November 12th, 2014
There’s a new date for your diary: The Prosthetics Event, hosted by Neill Gorton, takes place next Sunday, 16th November in Birmingham. Warpaint caught up with the man himself to ask what’s brought him into events and why we should all be going.
The event is billed as an educational and shopping event for people interested in prosthetics, make-up FX and related fields, including their use in everything from major film and television productions to scare attractions and cosplay, and is designed to cater for professionals, students, hobbyists and fans alike.
“I wanted to create something different to the big shows in London. The make-up industry is broad and multi-faceted, and these events do all-encompassing very well, but for me and my area of prosthetics, we are very much an add-on. The Prosthetics Event is really about us: the prosthetics, SFX, bodypainting, moulding, sculpting side of things,” Neill explains.
It’s fair to say that the Prosthetics Event is very much reflective of Neill’s career. “I’ve watched how my particular niche has become more and more main stream, and seen how the fanatical following of certain films and TV shows has catapulted prosthetics, SFX and body art into the limelight. I wanted to be able to showcase that on its own, for anyone that’s interested to see.”
Neill has for many years championed both constant education and giving back to the next generation in the form of tutorials, lecturing as well as his own training schools. Since the advent of social media, make-up artists in particular have found a real sense of community in the virtual world. “The life of a make-up artist is lonely,” Neill concurs, “What social media has afforded is a way for pro artists to showcase and critique their work, share ideas, get help and make connections with A list MUAs simply not possible even 5 years ago.”
Neill is certainly all over Social Media with numerous Facebook forums set up to do just that, create a platform for young up-and-coming MUAs to make connections with more established names, get advice and tips. Such has the interest been that really an event was the next logical step. Neill is keen to bring an element of the newbie support to the Event in the form of the Portfolio Surgery, where 20 lucky winners will have their work privately critiqued with tips and advice from some of the biggest names in the industry.
“When we lost Dick Smith, who was an inspiration to me from when I was a boy long before I met him, it got me thinking. Dick was a huge believer in paying it forward and inspiring the next generation of MUAs. He was always painfully honest, but so kind with it. The Portfolio Surgery is my nod to Dick.”
The Event is only a day and deliberately hosted in Birmingham so it can be easily accessed from all parts of the country. “Not everyone lives in London,” Neill laughs, “I’d have had it in Cornwall if I could, but I think that would have been a stretch.” The choice of location was in fact based on a constant complaint that Neill hears that London isn’t the easiest or cheapest place to get to. “It also means that I can bring London-based brands to Birmingham – Charles Fox, ScreenFace and PAM will all be retailing,” he goes on.
Another key element of the event is the guest speakers and their very first line up is impressive indeed. The array of talent at the event is like a ‘Who’s Who’ of prosthetics and make-up FX. The Headline Artist is one of the most successful prosthetics designers on the planet – David White who was responsible for the prosthetics in this year’s summer blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy.
In the past four years alone David has created the prosthetics for seven big budget movies including Captain America, The First Avenger, Snow White and the Huntsman and Thor, The Dark World. Across a 30-year career David has become one of the most respected prosthetic designers in the industry.
“He is usually too busy making movies to speak at events, so we’re delighted he’s made time in his schedule to be with us at The Prosthetics Event. It’s a rare opportunity to hear about his work first hand and he will be in discussion with me about his career and his work on the lecture theatre stage.”
A few other names amongst a host of prolific industry starts are Steve Painter, Make-Up FX Supervisor on Brad Pitt’s movie of the moment Fury, Cliff Wallace, animatronics wizard Chris Clarke, Emmy winning Make-Up Designer Veronica MacAleer, The Birmingham Rep Theatre’s Head of Wigs and Make-Up Andrew Whiteoak, 2012 World Champion body painter Hyewon Ahn, superstar Cosplayer and foam latex expert Tabitha Lyons, camouflage make-up specialist Victoria Lee, Chris Lyons CEO of Fangs FX, Jemma Puri Director of The Reel Eye Company, Kate Walshe SFX Producer at Millennium FX, Lisa and Anthony Parker industry veterans and Skeleton Heart artists, renowned concept artist, prosthetics designer and teacher David Bonneywell, world- leading creature designer Aris Kolokontes from Greece, concept artist and Goya Award-winning prosthetics artist Arturo Belseiro from Spain, as well as Gorton Studio’s Manager Danny Marie Elias, who recently did Halloween prosthetics for The X-Factor’s live show.
“Also amongst the educators is face painter Nikki Shelley who has been in the news rather a lot after the announcement that she would be at the event. Nikki is self-taught, has only been painting for 18 months and does all her work at home on herself. She’s incredibly talented and we’re delighted she will be making her first public appearance as an educator at The Prosthetics Event.” Neill explains.
“A great feature of the event will be that the world famous Stan Winston School of Character Arts in LA who offer a huge catalogue of amazing online courses will be providing specially edited tutorials to be shown on the big screen in the lecture theatre as part of the education schedule,” he goes on.
Alongside The Prosthetics Event comes the Monster Mash, “Whilst this following a similar model to Monsterpalooza in the States, I do realise that there’s not the same market for that here in the UK. The Collectables and Horror genre is so much more established Stateside. The Monster Mash at The Prosthetics Event is more of a showcase for the talents of the creature artists who work along side us MUAs,” explains Neill.
With plenty planned on the day, Neill and his team hope that anyone with an interest in the prosthetics side of the industry will enjoy the Event. “There’s room in the market for something like The Prosthetics Event, it can only help to grow this side of the industry as it’s a very exciting time to be doing what we’re doing,” Neill concludes.
The Prosthetics Event takes place this Sunday 16th November at the Aston Conference Centre in central Birmingham from 9am until 5pm, and has now sold out of advanced tickets. There will be very limited availability on the door which will go on sale from 8.30am, these are on a first come first served basis, so you’ll need to get there early. Once these tickets have gone, no further entry will be allowed. Neill and the team are keen to stress that they cannot guarantee entry without a ticket.