Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Makeup Artist "Monster" Mark Kosobucki at the Eerie Horrorfest

This is the second in a series that will focus on the talent and celebrities that will appear at this year’s Erie Horror Film Festival. The Eerie Horrorfest will take place from October 11th to the 14th at the historic Warner Theater in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania.

“Monster” Mark Kosobucki is a talented local Erie artist. Those who know the contemporary Erie arts and entertainment milieu know Mark’s artistic talent well. Not only has his artwork highlighted many local bands and adorned some covers of popular local news publications, he is also a talented motion picture special effects artist (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2396651/) and sculptor. In addition to his hectic schedule in the arts, Mark has been giving seminars on how to do practical motion picture special effects at the Erie Horror Film Festival for the last couple of years. I caught up with Mark at his home studio last week.
"Monster" Mark's Loft Lair

How did you get the name Monster Mark?
It sort of happened in High School, because I was really getting into movies and all that and someone came up with that. I thought if it is easier for them to remember that rather than Kosobucki then it’s good.

Just a small portion of Mark's movie collection
How did you get into art?
I had been drawing since I was a kid and I really loved watching movies. I would watch them over and over again. One in particular was “Dick Tracy” the Warren Beatty. It was an all star cast, and the make up was perfect! All those characters, they brought them to life. I always tell people when they bring up comic book movies, that was really the best one, ever. I started with pen and ink and eventually went into photography. I always loved special effects in movies. And everyone always has that pipe dream that they would really love to do that. And before I went into High School they started the Savini program. And I was like ‘I really wanna do that!’ so, when I graduated it was new and they were not accredited yet, so I waited after I attended Edinboro University and so here we are.

What was the first medium that you started working in?
Just pencil, pen and ink. Just working on little doodles and stuff. I used to get sketch books for Christmas and stuff.

The entire attic of Mark’s house has been converted into a monster makeup and art studio, along with an extensive collection of movies from the horror, sci-fi and fantasy genre. He has a few recent zombie face molds sitting next to his couch and television. Mark explains:
Mark's current project: a Zombie head
I try to keep my work confined to up here because if it would tend to be cluttered downstairs if I take up the living room and everything. I just watch movies and plug away at stuff. These are two of ones I am going to have at the Horrorfest this year. This is a new guy, I actually had him molded and sculpted for over a year, it took me forever to clean out the mold. I really wanted to have a real cool zombie, I had one of him made for a movie premiere I went to in August and I sold him within like 10 minutes, so it was great. 

What is your favorite medium right now? Besides special effects, but what else are you currently working on?
 I love sculpting, I love sculpting monster heads it is something from nothing, you know? That is kind of really cool to me but I definitely get more work in graphic design, illustrating and stuff like that. I have always loved the artwork that would tag along with movies. It is almost unheard of now, but in the 70s and 80s not having a hand drawn illustration for your movie was almost unheard of. And I always loved the hand drawn artwork as opposed to photos and stuff.

So what are some of your current projects now in the medium of pen and ink artwork?
Some of Mark's posters for local bands
I just finished a poster for The Crooked I last night, they are doing a tribute to Black Sabbath on the 27th. It is called ‘Electric Funeral’ and they are one of my all time favorite bands and when they came up to me and said they were doing this I was like wow, I know all the lyrics to their songs. I did a poster for that it is 24X36 , I had a friend who commissioned me a print for the movie “Them” the giant ants. I’m working now with the Erie Reader, that is free around town. I did a cover for them called the “Weight of War” about PSD and I asked if I could do a Halloween cover too and I did that. The Halloween cover is going to be so cool, it has Glenn Strange as the Frankenstein’s Monster. The PSD article is a good story, it makes you think. I am happy they let me be the voice for that as far as art goes.

Now at this Horrorfest you are in a movie as well as doing the special effects.
"Skull Forest" (2012)
I am in a movie called ‘Skull Forest’ I was the Key effects artist on it. My friend Len Kabasinski made it, and I have shown it to my family and friends and they say it is his best yet. I am really proud of it, I think everyone did a good job on it and I think it will go over very well. Hopefully he will get a really good distribution deal from it. It was filmed in Erie, a lot of it was filmed in Fairview. One of the guys in the movie James Howells, his family had a fairly large amount of land and we used the woods out there. The Plot is kind of like “The Most Dangerous Game”, these four girls go into the woods to have a weekend away, and they end up being caught in an organized hunting ring where they put in bids like a lottery and if you are selected you get to go into the woods and hunt somebody.

Were the effects challenging?
What scared me the most, because I had never done it before was the scalping. There is a Native American character in the movie, when she takes the life of one of the girls she scalps her. I always remember the movie “Maniac” when it comes to that because that movie had the best version of that effect. I don’t know who Savini had working with him but they had some really good effects for removing the scalps of these women in this movie and it always stuck with me. But it was challenging and I had a plan for it and it worked pretty good. And I think it looks good on screen, when they did the premiere for it, it was all cast and crew and everything and that was the one effect and when it appeared on screen there was somebody down front that actually screamed out because it actually grossed them out heavily. It was very vindicating, because you are like, “they are buying it!”

Is there any other work that you are involved in lately?
Mark and his "6 Degrees of Hell" poster at the movie's premiere
I have been working with a producer that I met at Horrorfest last year, his name is Harrison Smith. I believe he produced the movie “The Fields” with Cloris Leachman and Tera Reed. He was down there and just finished filming the movie “6 Degrees of Hell” with Corry Feldman, and he met me through Josh Emmerich who did the ‘Basket Case’ comic and Herrison like my artwork and gave me the job to do the graphic novel of Six Degree’s of Hell’s opening sequence, which is quite a story it has a beginning, middle and end of course where the girl dies. I got to allude to what Cory Feldman does in the movie as a paranormal investigator and in addition to that he gave me the task to do the official poster for that movie. We got to meet Corey Feldman, the premier was in the Pocono’s it was red carpet and the media was there. All the VIPS got a copy of my poster and it was up on a billboard. It was pretty cool. He has a new movie in post called “Dead TV” and I did some poster work for it, I don’t know the plot yet, but I heard that he wants me to do the movie poster for that as well. Eric Roberts is in it, and last I knew Daniel Harris I don’t know if the cast has changed or not.

What are your future goals?
I did the poster for the event for band Calabrese and they liked it so much they made it the cover for their album. I had listened to the band since I was in school and it totally surreal for me; they have a huge backdrop of my art. It is crazy. I would love to do art for a living and not have to worry about a paycheck so much. I would like to turn this house into a studio, a fully functional mass media studio that has graphic design and special effects and video production. I would like to offer that to the community. I have one friend named Richard who is going into the Savini program and asked me to mentor him for his senior project and I hope that we can work together on these movies. Because right now it is ok to do these smaller independent movies, but it would be nice to give someone these mold making jobs while I sculpt other things. I would like to bring on a few friends and pull resources and get something functional in this creepy old house by the cemetery. It really fits in with the community.

To look at more of Mark’s work or to contact him to do professional work visit his website at http://www.monstermarkweb.com/
Tickets for the Eerie Horrorfest and a list of other celebrities appearing there this year  can be found at their website http://www.eeriehorrorfest.com/ . A daily pass will also be available for purchase at the door during the event. 

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