with Ryan Murphy?

EKM: Ryan and I started working together about 14 years ago when James McKinnon was the Department Head on a pilot called Nip/Tuck.  James was going to go back to do Alias and he wanted someone that he knew that he could trust to take over Nip/Tuck for him. So he did about four or five episodes of the first season and I was the key. Then I took over from there. After that, Ryan and I just had a really good connection and he would ask me to do other projects. I’ve done almost all of his projects. It’s been an incredibly rewarding relationship. I can’t say enough about him. He’s an incredible boss but he also loves make-up, hair and costume so much. It’s rewarding to be with somebody like that who values what you do, because I’ve been on jobs where they are just so put out with having make-up or hair there at all. In those situations it really is just a paycheck and it doesn’t feel great to be involved with people that feel that way. So I just feel so rewarded and grateful to have found a relationship with somebody like Ryan.

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Make-up on Sarah Paulson for American Horror Story : Asylum
Photo credit: Eryn Kruger Mekash

MUD: You had a pretty amazing night at the 706 awards. Can you speak about the awards you won and what happened when Ryan Murphy spoke when he received his lifetime achievement award?

EKM: I was very excited that Zoe and Heather were honored for the People vs OJ. I designed that show and stayed on as designer but Zoe did the day-to-day after the first two episodes the last eight episodes she was Department Head. She ran all of that with Heather, who was the key. They did such a terrific job. I was so pleased that they won for that.

The other one was for the prosthetics and that was really surprising. I was excited that we won! It’s really so cool to get an award from your peers for something that you’ve always loved doing. It was really neat. Plus I get to work with my husband, which is really cool. So he won for that as well. I have an incredible team and I wish we could share it with everybody. I wish there were more award spots available that we could have everyone up there.

As for the lifetime achievement award… that was a total surprise for the most part from Ryan. I had no idea.  I had just spoken to him over an email where he wanted to know how many characters we developed for Feud, so I told him and that was it. I thought maybe he was just going to mention it or something. Remember it was his distinguished artisan award so it’s about him and how amazing he is. Yet he pretty much spent the entire time talking about 706 and how amazing make-up and hair are to the craft of filmmaking. So that was so moving in the beginning and then he started talking about Feud and how honored he was to have all these crews that were so diverse.  Then he said I was going to get a producer credit this year and I couldn’t believe it! I’m still in shock about it. I’ve pretty much had a similar role for these last few years where I’m the mouthpiece for him. He said “You know what I like. You make sure that I’m represented on set.” So that’s what I do. I make sure that what directors ask for is in the realm of what he wants being shot.  My whole team is like that though. It was a surprise and I’m super excited and honored.

 

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Eryn with Taissa Farmiga 
   Photo Credit: Eryn Kruger Mekash

 MUD: Have you discussed what this means now you are a producer for his company?

EKM: I had a meeting with him yesterday and some concept meetings. What would be cool is that I get to have more time with him. Ryan’s so busy so a lot of our relationship in the last few years has been an email relationship. So I don’t get to see him all that often. Once in a while we’ll connect in a meeting or he’ll come to set and chat with me but it’s very brief.

I don’t know how much more than what I’m already doing is going to fall under a producer title. I think it’s just more of an honorable thing that he gave me. A couple of years ago, I moved up to having a make up designer credit. So I think it’s going in that direction which is showing my responsibilities. We’ll see. Its always exciting around the Ryan Murphy world.

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Make-up Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon for Feud
Photo Credit: Vanity Fair

MUD: Any advice for up and coming MUA?

EKM: Early on, try and focus on which way you’re going and not be super spread out. It’s hard in the beginning, because you want to just take every job to pay the rent. I understand you have to kind of do that, but I think once you start working a little bit then you should try and fine tune exactly which way you want to go with thing. Don’t stay out there drifting. I knew that what I wanted to do but I wasn’t sure how to do it. So I think focusing and being more proactive on what you want is key.

MUD: Any final thoughts?

EKM: You are only as strong as your weakest link. It’s your team members that propel you to do these great projects so I have this great base of people I rely on. Mike McCash and Kim Airs are my two main people that help me move forward through all these different projects. Ryan has a very unconventional view on how to do things and not everybody would support that but my team does. I feel very fortunate for that.

 

 

 

Industry Speaks: Vincent Schicchi

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Vincent Schicchi with NY students

Thank you, Vincent Schicchi for stopping by our NY Campus to chat with our students! Vincent has had a long and successful career spanning over 2 decades as a special effects makeup artist. In that time, Vincent has racked up a multitude of movie, television, and Broadway credits. These credits include Spiderman 2, The Heat, SNL, The Fault in Our Stars, The Wiz Live. He also runs the New York based state of the art Creature FX Shop.

vincent quoteThough, he has found a great deal of success as a SFX makeup artist Vincent continues to sculpt and create as much as he can in his free time and stressed to our students the importance of practice stating “Get your name out there, you’re going to learn that there’s ten different ways to do one thing. When you get bored and you’re at home still practice to keep your skills up” We’re sure our students will follow your advice Vincent!

