Friday, June 2, 2023

From the Archives: No Face - Angel Season 5

I am honestly surprised that after twenty years, I still have not officially shared this piece. It is from my time in the film industry working in Los Angeles. While this piece has been a part of my makeup effects gallery for a long time, I have never discussed it or shared process images. There were several other makeups that we did at the same time as this one, but this was the one I designed and painted. From the archives, I present to you from season 5 of Angel, episode 4, the ghost, "No Face."

Before I go too far, I must remind everyone that this work is a collaboration of many talented artists and technicians. I was one of many that brought this thing to life. This time, I was the designer and painted the final makeup appliance. After twenty years, I only still possess a couple of the names of the others involved with this work. Therefore I am unable to properly give credit to the others involved. Sorry, but people's names were the first to go after I left LA. 

I do not believe I have watched this particular episode, so I am not sure the context of the ghost we worked on and how they related to the episode. I am not even sure how long they are in or if they are even in the episode. So goes the realities of working in the entertainment industry. All I know is that I made (as far as I remember) three ghost makeups. One was made from recycled makeup appliances, one had a small appliance made (a shard of glass into an eye), and this one was a completely new makeup and prosthetic arm with hand. I was likely given about three minutes to design this thing, so I was able to get a total of two designs made. They picked the second, but I am getting ahead of myself. Here are some set and shop images for the work done on the "No Face" ghost.

We were all aware of the movie Spirited Away, which made the naming of this ghost "No Face" all the more of an issue. But here we are all the same twenty years later. This is "No Face" on set in all his glory. All things considered, it really turned out well, and I still proudly display it as an example of the work I could do at the time.

 This was the first design I did for "No Face."
I likely had little time to work on these, and people at the shop had already bound my hands and would force me to use photographs we didn't have usage right for as the starting point of my designs. It is a good thing they never made an 'Art of Angel' book and used any of these because a lot of people would have gotten into a lot of trouble. Knowing myself, this first one was just getting out of the bad ideas.

This is the second and final design that I did for "No Face."
This was deemed the Micheal Jackson design, and those that named it as such had themselves a long giggle. Needless to say, this was the one they picked. But I have no idea what, if anything, was sent to production for approval. Sometimes they didn't care and would just take what we made. Other times, they would nitpick our work into the ground. They may have only ever seen this second design and were told that this was what we were making.

Two different angles of the "No Face" sculpture. I wish I could remember who was responsible for this work, but that is long gone knowledge for me. I still like it a lot, but it was a rush, like so, soooo, SOOOOO much of the work we did.

Now that "No Face" was designed, sculpted, molded, and cast in foal latex, it was time to paint it. Painting the makeup was often an enjoyable time. I felt a lot more competent while wielding an airbrush and paint than I did while designing. I am not sure I would know my way around an airbrush these days, but I do miss having one.

Several more angles of the "No Face" appliance. We coated the teeth in resin to make them rigid, and so they have the right look to them. The gums and the juicier lacerations were coasted in an acrylic gloss we could paint with. It was common for the on-set union makeup artist to go off script and repaint an appliance, or at least make HEAVY changes to them, without consult or approval. This would come back to us at the shop even though we had nothing to do with it. Thankfully, this one was nearly untouched, and you can see my paintwork in the final photos from set.
Lastly, here is another image from set and the cut away prosthetic hand and arm. When the fingers are removed with a knife, blood would flow out of the stumps. All low-tech on-set effects, but they get the job done. I was not on set for this one, but I assumed it all went according to plan.

That is all for another exciting week on the blog. See you back here on Monday! Until then...

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