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ODD STUDIO DUO CHATS WITH HUXLEY

 

Introducing.... Adam Johansen and Damian Martin, the brains behind multi-award winning special effects makeup company Odd Studio! 

Huxley School of Makeup had the pleasure of interviewing the duo behind the company, who have worked on an impressive list of films, that includes: 

 

  • Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Man Tells No Tales
  • The Great Gatsby 
  • Mad Max 4 Fury Road 
  • Frank Packer Power

 

  • Wolverine
  • Superman Returns
  • Candy
  • Star Wars Revenge of the Sith

 

 

  • The Matrix Reloaded
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • Superman Returns
  • Queen of the Damned

 

 

 

Odd Studio is an Oscar, Bafta and multi award winning company at the forefront of prosthetic make up, creature effects, animatronic characters, special effects, props and models.

Both Adam and Damian have over 20 years of industry experience on a diverse range of projects, helping realize and give life to ideas and creative visions.

Their dedication to the art, practical approach and extended family of talented crew continue to keep the company in high demand for in camera effects. (Odd Studio) 

We interviewed the boys from Odd Studio about what they've been up to and advise for aspiring special effects makeup artists.

 

 

If you could pick a few highlights in your work over the past 12 months what would they be?
 
A: The past 12 months have seen some career highlights for me. Co supervising the creature effects on Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant was nothing short of an absolute honour. But the whole of 2016 was amazing for us and we feel very privileged. Starting with Alien: Covenant, followed by the Oscar/Bafta winning Mad Max, Fury Rd journey. After AC Jackie Chan's Bleeding Steel then working on Pacific Rim 2,  a UK creature feature called Possum, a new studio move/upgrade and some props for Peter Rabbit. And amongst those projects were some nice animatronic puppet work/characters for TVC's.
 
D: Alien Covenant is also my work highlight of the last 12 months, it was a real pinch yourself I can't believe we're actually working on an Alien movie with Ridley Scott!. I can't add anything to what Adam said, it's been an incredible 12 months with amazing opportunities , experiences and fantastic crew.
 
 
Why special effects makeup artistry, who was your inspiration growing up? 
 
A: As a child I was totally obsessed with creatures and monsters. Films like Star Wars, E.T., Gremlins, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Alien, The Thing, Clash Of The Titans, Jaws, King Kong & The 7 Faces of Doctor Lao were all watched on repeat. I'm very lucky to have supportive parents who encouraged my creativity from an early age. My inspirations were of course Dick Smith, Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, Steve Johnson, Chris Tucker, Stuart Freeborn, George Lucas, Phil Tippet, Ray Harryhausen & Steven Speilberg.
 
D: I also had a passion and fascination with creatures and characters from as long as I can remember, all of the artists and films Adam listed had a huge impact on shaping my career also. An American werewolf in London had a huge impact for me as well as the Thriller music video which also had some behind the scenes making of videos follow. Watching these as a 10 year old was the first time I became aware that this was a job and if other people did it maybe I could too one day.
 
 
How did you both come to work with each other, did you ever dream of having your own business?
 
D: We first worked together on Season 1 of FARSCAPE, a majority of the pre production was done in  the UK and when it came out here we were two of the first Oz crew to join the creature shop. That was back in 1998 and we did every season together after that as well as feature films in between, then in 2003 we decided to set up our own studio. For me it was something I'd always wanted to do, I'd had a small workshop prior to FARSCAPE and set up temporary spaces between seasons and features as well.
A: Having my own shop was always a goal for me and I'm very proud of how large the extended family of Odd crew has become and of the work environment we've created. 
 
 
For more information and to check out more of their work head to http://oddstudio.com
 

 

What would you advise to aspiring special effects makeup artists trying to get their foot in the door of such a competitive industry?
 
A: Build a portfolio that separates you from others. Go above and beyond what is asked of you at school or in colleges. Never stop creating art, be it drawings, sculptures, paintings or make up.
 
D: There is no excuse not to be making and practising your art. If you say you want to do prosthetics and makeup effects and you're not doing it in in your bedroom, shed or anywhere you can then you don't want to do it enough to excel. Today you have greater access to materials and knowledge than ever before. I started self teaching in my bedroom in early high school and have never stopped learning, we're not born knowing how to do things it's the doing that makes us better artists. What Adam says above about building a folio that makes you stand out is true, seeing that you've made things beyond what you did in college is a great start.
 
 
What do you both have planned for the future, do you have any upcoming projects you'd like to share with us? 
 
D: Now that we've settled in after the exhausting move I'm looking forward to getting back into more prosthetic work, last year was amazing but really creature and effects driven, I missed gluing rubber on people as much as we have in previous years. In terms of up and coming projects we can't talk specifically about new ones but stay tuned for a new addition to the Oddbod silicone life-casting range available through Barnes Products! 
 
A: We can't chat about things we're working on at the moment but we're loving the new space and enjoying putting the finishing touches on the shop.
 
 
You have an impressive list of movie productions that you have both worked on such as Mad Max 4 Fury Road, The Great Gatsby, Wolverine and Superman Returns, if you could chose a favourite production what would it be? 
 
A: Aside from the aforementioned Alien:Covenant with Ridley Scott, there is George Lucas's Revenge of the Sith and Attack Of The Clones because of my childhood obsession with the franchise (I was also one of the lucky 5 crew members who worked on the Darth Vader suit to have my name inscribed inside his helmet), there is of course George Miller's Mad Max Fury Rd and I also had a blast producing the Ghost pirates on the latest Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Men Tell No Tales. I've been blessed to work with many great and talented artists on some great productions. To answer your question, choosing one is very difficult! Ridley's Alien: Covenant will be hard to beat! 
 
D: It is hard nailing down one in particular but in terms of milestones for me I would have to say Mad Max Fury Road for the challenges it presented and seeing first hand the genius and vision of George Miller. I would also have to say FARSCAPE which gave me the opportunity to hone my skills being part of a team; making what I think is still some ambitious and at times great work in really tight time frames.
So many lasting woking relationships were forged on that show.
 
If you could pick a few favourite products to use on set to create a special effect, what would they be? 
 
A: Bluebirds triage and skin pallets are never far from my kit on set. And the ODD anti shine we developed for Pirates/ghosts.
 
D: I love colouring and painting and the colours in the Bluebird range are excellent. I love using PAX washes for some effects and Ben Nye have some great pressed powders which are great around eyes and for quick touch ups. Mike Davy's sweat stop as part of the skin prep is excellent to help keep things on all day. The big thing to remember is there are many ways to do most things; have a diverse bag of tricks so you don't get stuck if your go to product isn't available. 
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