The Wax Statue

During the earlier part of November I was able to fulfill a long-standing, bucket-list level personal wish and spend a few hours wandering through Guillermo Del Toro’s collection of monster and comic book ephemera. It was, to put it mildly, a life changing experience.

We arrived at the LACMA early on a Saturday morning, and were greeted by a statue of this fellow:

death-deltoro

That was just the beginning. A whole wing of the museum had been set aside to showcase the collection of my absolute favorite director. I saw props from movies going back to the beginning of the art form. Wax statues wearing actual costumes from movies like the Bride of Frankenstein, Crimson Peak, and Hellboy.

frank

I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. It was like something was following me around the building, but I couldn’t put my finger on it…

mother

There where original pages from comic books going back to the 1960’s, and statues of genre giants like Ray Harryhausen, H.P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allan Poe. The Poe statue was pretty cool, and the room he was in was full of Victoriana. And a really weird wax of someone I couldn’t place. He was propped up against the wall, like some sort of diminutive, vaguely Asian Tor Johnson wannabe. He was also one of the few standing waxes, and the only one propped against a wall.

poe-wax

I got a little closer to the Poe, trying to figure out who the dude against the wall was. I needed to be a little sneaky, since there were super cool film nerds all over the place, and the last thing I wanted to do was let on that I didn’t know who this guy was. Just look at him, though: He had to be someone

poe-wax-2

I got closer to the guy, and right when I was about 5 inches away, he reached up, scratched his nose, and went back to sleep. I choked back a scream, and tried to act like my sudden ability to levitate was perfectly natural.

My wife pointed out his ID badge, and really, it should have been a pretty strong clue to his being a real, live human being. Then again, he looks like a freaking wax statue, and if there is anything I have learned from Westworld, I really shouldn’t take any chances, right?

Regardless, it was the visit of a lifetime. I wish we had more time, and that the building had been empty. It was really hard to stand and gawk at everything for the appropriate amount of time. I could have spent an hour looking at these guys alone:

toothsome

Workbench Wednesday: Sucky Job Edition

Here’s a look at what I have going on this week on the “workbench,” which is actually a couple of spiral-bound sketchbooks. Unless I’m sculpting, in which case it really is a workbench.

My creative process is pretty wonky, but it works for me. I sit down with a paper and pen, and just start doodling. I learned this (and a lot more) from a few Jake Parker videos at the awesome Society of Visual Storytelling. Just sitting pen to paper gets the hand warmed up, and gets your brain synched up with your fingers. From there, you either end up with some ideas that you can expand on, or you just spent some time warming up. If ideas come, I work on those next, if it’s a warm-up session, I try and work on projects that I started earlier. Most of this happens between 11pm and 3am, which seems to be when I am at my most creative.

This week has been all about the (surprise!) monsters. I started out working on a new book project chock full of mythological monsters from around the world, but my brain decided that it wanted to draw classic movie monsters with lousy jobs.

A couple of these will get expanded upon, and probably end up in one of the books. The old Strigoi might end up in something else altogether; he’s just the right amount of creepy, so I’ll flag him in the creepy file for later.

Guillermo del Toro Exhibit at LACMA

Guillermo del Toro has directed some of my favorite movies in the horror movie genre. His style blends iconic gothic imagery in the classic Hammer horror style with a vivid love of color and fairy tales. Pan’s Labyrinth, the Devil’s Backbone, and Crimson Peak all deliver plenty of scares, but immerse you in such beautiful landscapes that you almost forget to jump when the monsters come out.

ex8194_crimsonpeak
Film Still from Crimson Peak, 2016 c Legendary/Universal

Guiellermo del Toro’s work has been a huge influence on me as an illustrator. His movies have an extraordinary visual narrative to them, and I swear visually creative people are seeing an entirely different movie than your standard film-goer. I have spent many hours in slack-jawed reverence over his Cabinet of Curiosities book, just studying a master at work. To be able to see the man’s work in person would probably reduce me to tears.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has collaborated with del Toro to showcase an assortment of artifacts from his personal collection; del Toro has been collecting memorabilia from horror movies made over the past century, as well as sketch pages and artifacts from his own films.

The layout of the exhibit is like a maze, with props from Hellboy displayed nearby wax statues of Frankenstein’s monster. Each section of the maze is laid out thematically, and del Toro’s personal touch is apparent throughout. Just thinking about this collection makes my head spin!

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Picture from Makeupmag.com

Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters runs at the LACMA until November 27th, 2016. Look for me desperately trying to hide behind the Boris Korloff bust… I just want to live there…

For more pictures and information, check out this article on Make-Up Artist Magazine.