While growing up in Queens, Anthony Pepe discovered his passion for drawing and illustrating at a young age. He attended Pratt Institute for film animation and illustration. During his first semester he had a change of heart and decided to change vocations. In 1995, he attended the Joe Blasco Makeup Center in Orlando, FL. When he moved back to New York City, he immediately landed a gig working on independent films. He then began building his special FX makeup studio in his grandmother’s defunct garage, which has now been open for 15 years. Anthony finds unusual inspiration to incorporate into his different characters – craft service, carpentry, plumbing and chemistry. A big fan of horror and comedies as well as anything from the '80s, Anthony uses his characteristic background to deliver glamour, characters, injuries, blood and guts, monsters, animatronics, and prosthetics for the entertainment industry. Anthony is outgoing, likes to take charge and be thoroughly involved, and can sometimes be extremely honest.
Tate Steinsiek was born in a small farming community near Tulsa, Oklahoma. With an artist mother and a boxer father, he was torn between two worlds and developed a bit of a split personality -- “Tate,” who was encouraged to express his ideas and feelings through art, and “Bubba,” a lean mean fighting machine who was trained as a competitive fighter. As a child, while unsuspectingly watching Rick Baker’s special feature on Thriller and American Werewolf in London, Tate found a new calling in Special FX Makeup. Tate moved to New York City in 2002 to start his own Special FX Company. In 2003, his company, Ill Willed Productions, began providing SFX Makeup prosthetic application and prop fabrication to a client roster including The Jim Henson Company, DreamWorks, NBC, HBO, Xbox and more. In 2006, Tate was featured on the Reality Series Making it Big and won the competition in the FX Challenge episode.
Born in Vancouver, Canada, Conor McCullagh moved frequently as a child, living in South Africa for a time. At age 16, during a high school ceramics class, Conor discovered Fangoria magazine, and realized he could make more than clay pots and vases—he could make 3D monsters. He taught himself to make a mold, and the rest is history. He spent 14 years in Los Angeles, working for theme parks and apprenticing under John Caglione Jr., the Academy Award winning makeup artist for Dick Tracy. Conor eventually made his way into feature films and television. Conor has worked on the series The Vampire Diaries, and currently he teaches full time at Joe Blasco Makeup School.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Frank Ippolito was the nerdy kid who hung out in the basement and made monsters, inspiring his true calling in special effects artistry. He worked on a number of small independent films in the midwest and ten years ago made the move to Los Angeles. Since then he’s worked on a number of film and TV projects including Pirates of The Caribbean. Currently he is collaborating with Danny DeVito on a number of horror film shorts. Frank says his big mouth can sometimes get him into trouble, and he likes to throw people off balance to psyche out his competition. Industry politics can sometimes get the best of Frank, and he is eager to take his FX career to the next level.
A gifted make-up artist, Gage (“Munster”) Hubbard became terrified of Freddy Kruger after watching A Nightmare on Elm Street at just six years old while living in rural Utah. In order for him to not be afraid of Freddy, his mother and father bought him his first Horror FX magazine to show how Freddy’s makeup was applied. It was then that he yearned to understand more about the art of special make-up effects. Growing up, Gage was labeled an outcast. He loved alternative music, wore crazy/funky clothes, and buried himself in R-rated monster movies and his artwork. Gage is an openly gay man who grew up very close to his mother, whom he utmost admires. He has been living on his own since he was 17 years old, moved to Las Vegas, then shortly thereafter to Los Angeles, where he adopted the nickname of "Munster,” and put himself through make-up school. He has been working professionally since 2005.
Jessica Kramer grew up as a rambunctious child who enjoyed scaring her parents by using ketchup packages to smear herself to look like she was bleeding. Jessica is terrified of the dark, and her friends make fun of her because she doesn’t even like to go outside at night. However, she enjoys watching scary movies. Jessica is one of the guys, and has mostly male friends. Although she is athletic and very competitive, she still has some very girly qualities and pink is her favorite color. Jessica likes to dye her hair wild colors like purple, pink, fuchsia and blue and bright red. Jessica attended community college for two years but hated it, so she made the switch to the Tom Savini School for special make up effects. She is a currently a freelance makeup artist for festivals, fairs, corporate events, private parties, weddings and clubs.
Sporting many tattoos and a gothic rockabilly style, Kayla “Jo” Holland has motivation and determination rarely seen at such a young age. Her mother was very young when she had Jo, and the two share a sisterly relationship and friendship. Jo values security and structure in her adult life. When she needed a job, she walked into a Halloween shop, approached the manager, and created a position for herself performing makeup demonstrations for the customers. Today she is assistant manager of the shop.
Marcel Banks is a hardcore classic horror film fanatic. His home is covered floor to ceiling with posters and action figures from films like Dr. Phibes and WaxWork. Marcel has worked on a number of independent films, TV shows and photo shoots as a makeup artist. Growing up, Marcel spent his time watching his beloved horror movies, fascinated by the makeup tricks-of-the-trade. Early on, he had the opportunity to understudy with industry professionals and to experiment and develop his skills in FX make-up. Marcel used the money for his college tuition to invest in makeup supplies and hit the ground running.
Megan Areford is a self-proclaimed perfectionist, likes things to be in their place, and also possesses a very strong work ethic. Megan grew up in Pittsburgh, PA in a loving household with her mother and stepfather. At the age of seven, her grandmother taught her how to put on makeup and encouraged her to paint and draw. Megan decided to make special FX makeup her career and attended Tom Savini’s Special FX School of Makeup located near her hometown.
There is more to Samantha "Sam" Cobb than meets the eye. She was born in Wisconsin, but her father was in the military and she was raised in Singapore. If you name a world destination, Sam’s most likely been there, but recently, she’s chosen the quiet subtleties of Decatur, Georgia as her home, where she practices and teaches permaculture, creates her make up effects and even illustrates the chalkboards for the local Trader Joe's. Incidentally, this is where she met her husband. Sam is also a sculptor at Chisel 3D where she creates corporate art, museum displays and custom prosthetics for her clients. She attributes her sense of creativity to her mother, who is a hippie at heart.
Sergio Gurerra was born in Mexico and grew up in San Antonio, Texas. At age five, he won a Halloween contest dressed as Frankenstein and from then on was hooked on the horror. He realized he loved to scare people and would create fake wounds and injuries on himself to freak out his mother and aunts. In high school, he was very involved in the school band playing the trombone and brass instruments, but everyone kept trying to get him to play football, instead. He refused and went on to college to major in music at Texas State. He continued honing his Halloween character skills and started Live The Darkness five years ago. He creates and sells masks, costumes and props and gives special FX workshops. Sergio is very tall, has a wild sense of humor with a loud personality to match. He says he can read people very well, and if someone is trying to sabotage him he has no problem playing dirty right back.
Tom Devlin grew up in a rural Pennsylvania town, where there was nothing more to do than watch horror movies. Tom’s dream was to make the monsters he grew up loving so much. And, like most other make up FX artists, Tom had three goals: Create monsters, work on films and own his own FX shop. At the age of 29, Tom had already achieved all three. Tom is a motivated artist and spends most hours of the day at work. His main focus at the moment is working on independent horror films. He enjoys the freedom the independent film world offers to try new things and explore different opportunities. Tom is his own boss and he is confident enough in his skills to keep it that way. He is also a self-professed slob. He says the word "cleanliness" doesn't exist in his vocabulary.
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The artists must create their own angry and twisted trees, each afflicted with a particular malady.