Have you heard of SyFy’s competition series, Face Off? It’s an absolutely crazy show where special effects make-up artists participate in elaborate challenges for a grand prize and the honor of being Hollywood’s next great effects artist.
We at American Hat Makers love seeing what other creative minds can do, so naturally this show was right up our alley! Seeing the contestants give their all at something they are so passionate about is awe inspiring!
We’ve been introduced to some really unique and talented individuals such as Cig Neutron! As the love child of 80’s campiness and 50’s sci-fi, Cig Neutron has been creating creatures from his imagination — his “Cig Neutron Universe” — since childhood. He crafts an elaborate story for all the creatures he designs in order to better realize his sculpts.
He is currently a special effects make-up artist and a freelance sculptor, and co-founder of his company Bizarro Au Go-Go. In 2013, he won the Son of Monsterpalooza costume contest with his Baphomet makeup. Cig and his girlfriend Rani enjoy dressing up in full creature makeup and going out to karaoke bars.
We also got to meet the amazing Rachael Wagner! Rachael Wagner is an accomplished makeup artist with a professional concentration in special effects makeup, creating and applying highly realistic prosthetics for film, television and live events. She is a graduate of Make-up Designory’s Master Program and a finalist in multiple IMATS Battle of the Brushes events. She has worked with and for many diverse clientele, including Fall Out Boy, National Geographic, Girl Scouts of America, the Metropolitan Opera, Universal Studios, Hyundai, Nerdist, Syfy, MGMT, Solar City, Sheroes Entertainment LLC , the Magic Castle and DragonCon. Rachael has returned to freelancing after almost a year of working as Global Effects Inc’s project supervisor, a prestigious costume and fabrication shop with whom she had the honor of working on many special projects, including Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Castle, the upcoming film Geostorm and a host of live events including Universal’s stage shows.
Among others we had the pleasure of interacting with was RJ Haddy! Robert “RJ” Haddy’s goal when he was cast in season two of Face Off was to give his career a push so that he could quit teaching high school and work full time on his art. Mission accomplished. These days, RJ works full time creating special effects and running an e-commerce site selling airbrush equipment, including his own Shadow line of brushes. He hopes that his new confidence and refined techniques will propel him to new heights in the special FX world. He’d like to use the champion’s prize money to build up his airbrush business, and also to allow his mother to retire. His favorite movies with special effects are Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Little Shop of Horrors, Star Wars, Batman (1989), Beetlejuice and Gremlins.
Seeing our hats grace the heads of such inspiring, driven, and creative individuals is exactly why we do what we do. Being around others who have the same mission to create art and impact the community pushes us to reach for higher standards when it comes to every aspect of the way we do things. Don’t forget to check into Syfy channel on January 24th for the newest season of Face Off and keep an eye out for the latest and greatest in headwear only from American Hat Makers.