Meet the 5 SFX Makeup Artists bringing creative fantasies to life
Special effects makeup artists have the remarkable ability to bring the unimaginable to life. Using makeup as a transformative tool, they can create captivating illusions that allow viewers to explore a vast landscape of visuals, emotions, and characters. At its core, special effects makeup is an art form that allows us to express ourselves and showcase our creativity in a tangible way. Whether it is making an actor look older, younger, more beautiful, or more horrific—there are limitless possibilities for transformation that offer the boundless potential for exploration.
Special effects makeup artists use an array of tools from wax and prosthetics to pigments and dyes to give life to their fantastic creations. Each artist has their own signature style, from the colorful to the grotesque, and each technique is truly astounding in its own right. Even the most mundane characters come to life with the help of special effects makeup. The subtle details that come with aging an actor’s face, simulating bruises, or changing the texture of the skin, are just a few examples of what these makeup artists are capable of creating.
What makes special effects makeup so unique is the fact that it allows us to explore realms that we never imagined possible. By immersing us in a world of make-believe, these artists allow us to experiment with our vision, thoughts, and ideas and transform it into something that we can see, feel, and experience. The power of special effects makeup really lies in its ability to showcase the beauty and potential of human creativity. With the help of these master makeup artists, we are able to expand the boundaries of our imagination and let the imagination of others shine through.
In this article, we’ll be shining a spotlight on five outstanding SFX makeup artists who caught our attention and whose artistry pushes the boundaries of imagination. By showcasing the beauty of SFX makeup, we are reminded that behind every peculiar creation lies a profound showcase of art, determination, and limitless potential.
1. Crista Llewelyn
Crista Llewellyn is a special effects makeup artist based out of Los Angeles, CA. She got her start in special effects in high school when she learned how to create cotton and latex wounds for the play ‘Bury the Dead.’ She fell in love and the rest is history. After high school, she went to San Francisco State University where she got her BA in Technical Theatre and Design with a focus on Costume design, in 2012. In 2014 she graduated from The Blush School of Makeup in San Francisco with a certificate in master makeup artistry. Shortly after, she returned to Los Angeles to work as a freelance artist.
Crista currently focuses on set work, working freelance for independent films and new media. While her work ranges from Beauty Makeup to SFX Makeup: her strengths lie in natural makeup, character makeup, body painting, and prosthetics. From 2019-2021 she taught at Cinema Makeup School as a prosthetic makeup instructor.
Some of her most notable works include: ‘V/H/S/99’, ‘The Book of Queer’, ‘Searching’, ‘In Full Bloom’, ‘House of Demons’, and ‘7 Minutes in Hell’.
2. Madeleine Stewart
Madeleine is a Melbourne-based, fully qualified Makeup & SPFX artist and hair stylist. She has studied at The Australian Academy of Cinemagraphic Makeup and trained with/assisted pro artists.
The artist- Since studying I have been working across the industry in editorial, fashion, bridal, music videos, commercials, and film. I pride myself on being an inclusive artist, that provides a safe, exciting, and collaborative service for all. I believe that makeup is a way to express and explore yourself in any way you want!
3. Ashley Aldridge
Ashley is a beauty and special effects makeup artist based out of Los Angeles. Ashley has achieved high levels of success in her field, having worked on feature films, television, commercials, music video, events, and special effects labs.
Her feature film credits include working as the Makeup Department Head on films such as “Marry Me in Yosemite” (2022), “The Activated Man” (2022), “When I’m Ready” (2022), “Garlic Parmesan” (2022), “Alien Planet” (2022), and “Xanadu Hellfire” (2022). She also worked as the Special Effects Makeup Artist on “Garlic Parmesan” (2022), and as the Key Creature FX Artist on “Bunker” (2021).
In television, Ashley has worked on productions such as “Kimchi” (2022), “The Menendez Brothers” (2022), “Taste of the NFL” (2022), “Helter Skelter: An American Myth” (2020), “TRICK OR EAT” (2019), “Binged” (2019), “Megadalon: 4 Years Later (2018).
4. Shannon Pitts
Shannon Pitts is a talented and experienced artist from the USA. She has extensive experience in the film, television, and music video industry, having worked on over 20 feature films and TV series including “The Nanny Is Watching,” “Mama’s Boy,” “Legacies,” “The Walking Dead,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy V.3.” She has also had experience with lab work, editorial and haunt makeup, and is skilled in airbrush makeup, corrective makeup, hair styling, lash extensions, bridal makeup, facial hair application, period makeup, men’s grooming, prosthetic application, beauty makeup, character makeup, injury simulation, molding, sculpting, foam running and seaming.
Shannon has a diploma from Cinema Makeup School and a certification from LA Lash Academy. She is currently seeking new creative opportunities in TV and film and is available for hire.
5. Chiara Odwyer
Chiara is a talented SFX makeup artist and a Senior Body Piercer. She has won ‘Best SFX Makeup artist’ for Ireland 2023 and Best Creative Makeup Artist for the South at The Irish Makeup Awards.
To explore more about the artist: Instagram.