Rick Baker’s ‘Steampunkenstein’

by Joe Fordham

For anyone who loves monsters, Halloween is like Christmas – especially if you work in the makeup effects industry.

Many artists work year-round dreaming up new creations and working in the privacy of their home studios to design their own fantastic creations to spring on their colleagues as Halloween parties roll around the end of October each year.

Silvia and Rick Baker as Steampunk Bride and Monster

Silvia and Rick Baker as Steampunk Bride and Monster

2013 has already seen some great ones, especially at Cinovation Studios in Glendale, California, where makeup effects maestro Rick Baker recently transformed his studio into a gothic horror graveyard, in partnership with MAC Cosmetics, with whom he has recently launched a horror-themed makeup line in three flavors – entitled ‘Bride,’ ‘Day of the Dead’ and ‘Zombie.’

It was a wild evening, full of bizarre and glorious creatures by many of the industry’s finest. Star of the party was Rick’s own creation – a his and hers ensemble for himself and his wife, Silvia, entitled ‘Steampunkenstein.’ Rick shared a few images of his work with us, and answered a little Q&A for Cinefex Facebook fans.

What a wonderful makeup, Rick! Can you tell us what was your inspiration for this odd-looking creature?

My inspiration was my wife – she wanted to be a ‘steampunk Bride of Frankenstein,’ so I had to make something to go with that.

We’ve seen a lot of your beautiful digital renderings and 3D conceptual work online in recent years. Did you do concepts for this piece in ZBrush, or did you sculpt straight into clay?

Steampunkenstein2I started, stupidly, in clay and did not do a ZBrush rendering. I didn’t want to be tired of the design by doing a ZB first, but making major design changes in Monster Clay, as I did many times, was time consuming and many times I would wipe out the previous day’s work.

Was there any ‘kit-bashing’ – fabricating practical model kits, or working real machine parts into the sculpture – in the machine-like parts?

Yes, I kit bashed. I found some gears in our machine shop and made a quick lab putty mold of them and pressed out clay ones. It was the same for some of the ornamental stuff.

A couple of mutual friends gave me some hints how you put the piece together. Your Wolfman collaborator David Elsey mentioned that his wife, Lou, helped a little in fabricating your costume, as well as doing the gorgeous Steampunk Bride makeup on Silvia, and makeups on the other MAC models at your party. How did you build your costume, especially that machine-like hand?

I started the costume with a huge leather coat that I bought ‘on sale’ as it wasSteampunkenstein3 defective. I made it fit me by adding grommets and such and just started building from there. The hand was an old Greystoke mechanism, which we called ‘mechanical extended finger gloves.’ I painted and added bits to it.

I know Robert ‘Freight Train’ Freitas molded the piece for you; and he told me it was a ‘glue-less’ makeup. That seems amazing to me, for such an intricate-looking piece. What did Rob mean by that? Did you self-apply the whole thing?

Having been in the situation before where I make up my family first I didn’t want to have to rush through my make up as I have done many Halloweens before, therefore I decided by making a mask I could spend time painting and finishing it before the day. So, I made it as a slip latex mask as I knew I had about seven hours of make up to do on other people, my daughters, that day. The chin is cut out of the mask and my beard sticks out. I designed sculpted cast and painted the mask – but, yes, Rob Freitas made the mold, which was a difficult one to do. After I finished the sculpture and started thinking about molding it, I got scared to do it myself. I thought that I needed an expert like Rob. He made a fantastic mold.

Congratulations, Rick, and thanks again for sharing. It was a beautiful piece, and you and Silvia made the perfect couple. Happy Halloween!

Rick Baker's sculpture, almost finished.

Rick Baker’s Steampunkenstein – the sculpture, almost finished. Image courtesy Rick Baker.