Remembering Dick Smith

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“Dick Smith died last night…”

The first words I hear from my wife as I roll awake. I lay there trying to digest the words and acknowledge the emotional impact that will befall me, my friends, my students, my peers, my heroes and my industry. I never knew the man well enough to call him a friend. We shared many handshakes, a meal with friends and some kind words. I will forever be remorseful for not taking a moment to ask for a photo commemorating the memory of such an iconic man.

To his closest friends, colleagues and family, I have no words, only a ball of emotion that rolls through my throat, to my eyes then to sink back into the pit of my stomach leaving me feel empty and hollow. I knew what it was like to lose a father, and that’s who Dick was to many people in our industry. The rest of us knew him as a legend, a hero, the “Godfather of Make-up” as he was called, and we knew him as a teacher.

As a teacher, Dick Smith became a symbol of sharing, of guidance, of support, of professionalism, of talent… his work became the very defining marker by which so many make-ups were compared. His contributions and influence on the lives of generations of make-up artists will continue to reshape and define future generations of artists, artists who will never have known or met the man, but will be better artists because of the foundations he laid.

Thank you Dick Smith for being an inspiration to our heroes. Thank you Dick Smith for being my hero. Thank you for your humility and the positive influence you had on so many, many lives.

With sincere admiration and deepest regrets,

Gil Romero
MUD School Director

“What can I say? I loved him. He was a giving, generous, open, kind, amazing human being. He wanted to feed your passion for make-up, he wanted to help you do great work. I remember when I was 13 I asked Dick for his ager stipple formula. I called him on the phone and he was so kind. He went out of his way to make copies of the formula and sent it to me. You can’t find a single person that hasn’t been touched by his kindness. I really can’t put it into words. He’s a legend.”
Chad Washum, MUD Faculty

“Words are so inadequate to relay our thoughts about our dear friend, Dick Smith, and the sympathy and loss we feel on his passing. Not only did the industry lose its foremost innovator and unselfish proponent. But, the world has lost the epitome of kindness, warmth and humility. He has left an indelible mark in our hearts. Our greatest memories are the many times we just listened to his eloquent commentary of his unbelievable life at the many dinners we shared with him. We’ll miss him dearly. So long, Dick. ”
Andre’ & Jenny DiMino (ADM Tronics)

A forefather to his industry and craft. His mark was left on us all. He will forever be missed and never be forgotten. His gifts will surpass his physical life and his talents will surpass us all.
Much Respect Mr Smith
KarrieAnn Sillay, MUD Faculty

Your passion for make-up and sharing your knowledge is your legacy.
Paul Thompson, MUD Director of Education

As a teacher I see Dick Smith’s iconic imagery continue to influence new generations of make-up artists. Though the artist will be missed, the art lives on.
Lisa Leveridge, MUD Faculty

MUD at IMATS NY 2014


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The IMATS 2014 premiered this past Saturday at New York City’s Pier 94 in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Make-up artists and enthusiasts gathered to participate and view the festivities of the prestigious and highly anticipated event. Highlights included demos featuring multiple Mud Alumni, Make-up competitions and famous faces.

The show kicked off on Saturday with a prosthetic museum curated by MUD’s Special Make-up Effects Instructor Anthony Giordano. Various characters were featured from film, television and music videos for all attendees viewing delight. Giordano was assisted by a group of MUD alumnae including: Olivia Cui, Sky Vega and Alyssa Vandall.

Fans of the SYFY TV Series “Face Off” had the opportunity to pose for photos and view demos created by Face Off contestants and MUD alumni Catherine Pashen (Cat), Niko Gonzalez and Bethany Serpico. Cat and Niko presented their “Exo Bride” demo and Bethany created an alien-like creature, while show-goers snapped photos and asked for autographs.

MUD Instructor Kelly Budd also performed a demo and with the assistance of former student Korina Artemiadis, she unveiled her avant-garde beauty inspired character during the final hours of the event.

The show wrapped with the Battle of the Brushes character prosthetic competition featuring two MUD alumnae Renee Varela and April Townes as well as 8 other contestants, all competing for a cash prize and the opportunity to be featured in the IMATS Make-up Artist Magazine.

Fans also said goodbye to Face-Off contestants Cat and Nikko as they performed their final demo on Sunday featuring their demon inspired character.

Contributor: Stacia McCarthy

Industry Speaks: Jake Garber

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Oscar-nominated and Emmy winning make-up artist Jake Garber was our Industry Speaks guest last night. We caught him just before this self-proclaimed “road-dog” disappeared for the next seven months to transform people into gruesome Walkers for AMC’s uber-popular zombie series, The Walking Dead .

A room filled with students, staff and friends listened attentively for the secret of Garber’s drive, the inspiration for his creativity, the “a-ha” moment that led him to become a make-up artist.  His response: “It was a Halloween hobby gone bad.” That humorous statement set the tone for the rest of the hour while we sat back and enjoyed his colorful behind-the scenes stories and invaluable make-up tips from his experience working in a wide range of environments.

