Saturday 29 June 2024

Interview With JC Wylde By David Kempf

JC Wylde

When did you first become interested in horror?

I've been interested in horror as far back as I can remember. I don't remember a time where I wasn't interested in horror. I do remember hints, bits and pieces of pop culture that led me to have a great interest in horror, but I cannot place the exact moment. I remember reading Cracked magazine at my grandmother's house in the early 80s and seeing a lot of cartoony horror characters, and since I am Canadian, we had the Hilarious House of Frankenstein which I also started watching at a very very early age which definitely influenced me greatly. It was a kid's show so I was allowed to watch it from the very start, maybe two or three years old. I was never scared of horror so my parents never outlawed or dissuade me from watching or reading stuff like that. Michael Jackson was also a huge influence on me both artistically and musically, so watching the Thriller video at about 3 years old was something indescribable, I watched it over and over and over, and then my parents bought the VHS of the making of Thriller, and I got to see Rick Baker doing the effects and makeup on MJ, I know that definitely burned into my brain and influenced me in countless ways. 

I also vividly remember taking regular trips to the video store with my mother, and making a direct beeline straight to the horror section even though I was only six or seven years old possibly younger, and wasn't allowed to rent any, I loved looking at the scary, creepy, and even funny horror covers, the artwork was SO amazing and fascinating it definitely influenced my future artwork.

When did you first create your own mask?

I created my first mask in 2007 after stumbling across a latex mask/bust website called Night Owl Productions owned and operated by Justin Mabry (Co-founder and co-owner of Trick or Treat studios) Justin has been a HUGE artistic influence and inspiration to me. over my 17 year career. To me Friday the 13th Part 7 specifically, that look and makeup of Jason Voorhees is the best makeup I have ever seen or at least my favorite. So when I stumbled across this website I couldn't believe this was a latex bust / mask, it looked exactly like the movie so until doing a little bit more research I was convinced it was a picture from the movie. 

Once I found out it was an actual piece of latex that an artist sculpted, I was hooked, it was like falling in love with a woman. No hyperbole or exaggeration, I had literally Fallen head over heels in love, and did everything I could to learn everything I could about sculpting, casting, painting and making latex masks/busts. It became an obsession. I began by ordering the full kit from monster makers, and began sculpting immediately, I will be honest and tell you this lol, I was awful for at least the first five years, many people told me I was terrible, and that I should just stop, I am not a quitter, so I kept going and improving and sculpting more and more and more, until finally after about 5 years I began to be recognized and complimented for my improved work.

When did you begin to sell masks?

I began selling my art immediately after sculpting my first piece, even though it was absolutely atrocious lol, The Mask Market was very new in those days and no matter how terrible my pieces were, people still bought them (Not too many though) because there were very few options.

But after 5 years, my sales began to be steady
Who are your favorite makeup artists?

As I mentioned in the second question, I think John Carl Buechler's makeup for Jason in Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood, is if not the greatest Horror/monster makeup of all time, is at least my favorite. The "Best" would Obviously be Rob Bottin's work on John Carpenter's "The Thing" I was very fortunate to be able to work on some cool movies in my career, Wolfcop 2, Stakelander 2, many independent horror films, and I even got to create a pumping heart for the movie "The Recall" with Wesley Snipes and RJ Mitte.

Dick Smith was actually not a conscious influence on me. I did not know any of his work, or was not educated on any of his work until I was in my late 30's and had already been doing this for several years. Subsequently I had educated myself on his work and had realized I had grown up watching his creations, he just wasn't a conscious influence.

Why do people like horror so much?

Horror has always been, and always will be popular because it is ingrained in our culture, society, psyches. It is a way for us to experience death and fear without actually having to physically experience it. Psychologically it is a very healthy outlet and studies show that it is beneficial for the human brain to experience horror and fear via the big screen.

I think people enjoy being scared because it is a way to get the blood flowing for some people who may not live a very exciting life?

I an a musician/songwriter as well as an artist, so my Inspirations come from everywhere, and I mean literally everywhere.

I couldn't even begin to make a list of who or what inspires me because it is all around me, but I will list a few people for fun:

Justin Mabry (Night Owl, Trick or Treat Studios), Bob Primeau (Scarewear), Michael Jackson, Zakk Wylde, etc etc.

What are some of your favorite horror books? 

For the most part I don't read fiction, I only read nonfiction. But my favorite Horror fiction, that I have read several times is 1984 by George Orwell, which as we all know as the years go by is no longer considered fiction.

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

Oh wow! I have so many favorites but I will name a few, the very first horror movie I ever watched in full was Child's Play when I was 9 years old in 1988 and that had a Monumental effect on me, so that is absolutely one of my favorites. The original Fright night, the Shining, the original first four Halloween movies as well as the latest three, yes I LOVED Halloween ends. 

My favorite horror series is Friday the 13th, Trick r treat, Back christmas, Nightbreed, The spookies, Hellraiser 1 through 4, the Thing, Suspiria, even the remake is amazing. Evil dead but only the first one. Killer clowns from outer space, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1,2 and 4, The Hunger, American Werewolf in london, House, Return to the living dead, They live, A Clockwork orange, Pin, and two of my favorite horror movies of all time House of 1000 corpses, and the devil's rejects.

What are your current projects?

My current project is that I am about to do a full line of large basketball size madballs called Wyldeballs, I have done a line of smaller softball sized versions, but I am embarking on a quest to do Large display versions for series collectors. I will definitely do a few classic Recreations of original madballs, but I plan on doing a bunch of horror versions of new characters.

Please in your own words write a paragraph about yourself and your work.

I definitely love what I do, it is very therapeutic for me personally, I have been through many struggles with addiction in my life and have been able to turn everything around 180° with the help of music and of course my artwork. Sculpting, painting, and music are three of the greatest forms of therapy that I could ever suggest anyone try. They have helped me to stay sober for many many years and I thank them for that. My work is always improving, and even after 17 years I still have a lot to learn, as does every artist whether they think so or not. I don't think I will ever stop doing what I dox whether it's for a job or simply enjoyment, though I do have to scale down my work as I get older lol, I'm only 45 and in fantastic shape, however lifting 100 lb molds filled with 100 lb of latex is extremely taxing on the back and I'm definitely feeling the effects of it as the years go by. So I will be making smaller Creations in the coming years.