Local 706 - The Artisan

Winter 2019

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42 • THE ARTISAN WINTER 2019 Photos courtesy of Ken Diaz Ken Diaz has been a make-up artist in film and television for over 40 years. Some of his awards include two Academy Award ® nominations for his work on Dad with Jack Lemon and Olympia Dukakis and My Family with Edward James Olmos, Jimmy Smits and Jennifer Lopez. He has also won three Emmys for Alien Nation, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Westworld, as well as three additional Emmy nominations. Ken has been a personal make-up artist for some of Hollywood's most talented and demanding Academy award-winning actors and actresses: Robert Duvall, Jon Voight, Robert De Niro, Faye Dunaway and Mickey Rourke, with whom he shares a very close relationship. His managerial skills, problem-solving and innovative approaches as the special make-up effects coordinator on John Carpenter's The Thing were instrumental in creating many of the film's milestone special make-up effects. Ken also came up with the formula for the first successful full-face gelatin make-up appliance ever used on screen for Heartbeeps with Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters, which earned Stan Winston an Academy Award nomination. He is also a well-respected lecturer and educator, giving his time and sharing his talents over the years. Ken is the creator and founder of K.D. 151 Make-up Products, many of which have become the industry standard for the professional make-up artist. Ken's accomplishments in the areas of age transitions, tattoos, prosthetics, facial hair, and character and beauty make-up are well known in the industry. And the stories of his unorthodox handling of actors, directors and producers are so outrageous and over-the-top that most people find them hard to believe. However, they are absolutely true and have created the legend of the Macho Makeup Man who gets the job done, no matter what obstacles are thrown at him. In fact, from the very beginning of his career, Ken has never said, "No, that can't be done," and he has been backing up that claim ever since. We sat down with Ken for an in-depth interview. Editor's note: This is part one of a three-part series. Artisan: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. There is one legendary story that we would like you to begin with and that is that you never wanted to be a make-up artist. Is that true? Ken: (laughing) Yes, very true. I was raised by a dad that wanted to make sure that his sons were tough and prepared for the real world. I had many different jobs when I was young. I worked in a steel mill, did carpentry, painting, worked on cars and rebuilt engines. Needless to say, I wasn't afraid to get my hands dirty. Artisan: Not exactly the picture of a make-up artist. Ken: (still laughing) Not really, but I also liked to cook and I took some classes in a school for culinary arts. I was hav- A N I N T E R V I E W W I T H KEN DIAZ M A K E - U P A R T I S T ing some difficulties with one of my instructors, and during the summer break of 1974, I was questioning whether this was the right school for me. When I saw a TV special on pyrotechnics in film, I said, "Hey, I can do that!" So I went to the Yellow Pages (there was no Google back then) and looked up special effects. There was this school, Elegance Academy of Professional Make- up, that listed a special effects course as part of their curriculum, but it turned out to be a special make-up effects course. That looked kind of cool, but not quite what I was looking for, so I continued my search. After several months of searching, I was not able to find any other inroads. So I decided that if I took that special make-up effects class, I could possibly get myself onto a movie set, meet up with some special effects guys and possibly apprentice under them. Artisan: How did that turn out? Ken: (laughing again) Not quite how I planned it. I was told that there were prerequisites I had to take before I could take Ken Diaz Ken touching up the paint on a robot head for Heartbeeps A scene from Roar Ken working on the dog tongue for the creature in The Thing

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