Battle of the Brushes: Sydney

Battle of the Brushes

With IMATS Sydney soon approaching, that magical time when graduates who have completed school within 12 months  of the competition date, are able to compete in the Battle of the Brushes.

In a few short weeks, MUD graduates from our New York campus will be heading to IMATS Sydney to compete in this exciting event!

This time around we have 4 talented grads who will be competing in the Character/Prosthetic competition,  with the theme being Guardians of the Galaxy.

Above all we are so proud of our grads who are competing, and we wish them the best of luck! Let’s get to know them a little more before they ship off to battle… Battle of the Brushes!

What brought you to MUD?

Christie Moller: I decided to go to MUD after a few years of searching for a makeup school. Originally, I only wanted to go to school for beauty and then some things came up where I couldn’t attend any schools. Then by the time I found MUD, I was getting really into sfx makeup and once I looked into the Masters Program I knew that’s where I wanted to attend.

Rose Ripley: When I graduated high school, I went to college in Florida but very quickly found I wasn’t happy with what I was doing. After a semester in college, I came back home and I did what I always did when I was sad: I watched a ton of my favorite movies. I’ve loved movies since I was a kid and I was always fascinated by creature design. When I was around 6 years old my dad showed me the film Alien and even though it was a horror film, I wasn’t scared at all. Instead I was excited every time the Alien showed up on screen because I got to get a closer look at it. Watching my favorite movies helped make it click in my head that I wanted to be a part of making movies like that. I’ve also always found myself much happier when I could apply my creativity. I watched behind the scenes vlogs from the set of the Hobbit movies and saw the special effects make-up and what went into it and I thought it was so cool. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that’s exactly what I wanted to do. It was my mom that told me about MUD. She is a teacher and was working with some teachers from a performing arts school who were talking about MUD. After some research I decided to apply for the master’s program and the rest is history.

Stella Bouzakis: When I decided I wanted to get into TV/film, I was looking for a school that taught Special Fx. When I came across MUD and saw that not only did they teach application but sculpting as well, I was sold! Not to mention all of the amazing alumni that have come out of MUD and the fact that the school is highly recognized in the film industry. 

Taylor Schulte: I had been dreaming of going to MUD since I was 19 and in cosmetology school.  I finally had the means and support to make that dream a reality.  I moved to NYC last May to attend the Master Artistry Program.

Make-ups by Christie Moller

What are you doing currently? 

Moller: Unfortunately, I haven’t put too much of a dent in my career yet, but I’m working on changing that. I worked as a makeup/hair stylist at a photo studio and right now I’m working on finding more freelance work in my area until I can build up a stronger portfolio.

Ripley: I’ve been working on some short films and I’ve also been building my portfolio.

Bouzakis: I’m freelance right now, trying to get into the union eventually. I’ve been working on a lot of short films and it’s so much fun!

Schulte: Upon graduating in December I moved across the country to Los Angeles.  I currently work at Fractured FX Inc. where I am working on a major motion picture!

Make-ups by Rose Ripley

What made you decide to enter Battle of the Brushes?

Moller: I’ve always entertained the idea of entering, but I didn’t really think I’d get in so I wasn’t going to try. Then my instructor for SFX 201, Liz (Pisano), talked me into entering and I went for it, so I definitely have her to thank for getting me to this point.

Ripley: Michael Key came in one day to talk to the classes about Battle Of The Brushes and it sounded pretty amazing. I knew it was a really good opportunity. I love creating characters, so the idea of a challenge where I am given prosthetics and told to make a character really appealed to me. My teacher at the time also had competed in the past and won, so I also got that perspective on it. Then, when I found out the theme for the prosthetic competition was Guardians Of The Galaxy, I was sold. I absolutely adore Marvel movies, especially Guardians.  

Bouzakis: Honestly, when Michael Key of Makeup Artist Magazine and creator of IMATS/BOTB came to MUD it made me consider it and my teachers, Liz Pisano and Rich Krusell, pushed me to go. Thanks guys!

Schulte: I think Battle of the Brushes is an incredible opportunity for recent graduates and new professionals in the makeup industry. The exposure one can get from being apart of this competition can very much boost your career early on. I am so incredibly excited for this competition and so ready for the challenge!

Make-ups by Stella Bouzakis

What was the process of entering like?  

Moller: It was really simple. I sent in about 8 photos (Most were ones from what I did at MUD). Then I checked off three of the IMATS locations I wanted to enter, which I’m glad I did because I was originally only going to apply for NYC. After I got the email saying I wasn’t accepted into the NYC one, I figured that was it and moved on. So I was very surprised when I got the email saying I was a finalist for Sydney.

Ripley: It was a lot of Saturday photo shoots and convincingfriends and family to let me glue things to their faces. I tried to do as many SFX makeups as I could to build an impressive portfolio and sometimes that would mean turning my dad into a cat man in the kitchen and then running around the pine barrens of NewJersey trying to get nice pictures. That was the fun part .The rest was printing pictures at Walmart and sending them in.

Bouzakis: Luckily, MUD has amazing resources so it was pretty seamless. I made sure I did as many Saturday shoots as possible, which I think was key. I think it was important to submit quality photos to highlight my work.

