Rick Baker is a legendary special effects artist with seven Academy Awards to his name. You can see his incredible work in the following films: Planet of the Apes, The Grinch, Batman Forever, Ed Wood, Hellboy, Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' music video and the more recent Maleficent, and so many more.
There is no doubt that Rick is a master of his craft . But, he has recently closed his studio and auctioned off a vast amount of his work. Rick is known for bringing some of the most memorable on-screen characters to life, through his genius skills and meticulous attention to detail. The auction featured around 30 years of his work containing 400 pieces in total. Rick retained his most favorite pieces and sent the rest to auction. The best part about the auction was that no pieces had a reserve, allowing both fans and collectors alike to have an equal opportunity to buy items.
Check out his work on Jim Carey as the Grinch, it's difficult to imagine that under this costume there is a person:
Take a look at this scene from American Werewolf in London. No CGI was involved here. This werewolf transformation really is incredible and was definitely ahead of its time:
Read the opening statement for the auction:
In an interview with a radio station, Rick explained his reasons behind his departure:
“I said the time is right, I am 64 years old, and the business is crazy right now,” Baker told KPCC. “I like to do things right, and they wanted cheap and fast. That is not what I want to do, so I just decided it is basically time to get out.”
If you would like to read the rest of the interview, click here.
Despite his retirement, he is still open to consulting on projects in the future and has been posting inspiring art on his Twitter account.
Rick Baker's most famous and widely known work is his work with Michael Jackson on the music video for 'Thriller.' M.J. approached Rick after being influenced by American Werewolf in London:
Here is a snippet from an interview with Vice Magazine about their collaboration:
Michael Jackson contacted you for work on the "Thriller" video—is that correct?
He contacted John Landis because of An American Werewolf in London. I was the first phone call that John made, and he said, "Michael Jackson wants to do a rock video... very much American Werewolf–influenced. He wants to transform." I said, "Little Michael Jackson?" and he was like, "Well, he's not little Michael Jackson anymore."
I was really concerned about making up a pop star. I thought, This is going to be difficult, and he's not going to be a good subject for this . But I was totally wrong. He loved it, [but] it was chaotic, and I had a whole lot of work to do in a very little amount of time. I had to use union makeup artists whom I didn't really know, and didn't know what they could do to apply these makeups on the dancers, and I was applying makeup on Michael on the same night, running around the makeup trailers, going, "No, no, no..." And there we were, in Vernon, the meatpacking district, in the middle of the night, and they started doing the "Thriller" dance.
It is sad to see such a talented artist disappear from the film industry. Rick's leaving marks a change in times for the film industry into a more digitalized era.
Have you been inspired by Rick Bakers' jaw-dropping work? If you are already thinking about that costume for Halloween this year (okay maybe that's just me), then check out this incredible tutorial video that you can follow along with from home.
Here you can learn how to turn yourself into a zombie through the art of makeup: