Back in 1997, there was an exhibit at the St. Louis Science Center called Special Effects 2. As the title implies, it focused on the special effects in movies. The exhibit covered sound and visual effects, including make-up. I volunteered at the exhibit that summer and fell in love with special effects make-up. One of my duties as a volunteer was to bruise and bloody the visitors, which may not sound great, but it is pretty much the best thing ever. That summer, I learned that with just a little bit of grease makeup, a sponge and/or a cotton swab, and some fake blood, I could make someone look as though something horrific had just happened to them.
Later, after the exhibit left the Science Center, I subscribed to Make-Up Artist Magazine and even nearly enrolled in make-up school. But all of the well-known schools were far away and I was afraid to leave home. In the years since, I’ve learned that Webster University actually has a program that focuses on wig and make-up design. If I’d known then what I know now, then I bet that I’d be a makeup artist right now.
I think that I’m fascinated by photography for some of the same reasons that I was drawn to special effects make-up. Both arts are about taking advantage of light, shadows and human perception. They both have a set of basic rules, but have plenty of room for an artist to imprint his or her own personality into it. And they both require a ridiculous amount of practice, patience and time. I think that whenever I’m finally done with school and feeling pretty steady in my career, I’m going to pick up the brush and give it a shot. I’m sure that I won’t pursue it professionally, but I’m sure that there are plenty of theater companies or drag performers out there who are looking for someone to help them out.