Industry Speaks: Make-up Artist Jordu Schell

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Contributor: Svenya Nimmons

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but in the case of Jordu Schell, what frightens you, makes you create an imagination of your own.  At a young age, he gasped at an image of someone being chased in a movie and his mother quickly shut the television off.  Fearful and curious, the artist-to-be was then left to imagine what the creature looked like.

His curiosity continued as he began experimenting with masks during his youth, landing him at a tradeshow in Chicago where he was the first boutique mask maker showcasing his works.  The rest is history.

With such credits as Alien Resurrection, Men in Black, Avatar and Edward Scissorhands, this industry vet has 30 years of experience in painting, sculpting and designing. You can find him at work in his studio in Chatsworth, CA.  His lovely and talented assistant Emily Deroski helps with sculpting and her attitude of just showing up to do whatever is needed for the day is admirable.  Plus, she’s great with auto mechanics which adds to her cool factor.

So what makes an awesome character?  According to Schell, a well-crafted piece with an expansive imagination of form really brings it home. His advice as an artist looking to be taken seriously in the industry is quite simple: Be prepared for whatever opportunity comes your way with a website, business cards and a knack for networking that shows your genuine interest in what you do. “You’re not entitled to anything and the world owes you nothing,”- great advice from the guy from Philly that learned to love horror films in a way that has shaped his career.

As always, we are immensely grateful to Jordu and all of our  guests who give their time, knowledge and expertise to help our students through this diverse industry!

Industry Speaks: Don Lanning

 

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“If you feel you are an artist, you owe it to yourself to be an artist.” Don Lanning

Don Lanning was born in Van Nuys, California in the heart of Hollywood’s creature effects community. With early heroes Dick Smith, John Chambers, Stan Winston, Rick Baker and Rob Bottin as guides, Don started sculpting creatures at 10 years old. Don is known for his consistent ability to deliver the highest quality work at lightning speed on projects from conservative realism to the archetypes of horror, fantasy, and science fiction.

As our Industry Speaks guest last night, Don took us through his career—a career that got started 10 years after his initial opportunity. He told the story of meeting Dick Smith at age 17. Mr. Smith being a helpful mentor to many artists, was also there for Don, giving him the phone numbers to people who might help him get his start in the industry that held his heart and passion. But, there was something, or someone else who held Don’s heart and passion—a girl—and Don chose a career in real estate, perhaps assuming a steadier path. After 10 years, Don took a good look at himself and didn’t recognize the person he saw. He described it as feeling like he was in someone else’s clothing, living someone else’s life.

Shortly thereafter, he had the opportunity to sculpt for a commercial. It was during that process wherein he acknowledged his calling. He said, “I was found.”

Don’s story was the premise for the rest of the evening’s conversation as he encouraged MUD students to stick to their dreams. “If you feel you are an artist, you owe it to yourself to be an artist…you are the most beautiful when you are creating…art is the only thing worth doing.”  While Don shared his impressive portfolio, the true inspiration may have been in the pep talk he gave for living the life you want.

Don has recently received high praise entering the world of fine art with his modern take on pop icons Batman & The Joker and his elaborate reimagining of The Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and Tinman from “OZ.” His work is featured in more than 50 motion pictures and he continues to live out his passion, recently opening up a shop in Van Nuys, California.

Don’t miss out on these valuable opportunities extended to you to meet and speak with industry pros at our weekly Industry Speaks events. Our monthlyevent calendar can be found on our facebook page: facebook.com/mudschools

Don Lanning Instagram: @don_lanning

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/twoeyestwohands