Home
 
Hallway
Features
Message Board
Artists
Gallery
Industry Interviews
Shop Talk
Reviews
Collections
Hall of Fame
Archives
Drawings
Paint a mask
Swap & Shop
Superbowl
Collector's Gold
Ramblings
Links
Policies
 

   
       
       
   
Page 1

 

LMC: What has been your favorite wax model you’ve created?

HA: There really is no “one” favorite, but I’ll mention a few I got real pleasure from. There was a Bela Lugosi Dracula, that I did for Hell House, which is now part of the Spooky World Operation in . A model of Jack Nicholson as portrayed from the Film, “The Shining” and the most recent piece of Charlie Chaplin.

 

LMC: What is the biggest challenge in creating a wax model?

HA Obtaining a good sculptural likeness!

LMC: What other artist do you admire and why?

HA Jo Davidson…..tremendous ability  for creating likenesses, his stylistic realism, and

The way he seemed to capture his subjects personality. You know the way the American Indians feared that photographs captured part of their soul? I think he capture their personalities in the same manner only in sculpture. This is my goal, in my sculptures.

Malvina Hoffman……Also a strong force in the sculpting arena. For the time period she produced in, much in the same way as Katherine Stubergh did, they both did a great amount of work and in Malvina’s case, she also provided a lot of instructional information in two highly sought after books. Her style of sculpting was and is, very inspirational.

Gutzon Borglum…….Have you ever read a book on his life, titled, “Six Wars At A Time”? Amazing, and the amount of work is astounding! Even though I have not produced as much work as he, there is a kind of bonding, knowing that all artists go through similar trials.

 

Felix De Weldon……Again, an amazing talent, the only sculptor to have a major memorial on every continent of the world. The size of the Iwo Jimo Memorial , the amount of work he has created and the individuals that have actually “sat” for him. He is an inspiration and it was an honor to have him visit my studio, to view my work.

Dick Smith……An excellent artist and human being. He is one of the few, truly great make-up effects innovators of the film industry. His work inspires hundreds of artists

And he truly “Paved The Way” for  individuals like Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, and the many, many make-up effect artists in the film industry, in this country as well as many other countries. Aside from his film work, Dick creates personal portraiture of which I enjoy

a new found means of communication with him. Actually, that is what drove me to write to him many years ago. It too, was a great moment, to have him step into my studio for a visit. I think young people today, don’t fully appreciate the fact that they are in the presence of a huge historical moment, when they meet a person like Dick Smith.

 

LMC: What are some of your favorite pieces of art created by other artists?           

HA: The wax figures of Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flynn by Katherine Stubergh.

Wax figures by Pierre Imans out of France.

Wax figures by the “Newer” core of Sculptors for Madame Tussauds, of England.

Bronze sculptures by the previously mentioned sculptors.

The early Don Post masks, quite a few out the studio of Jeff Keims, Steve Wang’s work,

Don Lanning’s “Chaney Wolfman”, A few of Jordu Schell’s pieces and a host of others, too many to name individually.

LMC: Are there any artists in any medium that inspire you today?

HA: Rick Baker continues to light a fire when I see his work and the young man, Kazu, he has working for him, that kid is amazing in his abilities.

LMC: Talk about your work in the motion picture industry? What movies have you worked on and what FX/creature work?

HA:  Well, first, how about I tell you how I got into the business? When I was foreman for Stubergh Studios, a young man came to work for Katherine, He was fresh out of high school and loved wax models. He had previously worked a summer for the Stuberghs as a “go for” when he was sixteen. Anyway, he worked under my supervision  for about a year and then move on. Some years later, he turned up working with Rick Baker and Rob Bottin. It was in the early eighties that I hooked up with him again. Rob Bottin wanted David to sculpt some pieces for the film, “The Thing”. David did not want to work out of Rob’s studio, so he rented space from me. Rob came down to see his progress and saw my work.

He immediately asked Dave to ask me “If I wanted to sculpt for him”. Well, Dave, as he admitted later, did not want to lose the work, so he held off for two weeks. I finally met Rob one evening and he ended up buying a huge wax model of  the Frankenstein monster from me and enlisting my talents as a sculptor. I “worked Under the Table” as they had a union for sculptors and if you were not in, you could not work on the film.  The first piece of film work I did, was the head of the “Blair Monster”, which is the last creature effect in the film.

