A Conversation with Michael & McKenzie Westmore
Isn’t it fascinating to watch a film these days and not be totally sure of what you’re seeing anymore?
Sometimes it’s something as simple as someone’s eye color – wait, are those contacts that are making her eyes that color? Or did they do that digitally?
Those are some really precise points on his ears, is that a prosthetic or did they do that on a computer?
I’m not selling the digital animators short here, not at all – Though I do feel inclined to ask; whatever happened to the artistry in the approach of creating something in a hands-on manner?
The SyFy series Face Off ensures that the world of hands-on artistry is firmly intact. The reality series pits talented special effects makeup artists against each other by challenging them to bring their most creative creatures to life.
The beautiful actress and host of Face Off, McKenzie Westmore, her father the legendary makeup artist Michael Westmore and I had an extremely cool conversation about the Westmore family line when it comes to makeup and the business of show – we also discuss the need for creativity, how Face Off shows that there is still a hunger for hands-on creations and it how it feeds that hunger.
Since the 1920’s, every major studio in Hollywood has been blessed to have had a Westmore in its makeup department. This was of course before the days of digital animation or the advanced artistry seen in makeup appliances these days.
Show business runs through the veins of the Westmores. “When I first met Marion, she was modeling a famous dress that was going to be worn in Shenandoah.” Michael affectionately remembered the first time he laid eyes on the woman who would become his wife. They’ve been married for nearly 50 years.
As big of a thing as makeup was in the family, it almost didn’t happen for the Oscar and 9 time Emmy award-winning artist.
“I used to go to work with my mother when I was little; she had to work on Saturdays. I would go and I would play. I ate a lot of ice cream and would just play around the lot at Warner Brothers. Later on, I had become an art history major and was planning to start doing graduate work in art history when an apprenticeship opened up at Universal. I really wasn’t interested in going into makeup. When the apprenticeship opened up, I told my uncle that if I didn’t like doing this then I’m going back to school. Once I started the apprenticeship, I loved it. Everything I was doing in college, the painting, the sculpting – all of it had become part of what I was doing.” Michael said.Continued on the next page