Category Archives: Make-up Effects

Atomic Tiki Terrors Art Show

Creatures Features in Burbank, one of my favorite galleries, has invited me and a slew of other terrific artists to join in their brand new “Atomic Tiki Terrors” art show. It opens on July 19 and runs through August 9, 2015. It is a combination of two Mid Century American fads which are just as popular today as they were back then; Tiki Culture and The Monster Craze. Both were part of the fallout (pun intended) of the Cold War era. The possibility of Nuclear Annihilation drove Americans to drown their fears in fruity tropical drinks and lounge music, or to seek out Monster movies and television shows which provided scares, jumps, and the promise of escape from the all too real terror that surround them daily.

For my Atomic/Tiki mashup, I went back to one of the favorite monsters of my youth. When I was just the right age, I saw a little black and white film called “War of the Colossal Beast”, which was the sequel to AIP’s “The Amazing Colossal Man”. The films tell the tale of Air Force Col. Glen Manning who bravely disobeys orders and tries to rescue some folks who crashed their light plane into the Nevada Test Site. Unfortunately for Glen, he is unable to reach the plane before the “Plutonium Bomb” they were testing detonates, showering him with radiation. Instead of killing him though, the extreme radiation causes Glen’s cells to grow rapidly, repairing his injuries, and causing him to grow to 60 feet tall. The rapid growth takes both his hair and his sanity. Eventually, the madness causes Glen to escape his military handlers and run rampant through the Las Vegas strip, causing untold toy car damage. He is finally herded to Boulder Dam where he is forced over the edge by a bazooka shot. He falls to his death, or DOES HE? In “War” we find out the fall didn’t kill Manning. It only ripped half his face off and caused severe brain damage. The gory exposed skull makeup, necessary because they had to use a different actor to play Manning, was paired with some impressive sound work.  The Beast couldn’t speak. He could only growl and yell. With an appropriate amount of echo added, he is a giant after all, it made the Beast truly frightening for a young Monster Kid like me.

The Monster was set. Now I had to figure out what to do with him. The Tiki-themed paintings I researched always depicted a lush, tranquil setting. Music was a key factor as well. I thought the juxtaposition of a raging, howling mad Beast who could not speak, serenading a beautiful woman with giant Ukulele music would be a hoot. Trust me, when you see the film you will agree. So, here it is, “Colossal Lullaby” for your review.

Colossal Lullaby painting by Mark Tavares

“Colossal Lullaby” 18 x 24. Acrylic on Oak Panel. © Mark Tavares

The show has a great collection of art on display. If you like “low” art and have a thing for the Monsters, this show is for you, baby! Thanks for looking!


Also posted in Art for Sale, Gallery Showings, General Musings, Paintings for Sale Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Planet of the Apes Art Show

There are a couple of fun things to report. I am joining a group show in June, and possibly one in May! They are both being held at the same place, Creature Features in Burbank, CA ( The show in June takes on the “Planet of the Apes” film franchise and features all manner of Planet of the Apes Art. It coincides with the release of the new film “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. I have a couple of ideas for paintings, one of which will feature the makeup artists who were responsible for creating the groundbreaking look of the original series characters, as well as inspiring folks like me to pursue makeup as a career. Here are the first sketches. There will be more to come as I progress.

Painted sketch of Makeup Artist John Chambers

7 x 9. Oil and Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

7 x 9. Oil and Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

7 x 9. Oil and Acrylic on Masonite. © Mark Tavares

I did mention another show, didn’t I? Well, Creature Features is also doing a group show in May to coincide with the release of the brand new “Godzilla” film. Exciting stuff! I wasn’t aware of the show until recently. I was going to bypass it and put all my energy into the “Apes” project. However, a few ideas have popped into my brain for that show as well. Stay tuned! It’s going to be a busy couple of months!

Thanks for looking!


Also posted in General Musings, New Art, Paintings for Sale Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Stuart Freeborn (1914 – 2013)

The Make-up Industry lost a giant this week, with the passing of Stuart Freeborn.

Over a 60 year career, he created an amazing array of memorable characters. I won’t go into a breakdown of his career accomplishments here. There are many other sites that have already covered it much better than I could. What I will say is that while he worked on a huge variety of feature films, it was his contributions to the a little film series called “Star Wars”, in particular the creation of it’s most famous Jedi, that had the greatest impact on me. As I have stated before, “Star Wars” cemented my desire to work in Special Effects. It seemed like every magazine on the subject always had a picture of Stuart, or his wife or son, brushing out Chewbacca’s coat or doing touch ups on his mask.

Even though they may have been staged publicity shots, I always loved the way Stuart would always be shown in the lab, wearing a nice dress shirt and cravat under a beige Artist’s smock. My favorite of all those “in progress” shots shows Stuart working on a sculpture of Yoda’s head. What makes it special for me is that, in addition to his usual professional attire, he is also wearing a “Superman” watch. It’s a nice, whimsical touch.


In honor of his passing, I thought I might paint up my own take on that moment of film history.

Stuart Freeborn working on a sculpture of Yoda

Celebrating the life and career of British Make-up and Special Effects artist, Stuart Freeborn, who created the most recognized Jedi in all the Universe.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Freeborn. Thank you for all the inspiration.

-Mark T

Also posted in General Musings, Things that Inspire, Uncategorized

Happy Halloween 2012!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone here, a belated “Happy Halloween”, and share a picture or two of the outfit my lovely wife, Erin Haggerty, wore to work for the day!

Erin as an "Eye of the Beholder" Nurse

My lovely wife!!

This year, instead of a zombie or some other generic subject, Erin decided to go as a specific character. For those of you under 25 who might not recognize it, she is portraying a nurse from the classic “Twilight Zone” episode, “Eye of the Beholder”.  Here is a clip from the episode featuring the make-ups.


Erin had been wanting to do this for the past two years. We talked about it on and off, but never really decided to pull the trigger on it. That was until we were passing by a second hand shop in September and found the perfect Nurse’s outfit. Now the pressure was on. To make matters worse, Erin’s boss had high expectations as well. Time to get to work!

Working for Don Post Studios for the past several years, there has been no call for me to create appliance make-ups. Erin’s make-ups for the previous Halloween seasons were accomplished using generic store bought appliances and materials. I decided it was time to suck it up and get back to my Make-up Effects roots.

I bought Ultracal-30.

I bought a kit of Foam Latex.

I bought clay!

I bought a FOAM OVEN!

Long story short, it was great to get back “into harness”. I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed the art of doing make-ups like this. It was also interesting re-learning some of the technical steps of the process. In the end, there were some rough spots. Still, for not having done a real make-up in some years, I am actually quite happy with the result.

It also worked out well for Erin too. During her many years at NBC/Universal Studios, Erin was one of the very few people who did anything for Halloween. So, there wasn’t a whole lot of competition. This year, however, she went to work for the “G4” Television Network. They share a building with both the “Style” and “E-Entertainment” networks. These three companies take Halloween VERY seriously. Lots of folks dress up. There is a pumpkin carving exhibition and, of course, a costume contest. With big prizes at stake and the whole building watching, I am proud to say I helped Erin tie for third place. I was given to understand competition was fierce. Both “E” and “Style” who usually sweep the awards, had some heavy hitters. Erin held her own though. I am very satisfied. Next year, we go for FIRST!

Must start planning now…

So, how was YOUR Halloween?

The New Foam OvenBake-outFoam RunningNurse ErinErin at G4
Also posted in Eye of the Beholder, G4, Halloween, Twilight Zone