Before collecting a number of awards and nominations (see list here), Garber started his career in a way that’s familiar to many artists in the industry—by willing to work hard and learn from the pros. He credits Make-up Artist Gary Boham for giving him his start in make-up. He trained with Gary for about five years on a variety of projects and gained the fundamental skills that prepared him for his move to Los Angeles in 1989. When he arrived in L.A. , he was hired to work for Universal creating masks for characters like Frankenstein and Wolfman.  The job lead was through a connection Garber made years before.  “I met Mike Burnett at a convention. He said, ‘call me when you get to L.A.’ I called the day I arrived and got work pouring masks six days a week.” Every job he’s had since then has stemmed from making monsters at Universal.

Today, Jake Garber’s credits include Django Unchained, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, The Man with Iron Fists, Hellboy, Priest, Kill Bill: Vol 1 and 2, Predators and more.

Jake took us through his career reel and gave some great insight into the techniques used for each make-up and shared some on-set problem/solution scenarios you would never imagine. (Let’s just say his creative solutions, or ‘MacGuyver techniques’ once involved a cigarette filter and corn nuts to create a busted lip and broken teeth effect.)

Don’t miss out on the next Industry Speaks event! This is your chance to meet the most accomplished professionals in the industry, ask questions and hear the most inspiring behind-the scenes stories. Did you know that Quentin Tarantino was specific about the color of blood used on set? It has to be a certain type of bright red – thanks for the tip, Jake.

What’s in Your FX kit?

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Make-up Artists often count on one another for technique tips, resource information and product recommendations. Although there is a lot of information on the Web, MUA’s have shared their knowledge on a peer-to-peer basis since the time when there were only few reference make-up application books and *gasp* no Internet. So, we asked Cat and Niko to share with us the contents of their FX kit and share with us why they’d recommend the products they use.

Niko Gonzalez and Cat Paschen, MUD grads and Face Off Season 6 contestants, what’s in YOUR FX kit?

Cat: We recently stopped by the MUD Burbank campus to give the students a lecture titled ‘What’s In Your FX Kit?’ and went over our FX kit necessities as well as our favorite brushes, tools and paints with the students.

Niko: We always stress the importance of over packing for any make-up job. You must always be prepared for anything. You never know what you will be asked to do on set, schedules change last minute all the time. It is better to have all of the basics packed and ready to go in your kit at all times. Below is a list of our FX kit necessities that we always keep in our kits.


We always carry a little bottle of latex and a jar of 3rd degree with us at all times. You can create almost anything with these two items- they are great for quick or unexpected FX that you might have to do on set from aging to injuries. Having a variety of different colors of dirt is great to have as well. Depending on the location you are shooting, the color of dirt and dust will change. Having different shades will give you a more realistic look. We also keep wax paper pallets, gloves, neutral set powder, thickened pros-aid cream, glycerin for sweat and a tear stick packed at all times.


We also recommend carrying small bottles of Spirit Gum, Pros-aide and Telesis 5. Pros-aide 1 is our favorite go-to glue because of its bond strength and price. However, it is important to have other glues such as spirit gum (which is the gentlest glue) in case the talent you are working on has an allergic reaction. Telesis is also great to use for quick fixes because it bonds instantly without having to wait for it to dry.


We keep a variety of different bloods with as well. They range in price, color and consistency to fit the look we need to achieve and the shot the director wants. Our go-to bloods include Fleet St. Drying Blood and Drying Past. The blood dries in place without cracking so it will not smear and ruin continuity. My Blood is also one of our favorites for a fresh, wet blood look.


We always have a few RMG wheels, basic cream colors as well as some alcohol palettes. The Ben Nye Bruise Wheel and Death wheels are my favorite go-to cream colors for FX. Alcohol activated palettes such as Skin Illustrator are our absolute favorite colors to use on set because we know they will last all day without smearing and can paint any kind of prosthetic. If we know we are doing a specific FX heavy project we will pack other paints such as water based paints and alcohol based air brush paints. Kyrolan, Wolf and Mehron Paradise colors are our favorite water based paints that are great for doing large surface areas fast.

The important thing is making sure you pack products that are multi-functional and work on a variety of materials/ skin types to save room in your kit. I find it fascinating to look through other make-up artist’s kits, I always learn about a new product and pick up a cool tip! Keep searching, practicing and experimenting with different products and find ones that work for you.


Mark your calendars! Niko and Cat will be back at the Burbank campus with the rest of the local season 6 Face Off contestants on March 11th for lecture covering their experience on the show.

Keep up with this fantastic duo on their professional studio pages: DYADMUFX

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Face Off “In the Shadows” Episode 5 Win for MUD Grad Niko Gonzalez

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 Niko Gonzalez took the win for team MUD on the 5th episode of this season’s Face Off titled “In the Shadows.”  We sat down with Niko to discuss his winning make-up.

