Making Monsters With Robin Fuqua
To call Robin Fuqua “skilled” would be an insult to the massive store of talent that this particular Woman in Horror possesses. With over ten years of experience as a special effects makeup artist and some pretty impressive work attached to her name. A freelancer, she relies heavily on her skill and reputation to carry her to her next job while working towards her own goals as an artist and horror lover. I got a chance to talk to Robin recently and was excited to hear what she had to say.
Dan- We’ll start out easy. Do you have a favorite creature feature or SFX/makeup heavy horror movie?
Robin- My favorite creature by a landslide is the Xenomorph Queen from Aliens. I'm such a fan of actual people wearing suits and letting the SFX Makeup teams do their jobs. The Queen is so beautifully imagined and the detail is mind blowing.
Dan- What interested you in special effects and makeup?
Robin- I'm a fine artist and have been a painter since I was 14. Horror is my absolute favorite genre so it's a no brainer.
Dan- Who would you say has been the biggest influence in your career so far?
Robin- The biggest influence on my career is makeup legend Maurice Stein, owner of Cinema Secrets in Burbank. We met in 2003 and became friends. His application techniques are impeccable and were taught to me over the span of a year. I worked for him on and off for over ten years. He's a brilliant artist and businessman and I highly respect him.
Dan- How did you turn your interest in special effects into a career?
Robin- Word of mouth started my FXMU career.I started doing demos and small jobs for Cinema Secrets and it just snowballed from their The community is small so word travels fast.
Dan- What is the most challenging part of your work in the industry?
Robin- Honestly, the most challenging part of the industry for me is just getting consistent work. That and getting into my union. The joys of being freelance. You have to find your flow and rhythm. It's hard at first and you question everything about your talents. But once you find your confidence it's like riding a bike.
Dan- What has been your favorite project or design so far?
Robin- I worked on a project called "100 Years of Beauty - Aging" by Field Day. I was part of an FX team who took a soon to be married couple in their early 20's and aged them into their 40's, 60's, and 80's. After each transformation (they were facing away from each other) we would turn them and reveal them to each other. We gave them mirrors to see themselves and interviewed them on where they thought they might be together at those points in their lives. I've never been a part of something that moved my heart like that. There wasn't a dry eye on the set.
Dan- What is your dream project? What would you most like to work on in your profession?
Robin- My dream project? It would be my own horror movie. Being able to write, direct, and do the practical SFX for my own vision would be killer.
Dan- As a woman in horror and in Hollywood how do you view your role in the industry? Do you feel that you’ve had extra obstacles to overcome in your career due to gender?
Robin- I've always felt respected in my field. I've worked as a freelance SFXMU artist, taught students, worked in labs, and I've always been greeted with admiration and comradery. The industry isn't as much a "boy club" as it was before.
Dan- What advice would you offer to those looking to start a career in SFX and makeup?
Robin- Be grateful and professional on even the smallest jobs. That's how you get work. Our industry has an excellent memory when it comes to people who are talented and a pleasure to work with so don't be an asshole. Do your best work. Be swift. Be on time. Be memorable.
Robin is an amazing artist with a unique vision and style that carries over into her work. You can find her on social media as @robinfuquasfx where you’ll get an even better look at the wide range and depth of her creativity. With an energetic, eccentric personality and a passion even greater than her talent, Robin is an SFX wizard whose work continues to amaze. This Woman in Horror is always looking for a new project to join so, if you’re making that scary (and we know you are) you’ll want Robin Fuqua making your monsters. Dan Lee is a horror fiend and freelance writer with a special place in his heart for monster movies and demonic possession stories.
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