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Face Off: Season 5 Episode 9: So Sinful!

Published October 12, 2013 by rmpixie

The artist count is down to 5 veterans and 2 newbies on the show.  Laney was really “bummed out” about how everything went down last episode.  She acknowledged the fact that she and Alana couldn’t pull their concepts together, and was heartbroken about Alana’s elimination.  Roy wanted to stake his claim and make the next win instead of being safe.

I, for one, cannot stand being in churches due to my strict Catholic upbringing, so I found this episode really interesting.  Their introduction for the next challenge took place in St Brendan’s Catholic Church.  It was built in 1927, and has been the filming location for films like Fight Club and Spider Man 3.  With its creepy, gothic, and architectural features, it was also the inspiration for their Spotlight Challenge:  The Seven Deadly Sins.  The gang had to created a forbidding character that embodied not only one of the sins, but the colour associated with that sin.  Resident judge Glenn Hetrick was there to advise the artists this time around.  He wanted them to understand the essence of the word (sin) without being too obvious.  Their guest judge for Elimination Day was Bryan Fuller, writer and producer of shows such as Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies, and Hannibal.  He was really excited to see what they had created since he has been a fan of the show since the beginning.

Frank took on Gluttony and the colour orange.  He decided to go big with a full body fat suit.  He felt that this makeup would push him, but Roy thought it was going the obvious route, which is what Glenn asked them not to do.  The finished product to me looked like a melting man, and Ve really disliked the neck area, which to her looked like a goiter instead of fat.  Glenn liked the paint job, but thought he was too far off with the out of the box approach.  He also cheaped out and just added the coloured apple they got at the beginning of the challenge to represent orange.

Miranda got Lust and the colour blue.  Her concept was a demon who had the lust for eternal youth and seduced and drank the blood of men to stay young.  She really had some moments of panic, and frustrated the others in the process.  Tate ended up helping her out during her crisis, but Roy gave him a talking to, advising him to be able to say no, and to er, grow some balls.  This is a competition, and it is also the first time I’ve heard someone having to try not to help other contestants!  Her design came out beautifully, with the judges loving the intricate sculpt, symmetry and paint job.  Bryan Fuller pointed out that she could have shown more “T and A” to  look more lustful.  I think she needs to be more confident in her work, because she is just killing the competition with her designs.

Tate got Sloth and light blue.  He was a fan of Dante’s Inferno, so he was really up for the challenge.  He created a person tortured in a pit of snakes, with a spiral staircase to a crown that the tortured soul would never reach.  The judges really liked the story the concept told, and acknowledged that he did a huge amount of work with limited time.

Laura chose the colour red and Wrath.  Her design was of a woman so angry that she tore her own face off.  I loved this look.  It was gruesome and looked so terrifying.  the judges weren’t too critical, and she ended up being safe.

Laney got Greed and yellow.  She interpreted greed as ugly, and created an aging woman with boils and a dress made of money.  This one worked for me as well.  The judges liked how the neck looked, and she too was safe.

Eddie worked on Envy and green.  He created a design that I wasn’t too clear on, but it involved some stained glass eyes and a great architectural sculpt.  He was a little worried that the design wouldn’t translate the sin of Envy, especially when Mr. Westmore warned him, but he made it to next week.

Finally, Roy worked on the colour violet and Pride.  He created a woman who was so vain and took so much pride in her appearance that she kept getting plastic surgery to the point where her skin was bruised purple.  I liked it, but I agreed with the judges because he could have taken it a bit further.  They all agreed that it looked rough, and that he made some bad decisions, like painting on stitches due to lack of time.  Glenn thought it looked like a zombie makeup, and Bryan thought it was a bit abstracted from the sin.  This ended Roy up in the bottom along with Frank which sucked, since Roy was going for a win this time.

Miranda and Tate made it to the top looks.  Tate won because he listened to what Glenn asked for with the challenge.  Roy and Frank ended up at the bottom.  Frank’s “go big” concept got him going home.  The judges thought the look lacked in concept and he was tempted with the “low hanging fruit”.  Ve did think he would go on to do great things though.  Unfortunately, his elimination coincided with the anniversary of his father’s death.  Very sad, but I think Frank will do well in the crazy world of makeup and special fx!