Schulte: It consisted of creating a portfolio of sorts that contained pictures of my Prosthetic/Character Makeups.  I submitted 8 photos of my work over the last couple months.  Including some of which I received while participating in the Photoshoots at MUD.

Make-ups by Taylor Schulte

 

How do you think winning Battle of the Brushes will help you as a make-up artist in the long run? 

Moller: Firstly, winning would be amazing all in itself. Besides getting my name out to those in the industry, I think it would definitely help to give me more confidence as an artist. Even just being picked as a finalist is going to help me out in that area. 

Ripley: I think winning Battle of the Brushes will help to give me some exposure in the industry. It will show my ability to take a concept and bring it to life successfully and quickly and I believe the skills that are tested in Battle of the Brushes are important when working on set. Winning will help me to prove that I can work under pressure without losing the quality in my work.

Bouzakis: Amongst professionals in the industry, everyone knows IMATS and Makeup Artist Magazine. If you win, you and your work is featured, so it can possibly give some notoriety. But I think just to say you’ve competed sets you apart from others and lets people know the kind of work you can produce.

Schulte: I think the exposure of competing, win or lose, can boost one’s career tremendously.  The opportunity to meet and be judged/critiqued by some of the best in the industry is invaluable.  I think Battle of the Brushes has the possibility to open doors I may not of had otherwise.

Do you have a plan to keep all of the distractions from getting to you during the competition? 

Moller: I think I might actually benefit from distractions. I’m not the kind of person who can concentrate unless there’s other stuff going on around me. Plus it also adds a little bit of pressure to the situation, and I work better under pressure.

Ripley: I’m going to purge myself of all emotion like Spock from Star Trek and not look at anything but the makeup I’m doing.

Bouzakis: Honestly, I was lucky enough to have some great teachers at MUD. They made sure to prepare us for high pressure situations and how to think creatively. So I’m ready for the competition! Thanks MUD! 

Schulte: Remaining cool, calm, and collected. Remember that I was 1 of 8 Finalists selected to compete and that is an accomplishment in itself.  Also remembering people that are “distractions” at IMATS are just fellow makeup lovers interested in my creation.

We wish you all the best of luck!

If you’d like to help our talented grads raise some money to get them to Sydney please click the links below!

Christie Moller

Rose Ripley

Stella Bouzakis

Taylor Schulte

 

 

 

 

 

In remembrance of our dear friend and colleague, David Langford

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David Langford 

David Langford, inspirational instructor at Make-up Designory’s LA campus, passed away June 25, 2017. We continue to find ourselves full of sorrow.

David’s passion for life, teaching, and make-up will not be forgotten. The entire Burbank campus carries memories of David saying “Heeeyyy!” in the most infectious and jovial way that made the greeting so special and put a smile on everyones’ face immediately. Part of our faculty since 2010, but a member of the MUD extended family for much longer.

David’s accomplishments in his long career as a Make-up artist and teacher include helping bring the iconic Elvira: Mistress of the Dark character to life, being a Department Head at Paramount, as well as, Disney, and a member of I.A.S.T.E Local 706, the Make-up and Hairstylists Guild. In spite of a long and expansive freelance career, he always returned to teaching.  He touched the careers of numerous make-up artists in the industry and we are certain his memory will live on through them and their work.

We have received an abudnance of amazing messages and stories honoring David’s memory and would love to share the joy he infected us of all with.

“David and I not only shared a love of make-up and teaching that goes back to the late eighties, but we also shared a birthday. He had an enthusiasm and a love of life that was so contagious and I could not help but smile whenever I was around him. He truly cared abouthis students and whether they succeeded, he and I would often talk about what graduates are doing and how proud he was. He was a teacher, a mentor and a friend that touched so many people in such a positive way that I feel honored to have worked with him and even luckier to call him a friend.”

-Paul Thompson, Director of Education

“David Langford knew the key to life… and he lived it up.

I never saw David in a bad mood. He found joy in everything. He had this way of making things fun. It was a gift, a gift he shared with everyone – Instructors, Students, Executives, Administration, etc…everyone loved David. He had a seemingly endless supply of energy, patience, kindness, and creative ideas.

Never jaded, the ever enthusiastic David would proudly parade his student’s creative works through my classroom every six weeks. In turn my students would be greeted in his classroom with applause and cheers that only a sincere joy for teaching built into his DNA could produce.

I will miss our trips to Hobby Lobby and Goodwill digging for treasures to use for our open house tag team make-up demonstrations. I will miss grooming his eyebrows “just this side of drag queen” as David liked to say. I will even miss his car clutter, his mustache, and his infamous ancient flip phone. Mostly, I will miss the kind of man who took an hour out of his day to show my four year old the joys of making goo out of water and corn starch.

I always felt proud when David referred to me as the east coast version of him, and I hope to live up to that.

“The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful: it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” – David Steindl-Rast

Thank you David for all the joy!”

-Lisa Leveridge, MUD Instructor

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“In memory of David Langford-

When I think about David the first thing that comes to mind is his laugh. He would do just about anything for the joke, mostly at his own expense. Laughing so hard tears would run down his cheeks, harder still when you joined in.

We would talk endlessly about movies we loved and those we would watch again and again. Quoting lines from our favorites, laughing out-loud at the silliness of it all. Good times. Of course that’s not all we talked about, topics were vast from sharing recipes to naming show-tunes. You always knew when David was walking down the halls at MUD, you could  hear him whistling some old tune from South Pacific or just about any other Broadway song, past or present.

An exceptional artist, he loved his craft. I truly believe he loved teaching even more. Sharing his experiences and knowledge, students loved him.

His room is directly across the hall from mine. I will miss him coming into my room asking if I have a sec so he can show me something he has just discovered or, re-discovered. I will miss our conversations, his excitement over what a student has just created or, when he just wanted to borrow a bobby pin. I will miss my friend.

To quote a line from one of our favorite movies, David,

“Ya know I love ya more than my luggage’

Rest in Peace dear David”

-Yvonne Hawker, MUD Instructor

David Langford demo at Open House

“If there is one thing I know for certain, it’s that there is no other human in this universe like David. He was a magical man who made me laugh until my cheeks hurt, who made the classroom a warm (literally) and welcoming environment, and who made my passion for artistry grow that much more. I feel honored to have known him and to have been taught by him. He was such a special man who will forever remain in my heart.”

-Cait Nash, MUD Grad, Makeup Artist

 

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“I can’t even begin to explain David because he was just so magical. There is nobody else like him & I am so grateful to have known him, even though it was only for a short while. David used to keep these little penny coins that him and his kids made at Disneyland years ago, and whenever he was having a rough day, or someone was upset with him he would rub those coins to remind him to stay calm and to think about his kids. A week or so ago, I was having a particularly rough day in class, I was very frustrated. David could clearly see I was stressed and he took the coins out of his pocket and handed them to me. It was such a special moment for me because that meant he felt comfortable enough with me to lend me a little calmness. David was one of the best and truly most talented, I’m so glad I had an opportunity to get to know him.”

-Cicely Raposa, current student at MUD LA

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Thank you, David, for all of the joy and light you brought to all of us each and everyday.

MUD Talks: Denika Bedrossian

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Photo by Deverill Weeks

Last fall, we were lucky enough to have the very talented and incredibly gracious, Denika Bedrossian come to our LA campus in Burbank. She spoke with us about her career so far, from the ups and downs, to working with Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Kelly Osbourne, and many more.

MUD: How did you get into makeup?

I used to paint when I was a kid. It just kind of felt natural, with brushes, paint, colors, blending and stuff. When I was old enough to do my own make-up, I started playing around a lot. I used to watch my mom doing her own make-up, so it kind of made me a little more inspired to not do it on paper anymore. So, I started doing it (make-up) on my friend’s hair for dances at school and all that. Then, when I turned 16, I started working for Aveda, doing make-up demos for them at a salon near my house. When I turned 18, I went straight to MAC.

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Make-up on Kelly Osbourne

MUD: Talk about your career and some of the highlights?

So, I had some amazing years at MAC. They were the greatest, and the best education I could have asked for. From there, I made a lot of great contacts and a lot of great friends. It kind of led me to understand which realm of make up I wanted to go into, because there are so many different departments for it. I ended up transferring to the MAC Pro store on Robertson, which, at the time was the big flagship store. I ended up meeting a lot of industry people there and kind of just got my name out. After 8 great years, I left, got an agent and started working in the freelance world and I’ve been doing it ever since.

MUD: What is your favorite project you ever worked on and why?

I have had a lot of amazing projects. I’m really proud of a lot of things I’ve done. I did one really great one, when I worked at MAC there was an event called Chinese Dress, where they brought different fabrics that were made in all different parts of Asia, and we duplicated on skin. They closed down Robertson Blvd, and put all these great models against these real painted backdrops of art. They just kind of blended in, and one of my girls that I got to work on was covered in lily pads and frogs. It was 16 hours we worked on her, and it was the most gratifying thing to see at the end. Later on in my career, I was working with Miley Cyrus where we got to do some amazing body art. I covered her in 12 different kinds of glitters with different sizes and colors from head to toe. It was probably the most ethereal thing I’ve ever photographed or seen with my own work. So it was really beautiful and dreamy.And then recently I worked with Lady Gaga so that was a great moment. I feel like every day a new project is great memory so I kind of just wait and see what comes next.

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 Above mentioned glitter make-up on Miley Cyrus

MUD: What does an agent do for a makeup artist?

An agent is not only your support team and your number one fan. They book your work, they do all your deal memos, and they pitch you.  They introduce you and your work to different publicists, and artists.  They kind of run your life for you, keep it organized and make sure you get paid. So it’s a nice way to have someone take care of all the stuff you don’t have the time to deal with and get the work you might not be able to get on your own.

MUD: What qualities do you feel are important to have as a make-up artist?

I think that it’s really important that you hold your own, have your own style and our own ethics. For me personally, I was brought up with very strong morals and I don’t like to veer away from them. So I keep jobs very professional but fun and exciting. I always know where to draw the line plus I always bring (to my clients) something that makes them feel good whether it’s a story, a product or it’s just my smile.  I always find a way to be consistent with that and I think that’s what makes people want to see you again. It’s important to have your own thing going on so that people miss it and want it.

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Make-up on Lydia Hearst for Mint magazine

MUD: What kind of things do you think a make-up artist needs to do to stay relevant in todays market?

Well nowadays social media is the number one thing. I know when I was growing up and getting in the business, social media wasn’t even a thought.   We had big leather books we had to mail out to people to get jobs. I think today it’s about incorporating your personal life into your work life and showing a side of you (but not too much of you) in posting your work as well as tagging companies consistently. This includes maintaining relationships with different people and reaching out to photographers. Using the social media platform to get your own work is so important. That’s how work is booked these days.

MUD: What is the best advice you could give to brand new makeup artist?

To always learn, learn, learn and never be done learning.  Stay on top of your knowledge, not only in make-up and beauty, but in fashion, music and film because everything ties together. You never know where a job’s going to bring you, so it’s important that you kind of stay on top of every department there is in this business. Stay true to you and always, always, always be all over everything you see.

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Make-up on Ivy Levan

MUD: Are there any last thoughts that you’d like to leave us with?

I would say being a make up artist is one of the greatest gifts in the world. I wouldn’t change it for anything ever. I am truly blessed to have this job and met every person I’ve worked with. Never give up, because you might have those days where you feel like it’s not going anywhere or maybe didn’t make the right choice for your future, but at the end of the day, if it’s what you love, its going to happen and it’s going to get better.

Photo Credit : Denika Bedrossian’s Agency Portfolio

 

 

Grad Spotlight: Lora Arellano

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Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 11.49.40 AM“Say yes to everything!”
– Lora Arellano

MUD: Tell me a little bit about your background. Where are you from? What did you want to be when you grew up? What led you to MUD? 
Lora: I was born and raised in Los Angeles. Growing up, I was always very artistic. I took tons of art classes and spent most of my days in school doodling. I always knew I wanted a career in the fashion/beauty industry and I realized out of high school that I loved make-up and it was the only thing I had patience for. I decided to pursue a career in make-up when I came across The book, “Making Faces” by Kevyn Aucoin. I was absolutely obsessed with the way you could transform someone into a completely different character/person. After that, I started looking into make-up schools and MUD was referred to me by a friend in the industry. I checked It out and enrolled. It was a blast!

p (1).jpegRihanna at the Met Gala (Make-up by Lora)

MUD: What are you doing now? 
Lora: Now, I am signed to an amazing agency, Cloutier Remix. I’ve had the chance to travel the world with amazing clients. I’ve done makeup for tours, editorials, commercials, music videos, television, fashion shows and red carpet events. Every year surprises me! The possibilities are endless!

You can see some of my clients and work here.

I also own my own cosmetic company, Melt Cosmetics! I started it in 2013 with my friend Dana, whom I met while working at a make-up counter. It’s been a crazy road and it’s crazy balancing all of it, doing all this work, but it’s worth it. We currently have 22 lipsticks and 5 eyeshadow palettes. We are expanding into highlighters, which were just featured on Allure.com! I still live in Los Angeles where I purchased my first home a couple of years ago. Tattooed girl living in the suburbs who would’ve thought?!

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MUD: What did you do RIGHT after you left MUD? 
Lora: After I left MUD, I freelanced for about two years. Most of the jobs I did were NOT paid, but everyone has to pay their dues and put in their hours, so don’t give up! Every new job leads to more opportunities.

After those two years, I decided to work at a make-up counter. I worked there for 5  years, getting promoted to management, while at the same time balancing freelance work until I got my big break with an amazing client of mine. I left the counter after those 5 years and pursued freelancing and running Melt Cosmetics full time! Best decision ever!

p.jpegRihanna on the cover of Bazaar Magazine (Make-up by Lora)

MUD: What do you remember most vividly about your time at MUD?
Lora: The passion every student had. It was contagious!

MUD: Do you/will you stay in touch with the friends you made at MUD? Why do you think that is important in your line of work? 
Lora: I have stayed in touch with a couple friends I made at MUD, but by now, everyone has gone on totally different paths. I do think networking is extremely important and throughout your entire career, you’ll never stop networking!

p (3)Iggy Azalea for Elle Canada (Make-up by Lora)

MUD: Tell me about your best day at MUD! 
Lora: The best day was when we did blood tubing! I volunteered to be the model and it was extremely fun getting to have blood squirt out of a giant wound that they applied to my head! Hahahaha!

p (4)Serena Williams on the cover of Sports Illustrated (Make-up by Lora)

MUD: What are some lessons you learned at MUD that you think will be most beneficial in the “real world?” 
Lora: The color wheel! At the time it was completely new to me! Also, I loved the tips on color matching skin.

MUD: Would you have done anything differently? 
Lora: I would not have done anything differently because I felt prepared when I left the school and confidence in any job is key.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 1.37.06 PMLora’s Halloween make-up look

MUD: Do you have any words of encouragement for those considering applying to MUD?
Lora: It will be so fun! Go in excited and give it everything. It will pass by so fast!!!

MUD: Lastly, what advice to you have for today’s MUD students?
Lora: Say yes to everything! Any opportunity, paid or not, can open the door to a new one, so don’t turn anything down!

MUD Talks: Alex Noble

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We recently had the opportunity to speak with Alex Noble! He swung by our LA campus in Burbank to tell students about his career thus far. From “Desperate Housewives” to “Fear the Walking Dead,” Alex certainly had a lot of wisdom to share!

MUD: What was your first big break?
Alex: My first big break was coming out to Los Angeles. Because that was a hurdle that I had worked hard to overcome. I was in Cincinnati, Ohio at the time. Getting into the Union was also a really a big break for me.  Movie-wise though? That’s a tough one. There was a movie I worked on that has a $1.3 million budget. I got in on a recommendation from a friend of mine already working on it. They took a chance on me. I was co-department heading with another artist. It was called Forbidden Warrior. Yeah you’ll never see it.

MUD: What’s the best way for somebody to ask if they can assist you?
Alex: Erin Krueger Mekash had a fantastic one. Don’t ask if you can clean my brushes. If you want to assist me, I want to know how good of a make-up artist you are and not how good of a brush cleaner you are.

MUD: Talk about your work on “Desperate Housewives.”
Alex: I did a movie many years ago called “Without Men.” It starred Eva Longoria among others. I was department head so I did Eva’s make up. She looks at me one day and she says “Have you ever thought about coming on Desperate Housewives?” I said, “I’d love to, but I don’t think they would touch me.” She’s like “Why not?”  I replied, “Because no one knows I do beauty make-up.”  Keep in mind, at this time I was doing “Terminator” make-up.  I was doing a lot of effects-based make-up for independent movies like “I Am Number Four.” She looks at me and says, “Well you’ve been doing my make up for about 18 days and I think I’m a pretty good reference.” I loved her for that. I told her “I appreciate the opportunity, but I don’t want to replace anybody or make any ripples in the water at all. If you’re willing to do this then I want an opportunity to prove myself.” She said “Done!” Four months later, I was on the show and I didn’t replace anyone or ripple any waters. I became their regular addition for the next two seasons and I didn’t do a touch of effects make-up.

I can tell you right off the bat it scared the hell out of me. Here I am, new kid on the block and I’m working on the glamour show of the decade. I’m confident in my beauty make-up, but my confidence means nothing if the people that hired me aren’t confident.  So that was the big concern. I like to do natural look. I don’t like to do glamour or high fashion. It really pushed me personally and professionally to go outside my comfort zone and boundaries. While I never had to do high fashion make-up, I did have to do high-end make-ups.

MUD: How much pressure was there on “Desperate Housewives” to make sure everyone looked amazing?
Alex: There wasn’t that much pressure because all of the pressure on the make-up was being directed to the five girls. As long as they were flawless, everyone else was okay. (Not that I could slack off!) Yes, I was there for two seasons, but at no point in time did I ever think I was safe. Because of that, I continued to be on top of my game. I’d always think, “Okay this will keep me on the show or I’ll get fired.”  That was every day.

I never thought I would be on that show. It was the kindness of Eva and my abilities as a make-up artist that allowed that to happen. Every aspect of the show was magical.

MUD: Talk about working on “Fear the Walking Dead.”
Alex: Again, it’s magical to be a part of the Walking Dead family. It can be difficult, but it’s like I asked my dad, “Was it hard to get that good?” He said, “It took work, but it was it hard? No, because I love it.” Is it tedious? Yes!  You can be in the trailer for five hours doing make-ups with nothing but airbrush or prosthetics and airbrush.

MUD: Do you prefer to work in TV or film?
Alex: I prefer working on either film or television. I like film because you are able to establish a family, a bond and it’s almost like summer camp. Whereas TV, you still have families and bonds but it’s more like a school year. I’ve never department headed a TV show so I don’t know what that’s like. I know plenty that have and they enjoy it. It’s a steady paycheck and they love what they do.

MUD: What is your favorite make-up you’ve ever done?
Alex: There’s three favorite make-ups. What I’m working on now, which is “Fear the Walking Dead” because that’s a dream come true for me. My favorite project was “Desperate Housewives” because that’s an amazing experience with amazing people. It was an incredibly well-oiled machine. And lastly, “Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles” because that fulfilled a bucket list in the sense that I always wanted to work on a Terminator Series.

MUD: What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Alex: My uncle had the best advice. “Don’t ever consider a long term relationship with someone you wouldn’t consider being a business partner with. If you trust them with your business, you can trust them with your heart.” If I can’t trust someone personally, then I can’t trust someone professionally. If I can’t trust them professionally, I sure don’t trust them personally. Nobody can accuse me of being a liar, cheater or thief. Honesty is so important to me because I want people to be honest with me. If I do something wrong, tell me. But if you don’t tell me, I don’t know how it’s gone wrong.

I do believe that you get what you deserve. Every decision you’ve ever made in your entire life has led you to be where you are right now. It’s decision making. That’s one of the truths that people don’t really like to hear especially when they fall on hard times. Look, I‘ve been on hard times, guess what? I caused it! Every decision I made.

There’s no point in looking back and saying “What if?” What you do now from this moment forward will affect the rest of your life. Every decision you make now affects every other decision. So make the right decision.

MUD: Where would you want the career to go next?
Alex: Oh god, to walk on stage at the Kodak Theater.  I would like to do a war epic. I’d like to something like “Saving Private Ryan” or the Iraq war. I like doing dirt and blood and bringing light to situations if it helps the troops. I may not support why we’re doing what we’re doing, but I sure support the people doing it.

MUD Talks: Ray Shaffer

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When you ask anyone about Ray Shaffer, industry professional or student alike, they will tell you that he is the kindest, most genuine, and hard-working man they know. He is the gentleman of this profession. His road to make-up wasn’t a direct course, but that’s what has made him an excellent artist and a phenomenal teacher.

MUD: What was growing up like? And what led you to make-up?
Ray: I was born at the Submarine Base in Groton, CT. My Dad was in the Navy at the time and worked on nuclear submarines. Part of my childhood was very residential, and part of it was moving around a lot because I was part of a navy and a coast guard family.

I first got interested in make-up when I was very, very young. My mom was and still is a nurse. She’s been a trauma nurse for about 54 years, and she’s finally going to retire this spring. She used to work the 3-11pm shift at St. Vincent’s Hospital. She would get off work around midnight or so, and come home to get me out of bed to watch Mission Impossible reruns together. There were lots of disguises in the show and my head just smoked at the idea that people could be different people. My dad wasn’t into monster movies, but when I was 5 or 6 he would stay up with me to watch the Creature Feature at night. That was really cool because he’s a very down to earth guy and monsters really weren’t his thing.

MUD: What was your first introduction to make-up?
Ray: I remember when I was 12 or so, Dick Smith had a Monster Make-up Kit that you could buy at toy stores. I was saving up from my paper route to buy it, and I would go into KB Toy Store and look at it longingly. My birthday is in October and I was hoping to have it in time for Halloween, but I knew I was going to be a few bucks short. Well, on my birthday, my grandparents came over. My Grandpa drove a big green Chrysler and I was feeling bummed when he called me over to it. He pulled out a box and he had bought me the Dick Smith Make-up Kit!

Basically, the kit was vacuform molds and you made your own appliances out of gelatin (Dick called it flesh flags). He was looking for something easy to use and relatively non-toxic, which it was. The whole heating it up thing was a little weird. You probably couldn’t get away with that now. But the first make-ups or appliances I did were out of the Dick Smith Kit. Later on, I found “Stage Make-up” by Richard Corson in the library and that put me up on a different level.

I remember the first appliance make-up I ever tried to do on my own was a Rocky Balboa make-up. I was 14 or 15 trying to recreate the boxer damage makeup. I remember being very happy with it at the time. I lost the pictures, but I’m very glad because it was probably awful. It was a lot of fun. Later, I remember what a thrill it was to meet Mike Westmore when he came out to MUD to talk. He had been the make-up artist on the first few Rocky movies, and on First Blood and Raging Bull, and all these cool films, plus Star Trek. It was really cool!

MUD: How did you turn your interest in make-up into a career?
Ray: I started out wanting to act. I’d always loved make-up, but being from the east coast, I may as well have being talking about being a rocket scientist or being a ping pong player in China. I didn’t understand enough about the field to figure out how to make that happen. Because I wanted to act, I used make-up to augment my range as an actor. I’m a pretty unique looking guy, so unless I just wanted to wave a steak knife, or be the guy yelling, “die, grandma die!”, I needed a little help to make me believable as other characters.

In the course of working in theater in college, I was working on a type of play called a reconstruction. It’s where you take a classic text and rearrange it. It’s usually experimental theater. My college did Hamlet, and my roommate was playing Hamlet’s Father. Our director had the idea to make him a Viking Chieftain. And what do they do when a they die? They’re put in a funeral pyre. So we needed to have this crispy critter corpse kind of guy. A role like that is an awful lot for a 20 year old actor to wrap his head around. He tried different things, but wasn’t happy with what he was doing. So I built the mask for him.

I remember him putting it on and staring in the mirror and being very, very quiet about it. When you see your face burnt down to the skull, the whole idea of how much you’ve been violated hits you. That night at rehearsal, he was a whole different cat! I remember him walking off the stage and hugging me. I was so emotionally overwhelmed by that — it was probably at the point I jumped ship. I felt I was doing better work influencing other performers than I was enjoying acting myself.

MUD: How was your career starting to take shape at that point?
Ray: I sort of divide my career into East Coast and West Coast. My first prosthetic makeup job ever was in a theater in Massachusetts. I remember they thought I could age a whole cast for $50. And I did it! I ended up having to augment it with cotton and latex.

My first job on the west coast was for Rob Burman. It’s funny because it just got released! Andrew Getty, who was the grandson of John Paul Getty, was a sort of auteur. He wanted to be a film director. He had some very nightmarish visions and he tried to write a narrative around it. Basically, he picked away at this film for a long time. He would shoot it a little bit, then he would get upset and stop, then he’d start again with a different crew…and so on and so forth. He passed about 2 years ago or so and his estate had the work completed since he was in post-production, and just released it on DVD and Video on Demand. It’s called “The Evil Within.” There was some creepy stuff in there. There was a spider that was stitched together from human body parts. Lots of practical gags and lots of in-camera tricks, things with perspective. I’m not sure if there was any CG at all. But that was my first film. That was also my first job for Rob Burman.

