Tuesday, October 16, 2007

October Shadows

When I was about 14 I liked watching Jane Goodall documentaries, horror movies, and playing with clay. Add those things together and you get Rick Baker, the special effects make-up artist that created the chimps for Greystoke and later the apes for Mighty Joe Young and Planet of the Apes. At that point I wanted to be Rick Baker when I grew up. In high school, I sculpted the near life-size chimp head you see here. (No laughing, please.) I still have my old copy of In the Shadow of Man that I read and used for reference covered in clay finger prints.

Fast forward twenty+ years and I had long ago let a fascination for painting and design take over paying attention to the movie industry...So imagine my delight to suddenly find myself hanging out in Rick Baker’s studio at a Halloween party and art exhibit.

Freakin’ awesome!

I was there with Greg Manchess who had been asked by curator Taylor White to be part of the exhibit , October Shadows -- everything and anything Halloween themed. Paintings, masks, automated sculpture, concept art, children’s books, even a haunted doll house that looked like it was a total blast to put together. The work was great... it had to be to hold its own in the studio. The ground floor had been cleared out and decked out with graveyards, skeletons, ghosts, giant bats, you name it. The architecture of the studio, itself, has an extremely cool flying-monkey theme.

Up the stairs, people were given tours through Baker’s private museum of movie characters. No photographs were allowed, unfortunately. The first thing I saw was a humongous “life size” Mighty Joe Young. Two of them, in fact. Various aliens from Men in Black, apes from Planet of the Apes, the Grinch, and others. Most exciting for me, since I loved the movie as a kid, was two of the werewolf transformations from American Werewolf in London.

Again, I say, freakin’ awesome!

I didn't know many people there but I had a great time talking with Jeff Preston, who graciously introduced us around a bit. It was also nice to catch up with William Stout -- we had judged Spectrum together years ago. He’s finishing up a series of dinosaur murals at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Greg's exhibited "Something Wicked" painting.

My high school chimp sculpture. (Remember, no laughing.)

Greg Manchess at the party

Jeff Preston, William Stout, and me.
Bill Nelson's "Trick or Treat", random ghost.

Inside and outside the party.

One of many Flying Monkey architectural details, Jon Foster's Trick or Treat.


Tracy Flynn Art said...

Frickin Awesome!!!!!!

You got one of THE coolest jobs in da world.

Tracy...who wanted to be Tom Savini for awhile.

Irene Gallo said...

Savini is cool too...but the apes always drew me back to Baker.

Anonymous said...

This is SO great for you. I confess, I wanted to be Rick Baker, too...and Stan Winston.


Anyway, I am WAY jealous. (grin)

Carl V. Anderson said...

"everything and anything Halloween themed"...I would be in Heaven!

munkholt said...

Awesome. Frickin', even. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Greg wasn't just being nice when he was bragging about your sculpture...and that's in high school???

I think it's time to start slapping clay again, you're setting on a bunch of untapped talent Irene.
Plus with the inspiration from Rick's studio (and the rest of the brilliant pieces that were in the show) you could create something very nice for next years show!!!

Yes I've thrown the gauntlet down! ; )

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