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Face Off: Season 5 Episode 8-“Cosmic Circus”

Published October 2, 2013 by rmpixie

What a great episode this week!  The remaining artists got a really interesting Spotlight Challenge:  they had to create a dark and sexy alien circus performer.  Their inspiration?  Cirque Berzerk, a dark, sexy and punk rock reinvention of the circus based in L.A.  The artistic director and co-founder, Suzanne Bernel, was there to guide them with their intergalactic circus troupe designs.  The artists also got to use members of Cirque Berserk as their models.  Suzanne stressed that the models had to be able to move in the makeups, and the appliances had to endure the rigorous performances.  This was a team challenge, so Laura & Roy, Eddie & Miranda, Laney & Alana, and Frank & Tate paired up to start their creations.

Laura and Roy came up with an alien creature tamer with a parasite host.  When Mr. Westmore did his rounds, he noticed the face was not sexy.  Laura took heed of what he said and had to rethink her design.  Roy did his fair share with the mechanism for the insect prop.  I thought the head sculpt was beautiful, but the judges felt the insect idea was a waste.  Glenn thought it would have worked better if it was on the model’s back, and Ve didn’t like the amount of blue used in the paint job.

Eddie and Miranda created a galactic contortionist that was a space siren.  Early on in the sculpting phase, Frank pointed out that the head looked a lot like the Angel of Death from Hellboy 2.  Miranda and Eddie made an executive decision to change the design and it paid off.  I thought the sculpting was beautiful, and so did the judges.  They felt it was really symmetrical, with Neville pointing out how well the head shape flowed even though they each did a side.  Ve thought it needed to be more feminine and sexy (which I agreed with), but overall they thought she had an alien beauty.

Frank and Tate designed an alien from a tribe on one of the moons of Neptune.  This alien discovers punk music and becomes an alien punk contortionist.  The judges felt they guys gave a clean execution of the head sculpt and paint, even though Neville felt the design from the neck down was “muddy”.

Alana and Laney dreamed up an alien ring master who was a space womanizer.  Unfortunately early on in the concept design, the ladies could not agree.  They ended up scrapping the cowl that Laney created, and Laney felt Alana didn’t trust her. For the rest of this challenge, they were at odds with each other and you could see the worry on their faces.  Rightfully so, because even though the makeup was colourful, the judges felt the look fell short.  They didn’t like the scales and they thought it looked goofy, and not alien, dark or sexy at all.  The only saving grace was the nose that Glenn sort of liked.

All the looks performed well.  Nothing fell apart as the Cirque Berzerk did an incredible performance for the artist and judges.  I would love to see the entire show, and I hope they come to Toronto in the future.  The bottom looks were created by Laura & Roy and Alana & Laney.  The judges thought Laura and Roy’s makeup had a boring palette and they exhibited poor self editing.  Alana and Laney suffered with missed “opportunities” and there was nary a sexy alien in sight with their character.  The top look came from Eddie and Miranda.   Eddie did a great job blending with Miranda’s beautiful sculpt, and the paint job helped accentuate it.  Miranda won with her brilliant application.  It’s her 4th win, and it was well deserved.  Unfortunately, Alana was chosen to go home.  The judges didn’t like the face sculpt she did, but Neville pointed out that she had hunger and passion and would do well.  Laney was extremely upset which was a huge contrast to how she was feeling at the beginning of this episode.  She was pleased that she had been in the top looks until now, and I think she felt partially responsible for Alana’s elimination.  In a one hour show, we sometimes forget how stressful it is to create such intricate designs on demand in such a short amount of time.  It’s difficult to know if you’ve made the right decision and this is a prime example of uncertainty under pressure.  And the pressure will build in the upcoming weeks as we near the finale!

Face Off Season 5 Episode 7: “Living Art”

Published September 29, 2013 by rmpixie

This episode started with Scott feeling his age.  I have to say that this is one of the few shows where ages doesn’t really matter.  At 52, he is holding his own against the younger competitors.

