More than 200 hundred people gathered at the Pasadena Convention Center in an evening that celebrated not only Make-Up Artist magazine’s 20-year anniversary, but the make-up industry itself and the creative artists behind it. Hosted by Matt Winston, son of Stan Winston and founder of the Stan Winston School of Character Arts and McKenzie Westmore, of Face Off and daughter to the legendary Michael Westmore, the festivities were laced with laughter, magic and remembrance. Guests included Howard Berger, Mark Coulier, Leonard Engelman, Joel Harlow and Ve Neill.
Magic in the Moonlight Gala graced the invitees with a plated dinner, drinks and entertainment by magician Dan Birch, who turned doves into poodles and handkerchiefs into flying parrots. “What’s special about tonight is the importance to realize that 100 years of film history should not be discarded,” said Winston. “CGI has been the big revolutionary tool in the last 20 years, but all these other techniques that have been developed by masters like my dad, Rick Baker, Jack Pierce and others should never be forgotten. The key to creating magic is blending it all. The second thing is sharing that information so we can improve in this industry. Events like these allow us to remind ourselves of that.”
The history of the makeup industry was acknowledged – everyone from pioneers like Stuart Freeborn, the man behind the first Star Wars trilogy, Way Bandy, Paul Starr, Kevyn Aucoin and Stan Winston to those pushing creativity today – Rob Bottin, Greg Cannom, Alex Box, Guillermo Del Toro, Neill Gorton, Nick Dudman and many others.
Scott Jones from Key Publishing Group said, “Tonight is about celebrating the make-up industry. As artists you know what it’s like to sacrifice and we are here to recognize all those accomplishments.”
Emmy award-winning make-up artist and Make-Up Artist publisher Michael Key said it was an honor to be amongst his friends and colleagues. “When we started the magazine in 1996, we set out to create awareness of what the make-up artist brings to a project. Little did I know, what I thought was going to be a small coffee table book, turned into something that inspires, educates, unites and connects artists together. If a make-up artist does their job really well, you’re not thinking of the character but rather enjoying the story. It’s been our mission to illustrate all the genius work that’s out there and I think we’ve done a great job fulfilling that mission.”
Many of the artists in attendance echoed the success of Make-Up Artist and for Alex Noble (The Devil Inside, I Am Number Four) the magazine is a portal into other artist’s minds. “I’m a working makeup artist and when you read through the pages it gives insight into other perfect ways to an end result you’re hoping to achieve. It’s a resourceful outlet, a gateway into someone’s creativity that teaches you new techniques and illustrates different ways of thinking.”
The evening was one big family reunion, and Winston recognized how special this group of artists really is. “I was born into this industry. I grew up with many of the people in this room and it’s always been a labor of love. McKenzie comes from a long legacy of artists and we have the same feeling. This is our family and we want to speak up for our family – the true magicians of Hollywood.”