First I took a clay pull of Wilford Brimley and opened the eyes and lifted the facial forms so he would not look dead. A mould was made over that and then I roughed out the deformed head with the gaping mouth and then worked with Rob to finish out the piece according to his likes.

Rob pulled strings to get me into the union and I then worked 13 years as his sculptural designer and lead sculptor.  At first, I was just lead sculptor, but later became sculptural designer, hiring artists,  Studio management and art direction. Basically Rob relied a lot on my whole experience as an artist, sculptor, and business person.

I worked very closely with Rob, helping to design and create the high quality imagery he required. The majority of my film work was done with Rob’s  Studio.

I‘ve worked on: “The Thing”,   “Twilight Zone: The Movie”,  “Explorers”,    “Legend”     All three “ROBOCOP”  films,  “Total Recall“,  “Witches of Eastwick“,     “Inner Space“,       “Bugsy”     “Basic Instinct”    “Wilder Napalm”, a segment of the TV Series “Amazing Stories” and a superbowl commercial that starred Michael J. Fox.

I have also worked on a few others;  North, Super Mario Brothers and the re-make of “Psycho”.

Explorers was fun, creating the cartoon like aliens, and creating the “Darkness” character was a real challenge. Before Rob even got the job, we spent weeks trying to draw the image from Ridley’s description. He had to have a head like a hammer head shark, huge horns,  and definitely were given the image of Disney’s Chernabog from Fantasia for reference. Well, Rob and I are not great at drawing, so after awhile, stopped, momentarily stumped.

Darkness did not come again until we had created the images of Brown Tom and  Screwball, the characters for Cort Hubbert and Billy Barty.  Rob was going off to England to do the first make-up tests on those characters. He charged me with putting a team of sculptors together to try out different verbal ideas on Darkness. Bull’s horns on this one, goat horns on that one, big ears, long nose, pointed chin, etc. So while he was away we came up with a dozen or so different versions.

Rob comes back, we hear the great stories of his success on the make-up tests and then it’s down to business.. ”What about the Darkness Sculpt” ?? we proceed to unveil each piece and got some interested responses, but mostly “Been there, Done that”.

Rob goes” What are we gonna do?,” Ridley’s coming to town in two weeks and what are we gonna show him?  I was thinking, hey we got some good pieces here, but they were kind of the standard Devil images. Rob was not in a mood for any of those! He turns to me and says, Have you been working on anything?  (meaning Darkness). I say, yeah, sorta. He says, lets see it, so we go into my office and I unveil the piece. He stands there, looking at it for the longest time, not saying a word. He pulls the stool over and sits down, He rotates the piece several times and finally says, “I think we got something here“. So, between Rob and I, we tried adding different forms, nothing permanent, until we both liked it. I had always photographed my work with black and white Polaroid film to see how it looked through the camera and Rob acquired that method. We shot the Darkness piece using different lighting and then he took the picture and had Miles Teves do a drawing to  enhance the forms, under his direction. Miles did a lot of drawings and we tried different aspects that he drew up. Some worked and we used them. Darkness was a great collobration under Rob‘s direction and there were a lot of other sculptors and artist’s involved to bring that image to the screen. It took the great acting talent of Tim Curry to bring it to life.

RoboCop was another great challenge and Rob had a fantastic imagination to come up with the make-up idea on that one. Again, I was given the challenge, and after Rob laid out his idea, we were so excited, it took half a day, for me to break loose from Rob and get my hands into the clay. A great challenge and it too worked out pretty well. I could go on about the creative process and working with Rob, but that, maybe some day, will be a chapter in a future book.

I knew nothing about the process of creating make-up effects, but it was new and challenging and I was up for the experience.

 

LMC: Do you enjoy working on motion pictures?

HA: Well, to be truthful, not now. I have my own goals and while I enjoyed working on motion picture effects, I basically burned out after 13 years.  I did return for a short visit, to work  on Super Mario Brothers and the re-make of Psycho. My work was not included in the film, it was edited out. It was the same old thing, the time constraints, the days went by too fast, I had my business going on at the same time, and was burning candles at both ends. Plus, I had always spoke to Rob about my intentions of doing work in bronze and tried to get him interested, but his love was and is,  in “films”, while mine is in Wax Models and Bronze portraiture. (I do get side tracked as I really enjoy the art of latex masks too).

Page 3

 
 
 
 
 
 
   
   
Mark It
 

 

Let Henry know what you thought of his interview.  At the end you can leave him some comments or click the doggie to go leave your mark now.