For this week’s Foundation Challenge, the group got a fantastic surprise.  They had to reinvent an iconic character.  Which one, you may ask?  The one and only Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, who was also their guest judge!  She looked as voluptuous and gore-gous as ever, and just being in her presence made them eager to create their own Mistress of the Dark.  Elvira’s advice to them was to create a hip, young, cool and edgy look of her style.  The artists also got a professional hairstylist to help create the over-the-top look.  Oh yes, and the prize was not only immunity, but a sweet makeup kit from Kryolan, the sponsors of the grand prize for the competition.  I love their product.  When I was a makeup artist, it was my go-to brand when I couldn’t find what I needed because they always had incredible colour ranges and palettes!

The top looks for me were Miranda and Tate.  Miranda created a beautiful gothic looking creature, or as Elvira put it, “Elvira meets Metropolis”.  And Tate created a character called “Nurse Cutter”.  She had a nightmarish, doll-like nurse look that Elvira loved because it still had an element of humour to it.  The winner ended up being Roy once again.  She loved his take on Elmira, her bat inspired cousin, and the spooky, sexy and humorous look he created.

On to the Spotlight Challenge, where their artistic talents were really put to the test.  They met resident judge Neville Page and McKenzie at the Pacific Design Centre where they had to choose from 5 different art movements in order to create a character that could live within the art:  Surrealism, Cubism, Expressionism, Pop Art, and Constructivism.  This was a great challenge, and close to my heart.  My father was an artist and I would spend hours as a kid looking at all his art reference books while he painted.  He was a huge fan of Impressionism, his favourites being Renoir and Monet, but definitely had a love for Cubism and Expressionism as well.

Alana and Frank picked Constructivism.  Alana really didn’t grasp her choice, and struggled until Mr. Westmore did his walk through.  Her look was interesting, and the judges thought so too, which kept her safe from elimination.  I really loved Frank’s contribution.  His art piece was a man holding an iron beam.  It was colourful, graphic and the judges loved the forced perspective.  It got him a ticket to next week.

Laney chose Pop Art.  How fitting, as I always think of her as the cute anime girl.  She created a living piece of social media’s effect on women and the judges loved how she represented the art movement concisely despite them questioning the execution, and there being too much red concentrated on the face.

Tate and Scott went with Surrealism.  Their looks got them a spot in the bottom three.  Tate had a terrible accident.  His gigantic, heavy mold fell on and cut his hand, which required him to be rushed to emergency so he could get stitches.  What was really impressive was when the other artists came together to help clean out his mold and start a layer of latex for him while he was away.  He would have done the same for anyone else.  What a great bunch of people!  His look ended up having too much going on with a crumbling fortress and a sprite in it.  The judges thought it looked like a costume and wasn’t very surreal even though they liked it in general.   Scott created a personal character representing his alcoholic father.  Unfortunately, it missed the mark for the judges as the volcanic head-piece representing his temper ended up looking like a tree trunk.  They felt he struggled to put his ideas together, and the makeup lacked attractiveness, simplicity and softness.  I thought it was a tad confusing myself, but admired his attempt.

Miranda and Laura both went with Cubism.  Both did exceptionally well, but Miranda had little confidence in her work, despite the judges glowing review of her sorrowful guitar playing woman.  Aside from her forgetting to address the arms of her model, they loved it and thought she made ugly look beautiful.  Laura really showed her artist’s skills this time around.  She thought artfully about this project, and created a man in a top hat.  The judges fell in love with it and raved about the construction and “immaculate paint job”.

Eddie went for Expressionism, using Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” as inspiration.  He got the feel of the movement, but despite Mr. Westmore’s warnings, the paint job ended up being too red, and the judges didn’t like some of the shapes of the makeup and  felt it was too mask-like.

Finally, Roy also went with Surrealism.  He created a person being squeezed by the pressure of the world and their head exploding.  Sounds weird, but it actually looked really good, and the judges like the construction of his design.

Eddie, Tate and Scott were in the bottom looks, and Miranda, Laura, and Laney made it to the top.  Laura won this challenge with her artistic ability.  I’m glad she won, since she is really blowing the judges away with her talent.  Unfortunately, Scott had to leave the show.  He felt ok about it, and was glad to be a part of the show since he came away with so many good friends.  He has some great skills and I think this experience will help him refine them.  Onwards and upwards Scott!

Face Off Season 5 Episode 1: Finally, Fantasy!!