“Our challenge was to create a character based on a shadow of our choice. I was drawn to the shadow because of it’s big shape and the possible character I could create from it. I saw hair, hooves and horns and the silhouette reminded me of a bull. I also wanted to keep the human aspect in the make-up, so I decided to make a minotaur. I sculpted the face in 6 hours. On day two I sculpted the chest, 2 hooves, cowl molded everything and made the horns. The good thing about the cowl was that it did not need any detail, I ended up covering it with fur and used it just to provide bulk to the model to match the silhouette. On application day I had to open up the cowl, clean it out and run it in poly-foam. At the end of the first 4 hours I had everything and applied a base coat of paint on the model. I finished the rest of the painting and hair work in last looks. I am very proud of myself and what I was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.” Niko Gonzalez

We’re proud of you too, Niko!

Watch Face Off on SyFy, Tuesdays at 9/8c and keep up with #teamMUD Twitter @mudschools Facebook @mudschools and Instagram @makeupdesignory.

Follow Niko on Instagram and Twitter // DYAD Make-up & FX Studio

Industry Speaks: Camden Toy

Gentlemen Camden Toy

Camden Toy is an actor, screenwriter, and editor whose love for acting and make-up runs deep into his childhood. He spent an afternoon with our students, graduates and fans discussing his passions, sharing his love of theater and theater performances, actors and artisans, make-ups and monsters.

Camden has had a fascination with the world of fantasy, classic horror and the make-ups that brought these characters to life from an early age. His father Malcolm was a make-up artist who had worked under Wally Westmore at the Paramount lot.

Camden shares a story of his first experiences with make-up. As a boy of no older than about 8 years old, his father found him rummaging through his make-up kit. Camden fondly recalls how his father leaned into him and quietly asks his son, “Do you want me to show you how to use that?”  Learning to apply old age make-up, with a putty nose and a fake beard, Camden’s lifelong love of make-up began.

“Dick Smith was a huge influence…” Camden describes how thrilling it was to transform himself into all sorts of characters and creatures using Dicks Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-up Handbook.

Over the years, Camden has had his fair share of wearing all types of make-ups, but some of his most recognizable characters and monstrous creatures don’t resemble Camden at all. He has been described as a suit performer and character actor who has acted in over 100 independent films. On this afternoon, he shared his professional reel and photographs of his most outstanding and identifiable prosthetic characters on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

“I don’t like to think of myself as a suit performer. I like to think of myself as an actor who is able to integrate full prosthetic suits into my performance.”

Camden’s introduction to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer began with his principal role portraying one of the characters called the Gentleman on the episode “HUSH” This episode was one of the most highly rated and viewed episodes of the series and many would recognize his now infamous grin alongside his fellow Gentleman, Doug Jones.

Each of the make-ups Camden has worn for Buffy and Angel were designed so that he could fully express and act through the make-ups.  He explained how he appreciated the care and concern the make-up artists and craftsmen put into each aspect of developing the creatures, including contact lenses, claws and teeth.

“Almost Human had a wonderful dental technician and teeth guy…[James Conrad]” Camden explains how James was always gracious and considerate in taking his ideas into consideration when designing some of the most amazing sets of teeth for many of his characters on the Buffy and Angel series.

At the conclusion of the Industry Speaks event, a guest asked about the types of characters he preferred to play. Camden exclaimed with a dubious and sinister smile, “Bad guys are SO much more fun to play!”

MUD at IMATS 2014

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The Pasadena Civic Center was surrounded by beauty enthusiasts over the weekend with a line of shoppers waiting to get their hands on the latest beauty tools and to see their favorite make-up artists at this year’s IMATS Los Angeles 2014.  The sold out show featured a slew of beauty product companies, schools and more.  Once you were in the door, the music and sounds of happy shoppers filled the air the entire weekend.

This year’s Pro Night was the most successful Pro Night in the IMATS history, tripling in size of attendees on Friday night, just before the show opened to the public.  The MUD booth featured Disney actress and commercial model Jaida Benjamin, as the MUD artists demonstrated several looks including the Deep Forest trend.

The MUD booth in the special effects hall featured Karl Zundel and Karrie Ann Sillay with a group of 2013 grads working on a tall, full body alien creature.  The character suit and prosthetic appliances were equipped with mechanical hands and a light show that have had the team in preparation mode for over 3 months.  Artists Dalton Kutsch (2007 MUD Grad) and Casey Love (1998 MUD Grad) also demonstrated some amazing sculptures throughout the weekend.

Kevin James Bennett’s presentation in the MUD booth and onstage as IMATS’ keynote speaker included a demonstration of a clean fresh look, a colorful look for the bold and the beautiful, as well as a classy evening look.  Giving out some of his favorite beauty secrets, Bennett wowed the crowd with his simple methods of getting the perfect foundation setting.

Beto Franca was back just in the US from Brazil, just in time for IMATS.  Showing off his amazing airbrush and body painting, the audience stood in awe at the intricate details from start to finish. Meanwhile, in the special effects room, Face Off cast members Cat and Niko created a Labrinth Hoggle using multiple pieces of prosthetic appliances.

The IMATS 2014 events are off to a great start.  Next stop is New York in April at Pier 94.

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