FACE OFF/JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes
Last week, Syfy’s Face Off Awarded top prize of the night to makeup artist Anthony Kosar for his design of The Infernal Core, a character being brought to life in this week’s Justice League Dark #16. What follows is an exclusive interview with Kosar.
On his website, kosarteffects.com, the artist muses of himself, “Twisted somewhere between the then and now, visions have plagued me. Art is my only antidote.”
Well, Anthony Kosar has been working it out as a competitor on season four of Syfy’s Face Off, which the network describes as “a competition /elimination series exploring the world of special-effects make-up artists and the unlimited imagination that allows them to create amazing works of living art.”
The contestants are tasked with elaborate feature challenges including executing full body paint make up on models. Challenges incorporate effects make-up, and include a wide range of skill sets including prosthetics, 3-D design, sculpting, eye enhancers, casting and molding. Each episode involves incredible reveals of the contestants' finished work, and the drama of one contestant being sent home by the panel of expert and celebrity judges.
Determining who is victorious is three-time Academy Award winner Ve Neill (Pirates of the Caribbean, Edward Scissorhands) and Hollywood veterans Glenn Hetrick (Heroes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files). Joining the series as the new judge is Neville Page, Lead Creature Designer on Avatar, and Character Designer on Ridley Scott's Prometheus. Actress McKenzie Westmore hosts the series, bringing a rich history to her role as part of the Westmore family, whose name is synonymous with the makeup effects field. Indeed, her father, Star Trek veteran Michael Westmore, is consulting with contestants this season.
On last week’s episode, DC’s Dan DiDio and Jim Lee were the ones offering up the undoubtedly stress-inducing challenge that saw a character having to be created in only two days.
“So far,” laughs Kosar, “it’s one of the most fun and challenging experiences of my life. I’ve never had to work that hard – especially on last week’s episode, molding all of those pieces. But Face Off is a really great opportunity to connect with other artists that share your same passion, no matter what background they come from. And it’s also very humbling to be judged by artists that you respect so much.
“On a show like Face Off,” he continues, it does force you to do things that you never thought you were actually capable of within those time constraints. The time frames are ridiculous and in that episode I had six pieces I had to mold that might have taken me a few days to mold on my own, but on the show I had to create on day two, so it was all in one day.”
The fact that the winner’s design would be featured in Justice League Dark, he notes, just amped up the pressure. “Everybody is such a fan of comics and movies, and when it mixes both it’s awesome,” he enthuses. “Most of us grew up on different superheroes. My favorites were always Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so having an opportunity to have a character in a DC comic is something I know I’ve always dreamed about growing up. Also, outside of Face Off, I’m an illustrator and have done some work for the comic book industry, mostly independent comics, and won some awards with my illustrations, but never made it into Marvel or DC. So it’s really cool that in a roundabout way I was still able to get my work into DC Comics.”
He feared it wouldn’t happen at all when the chest pieces he had designed for his character – who is described as a being born of lava and intent on protecting nature – actually broke and he was forced to compromise with what he calls “shoulder pads and a garbage bag.”
Michael Westmore explains of that particular challenge, “The artists were told by DC Comics that superheroes reflect in their image bright colors like red, blue and yellow. I was surprised that none of them took the hint, but went for a dark colored pallet. With Anthony, something went terribly wrong when he tried to close and open his torso molds, so his latex torso had to be scuttled. His hero’s head design was expertly sculpted, applied and painted. When mentoring Anthony, I told him the painting of molten lava inside the cracks would be important and he succeeded. His hero’s completed head more than compensated for the missing latex torso and shot him to the head of the class.”
Points out McKenzie Westmore, “Looking back, when my dad and I did our walk thru, we could see there was promise with Anthony’s sculpt, but not to the degree of his finished character. The face turned out so superhero and he is our first contestant to successfully create a well done ‘lava’ makeup.”
In reflecting on the overall experience of that episode, Kosar observes, “Superheroes are not as easy as people might think, just because most superheroes are portrayed in the movies by good looking men and women wearing masks, capes and costumes, and the makeup is usually more for a villain. To come up with something that can incorporate costume, makeup and sculpting was definitely a challenge. Luckily I dodged a bullet by winning the challenge, but sometimes you never know when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew in a time frame and you have to resort to Plan B. Luckily Plan B worked out.”
Face Off airs Tuesday nights at 9 on Syfy
And this weekend look for our exclusive interviews with both McKenzie and Michael Westmore
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