Happy Cosplay Friday, and Happy Spooktober! In the ongoing celebration of all things spooky, we have an interview with Ryan Straut. Ryan Straut is an FX and concept artist known for created amazing sci-fi looks. He’s worked with models such as Naomi Smalls and Shea Coulee and movies such as Descending and New Blood Awakening. Ryan creates looks that are positively scream worthy in the best possible way. Enjoy his work and his exclusive interview with Temple of Geek.
JP:How long have you been doing FX makeup?
Ryan: Professionally I’ve been working as a makeup artist for about four years.
JP:How did you get started in FX makeup?
Ryan: My background is in digital art. And before this I was doing digital art and conceptual design for various projects and I was interacting with several artists through Faceoff. A few of the artist were familiar with my concept designs and digital illustrations. They passed that along to the producer of Faceoff and he ended up sharing a lot of my art with the Faceoff family. At the time I hadn’t touched makeup. I was taught from the artists on the show about prosthetics and makeup. I ended up being called back for Faceoff season 10, which was a great opportunity. Barely had I even started makeup, so that was a neat process to go through from barely knowing makeup.
They really pushed me as an artist, and I was very transparent with them saying, “I just started, I really have a lot to learn.” They agreed confirming with me that I did have the potential to move forward as a makeup artist. Since the audition I was able to book a film with an agent. It got me my next way of work, and every project since then has been pushing myself and my team to work harder and create some really awesome things.
JP:What type of horror/Halloween project to work on?
Ryan: I work on a lot of horror projects, but horror is not necessarily my favorite type of makeup to work on. My favorites are definitely sci-fi and fantasy since they dive into more of a realm of fiction or imagination. For me my favorite types of projects I work on in horror are the ones that aren’t really bloody but are the ones that you stare at and try to figure out the mystery behind it. There was a piece that we did that was this sort of shadowy creature. We places a lot of different textural materials on the body of this creature and every little piece of its body had a different texture to it. When you stared at it made you question the nature of the creature. Those are the type of horror projects I like to work on.
JP:So your original background wasn’t in makeup?
Ryan: No, my original background was in computer graphics and forensic science. So I worked in Washington D.C. with the Secret Service doing Forensic imaging. So my education background was not in makeup.
JP:What has been your favorite makeup look you’ve created?
Ryan: My favorite look that we’ve created was a project I got to work on recently. It was for a company out of Chicago and they were holding an ancient Egyptian themed event. When I was growing up I was a huge ancient Egyptian mythology nerd. As I’m work right now I have a movie on in the background about a mummy. It was a huge nerd moment for me when they asked me to design these Egyptian god concepts for them. Then they hired my team and I on to do the actual application. We got to bring to life three of my favorite Egyptian gods. The end product was something so beautiful and abstract. I would say that is my favorite makeup I’ve worked on.
JP:Who is someone who inspires you to create FX makeup looks?
Ryan: I would say one of my inspirations in the makeup world is Neville Page, he’s a concept designer and a judge on faceoff. A lot of his work is shown through the early Star Trek franchise and he’s also worked on Cloverfield Lane. His sci-fi creations based in reality really aligns with me and my background. Having to opportunity to meet Neville and talk about work together I found we really do have that same passion for science. He always pushes himself to find realism and accuracy in all of his obscure in his creations. His work has absolutely inspired me. To not just create art to create art but to create art to have meaning.
JP:Recently you created several looks utilizing glowing makeup,
what products did you use to create this glow effect?
Ryan: They were all several black light body paints available. As a body painter I like to use Wolfe FX and Crylon Aqua color. Really the paint goes on very well and glows very well on camera. The trick is setting up the lighting correctly to capture the affect.
JP:Which do you prefer when applying makeup, brushes or sponges?
Ryan: As far as art goes I have more of a traditional art background. So I feel far more comfortable with a brush in my hand. But I will say when we do body paint we’ll smooth everything out with sponges.
JP:Do you dress up during Halloween? If so, what is your plan to dress up as this year?
Ryan: I will be doing multiple Halloween costumes. The one I’m looking forward to most is captain planet. Captain Planet is a cartoon from the 90’s that was honestly probably sponsored by Al Gor. They created a superhero cartoon to teach kids about saving the planet. He is the eco-friendly planet hero.
JP:What is your favorite Horror/Halloween movie?
Ryan: Hands down it has to be Scream. Scream has the perfect balance of comedy, horror, and intellect. But my favorite Halloween film is Hocus Pocus.
JP:What is your favorite thing about doing makeup?
Ryan: Seeing the end result take a life of its own. After we’re down and can watch our work step around in the makeup. Allowing that character to live and breath is one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve ever experienced.
To see more of Ryan’s work, check out his Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/RyanStrautFX/
And as always,
Have a geek filled day!