We had the pleasure of interviewing Hollywood Makeup Artist, Makeup Effects Artist, and Sculptor: Joel Harlow. Joel is best known for The Pirate of the Caribbean films, and he has won 2 Emmy Awards as well as Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Award. He shared with us useful information for aspiring makeup artists and behind the scenes details on the movies he has worked on.
What do you specialize in?
All types of makeup, however, prosthetic character makeup for film is my specialty.
What do you love most about your career?
Creating characters. Seeing something I’ve been involved with take shape and come to life.
How did you get started as a makeup artist?
I started in the makeup effects shops in LA. Building prosthetic. Ultimately I was needed to apply some of these makeups due to the complexity of the design, specifically the “working effects” makeups I was involved in.
What is your favorite special effects makeup you have done?
I would have to say it’s a three way tie between Pirates of the Caribbean’s “Bootstrap Bill”, Star Trek’s “Nero”, and a makeup I did for a demonstration: “Uncle Creepy”.
What is the most challenging makeup job you have done?
They are all a challenge in one way or another. The second you start relaxing and stop challenging yourself and your art. That’s when you need to get out.
Any advice for aspiring makeup artists?
Learn from anyone, anywhere…always. Don’t ever allow the politics of this industry to get in the way of your makeup. If you get to the place where you are heading shows then appreciate your crew!
Make sure you are in this for the right reason. This industry doesn’t need anymore people who think they are the star.
If you would like to see Joel at work check out this great video where he creates “Uncle Creepy”