Published August 15, 2013 by rmpixie

Yaaay!! The wait is over!  Season 5 of Face Off starts off with a masquerade ball at the Park Plaza Hotel.   This is where we get our intro to the “newbies” as they entered the party one by one, stars in their eyes and hungry to compete.  Adolfo, Rick, Sam, Tolin, Eddie, Laney, Scott and Lyma assembled eagerly as the lovely Mckenzie Westmore greeted them.  The newbies eyes widened as they saw their competition, the “vets” from past seasons, revealing themselves among the masked guests.  And then they’re off!  The first Foundation Challenge happened right at the ball where the artists had to choose a guest and create an original character inspired by their costumes.  This gave them a chance to show who they were as artists and their style.  The guest judge was none other than Hollywood bigwig Catherine Hardwicke, director of Twilight, Red Riding Hood and Thirteen.  The top looks were created by vets Roy, Tate, and Laura.  I agreed with Catherine’s choices, as the newbies didn’t really do anything that stood out.  The winner was Tate’s cursed princess, which won him immunity.  Katherine loved the brow bone appliances and the overall powerful and creepy look. From this challenge, it is evident that the newbies have to step up their game.  Regardless of whether they are competing with veterans or amongst their peers, they need to pull out their inspiration books, tear sheets, and sketch books and bring their A game.

After exploring their new digs, where the newbies must share one bedroom (a nightmare in my eyes-where’s my underground bunker!) complete with pictures of past artists’ creations and Warhol inspired prints of the judges, they headed off to the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards.  Here, they got the first Spotlight Challenge of the season:  to create fantasy characters from a hyper-stylized world in the tradition of films like The Chronicles of Narnia and Pan’s Labyrinth.  Better yet, it was a team challenge:  Team newbies vs. Team vets.  They had specific characters to create:  An ogre, fawn, troll, witch, and say what now?  A pixie??!!!!!  Represent people, represent!!  All’s I’m sayin is, they’d better get the pixie right.  Yah hear me!

Anyway, the guest mentor was makeup artist Bill Corso, whose work can be seen in X-Men 3: The Last Stand, and The Amazing Spider-Man.  He stressed that collaboration and cohesiveness were key in a team setting.  I think this team challenge was a great way to see everyone’s personalities, both the good and bad.  The newbies decided to go for a crystal chest piece to tie their characters together, and the vets went for a blind witch who sees through the other creatures.

Of course there was the usual frenzy of sculpting, molding and trouble shooting.  Rick the newbie noticed a “wall of clay” as the veteran team went for broke with the sculpting, showing a touch of intimidation as he justified his team’s angle to go “beautiful”.  The assumption of the vets’ talent and know-how cannot make newbie confidence waver while they share the lab.   Among the problems were Adolfo’s mold cracking which meant he lost precious time with his troll, vet Eric panicking after Laura’s mold falls apart, and Scott and Sam butting heads over techniques.  I loved Mr. Westmore’s astute critiques which probably saved the newbies some grief.  They must know how lucky they are to have his incredible eye and knowledge in the same room!

After the scrambling during last looks, the teams showed their creations.  I particularly loved Laura’s witch, Tate’s disgusting troll, and Alana and Miranda’s pixie (they did me proud!).  From the team newbie, I loved Rick and Laney’s fawn.  She was actually pretty.  I think Laney is going to show that she has some talent in the coming episodes.  Judge Glenn Hetrick loved Laura’s witch with fingers protruding from her spine. All the judges thought Alana and Miranda’s pixie sculpting was refined, and Laney and Rick’s fawn because of the clever application of hair on the face.  They were not happy with Eddie and Tolin’s ogre.  It was a rough sculpt and disproportionate, and Adolfo’s problem ridden troll could not hide from their scrutiny as well.  Team vets suffered with their ogre made by Frank, Eric and R.J., having similar proportion issues.  Ultimately, the rough sculpt along with Tolin’s inability to admit his shortcomings got him a ticket back home.  The vets scored as the winning team, and the winner of the challenge was Miranda who executed a great sculpt and paint job.  The newbies better remember to be a bit more humble when they know they’ve screwed up.  It worked for Adolfo, and I think he can, and will, do better next time!

So glad this first episode was action-packed and I can’t wait for next week!

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