MUD: When did the transition to teaching begin?
Ray: I came out to the west coast in the summer of 2000 and I worked intermittently then continually was a make-up artist, but primarily as a lab technician. That means I made molds, I did hair work, I did castings, sometimes when the sun shone in the right direction, I even sculpted. I did that for 10 years. In the late 2000s, a lot of things really depressed the film industry. SAG went on strike, and then the WGA went on strike. And then the banks crashed, and I navigated that as best I could but nobody was working.

I had to look for another opportunity. Also around this time my mother started getting sick. Mom is a tank so I knew if something was wrong with mom, then I wanted to be there. So I went back to the east coast to try to be of use to my family. In the course of wanting to stay busy, I was going through Craigslist, and there was an ad that the MUD NY was looking for instructors. At the time I didn’t even know MUD had a campus in NY! So I contacted them.

I know that I’m a patient guy, and I hoped that I’d be descent at teaching. I was surprised by how much I loved it! There was an adjustment. It’s challenging to take 20 people who are all at different motivation levels, ability levels and artistic levels and to guide them as a unit through things they sometimes don’t believe they can do. So there is a learning curve. What started out as something I wanted to try, turned out to be something I love very, very much. I think of friends back home who are knocking rust off of boats and making t-shirts and working in fast food stores, and I’ve got the best job on planet earth.

MUD: With having a career sculpting, molding, applying, and painting, what part of the process is your favorite?
Ray: What do I love doing? I love sculpture and molding. What is it that I love about make-up? I just love the whole idea that we can make things that never existed before, that you can sit down with a motivated actor, and a little artistic vision and hard work, and combine it with a bag of cement and a block of wax clay and turn it into people, and species, and creatures that the world has never seen before. It’s so creative and only limited by your skill set and your imagination. And there’s not a lot of that left in the world anymore. Everything is prepackaged. For us to be able to make something that is so unique and individual in this world is something else.

MUD: What has changed about the industry from your perspective?
Ray: I think computers have become a bigger part of it, but even that is cyclic. Now, there’s a big push back. I think make-up and computers are both awesome tools, provided they are used appropriately for their strengths. If I use a hammer to hammer a nail, it’s a wonderful tool. If I use a hammer to saw a table in half, it’s sort of a mess.

When all of the changes started happening was when Avatar came out. That scared the begezus out of all of us. There had been fun CG characters for some time, but Avatar was the first instance where a director could look through the viewfinder on the camera and in front of him were people in motion capture suits. In real time, he was seeing blue kitty people in the jungle. Basically when everyone saw that it was a huge hit, it freaked everyone in the industry out. Everyone making films at the time stopped and went into turn around mode. They wanted to evaluate this new option, and there was only one studio in the world that was doing work that good, WETA. Other studios caught up, but it took a while and in the meantime, nobody was working.

There was a time when every action or adventure film you saw was just filled with lots of cartoons. Then, there was almost a backlash against it. People were tired of watching confused looking actors standing around monsters that clearly aren’t there. The Star Wars prequels are a great example. People standing around in a green room looking confused. I think people missed what make-up brought to performances, like the physical space that they fill on screen. There’s a real tangible quality to them. If you look at the cast of Phantom Menace, they are clearly great actors but you look at how they struggled in that movie. Then you look at a movie like Alien, you have Sigourney Weaver in a real space with a guy in costume in a smoky alley with drool dribbling on her — that affects your performance.

Great make-ups in your presence effect your performance. All of a sudden, you feel like you’re in the presence of an alien, or a senator from another planet. That effects actors in a way that someone standing and talking to a mark on the wall does not. They’re effective in a way that CG often is not. It’s nice to see it come back. I think everything runs in cycles. In some ways, opportunities have declined, and in other ways they have not. There are far more people making movies these days — whether it’s a YouTube movie, Netflix, a feature, or a low-budget thing. In some ways, there seems to be more work!

MUD: What does the future hold?
Ray: I would be happy teaching as long as MUD is happy having me. I would be happy sculpting and creating make-ups. I’m getting better and look forward to continue to get better all the time. There are things I think are good or bad, but there’s always improvement that can be made.

MUD: What advice for make-up artists do you want to share?
Ray: Work hard and don’t quit. I know that sounds like such a stereotype. A lot of these pieces of advice you hear so often tend to lose their meaning, but I’ve seen wonderfully talented people not succeed when they only need to try a little built harder and not quit. A lot of time common sense and a work ethic are super powers. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it.

If I have no other gift, I hope as teacher, I have a gift to help someone who’s straight out of high school, or wherever they are in life, believe that they can get through a sculpture. And then they can get through fiberglass. And if you keep on trying, doors will open. All luck is your preparation meeting the right opportunity. So, don’t quit, and believe you can do it. The whole idea of being able to make something from nothing is very empowering. Rob Burman used to say, “once you learn you can make stuff, you’re never the same again.”