• Carmen Marie Fabio

Blood, bone, and bits of brain


Alien skin is just one of many special effects Rigaud native Samantha Lamothe is perfecting in her studies in Makeup for Media Arts in Oakville, Ontario.

For some people, this is the time of year that ushers in a celebration of the macabre, delighting in what would otherwise be a squeamish and disturbing sight for the eyes, but for a young Rigaud woman, recreating blood, broken bones, and bruises is an everyday event.

“What made me want to get into doing simulated wounds and creating monsters came from watching a lot of movies,” said 20-year-old Samantha Lamothe in an exclusive interview with Your Local Journal.

“I'd watch a lot of horror and fantasy movies with my father at a younger age and when I was scared, he would remind me that it was all fake, so I got to thinking how it looked the way it did if it wasn't in fact real.” Lamothe then began researching cinematic makeup artists responsible for creating unforgettable movie scenes including Dick Smith of The Exorcist fame, and the team of artists who worked on the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

“The idea of being paid to work on films and television sets was a huge dream for me as a child and still is,” she said.

Lamothe, who grew up in Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot, is currently is in her second year of Makeup For Media and Creative Arts at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario and will be graduating in April 2016.

Her first foray into her grisly, eye-catching creations began innocently enough at home, doing what she calls simple Halloween makeup on herself, her younger brother Jake, and her friends. “I started working with things I could find around the house including oatmeal, toilet paper, gelatin, flour, food coloring, etc. “ She would then photograph and post her creations on social media, including photos of her mother Helen Rodrigue sporting black eyes and zombie-like skin tones.

Said her father, Paul Lamothe, “We are very proud of Sam and just a little frightened.”

Her studies at Sheridan go beyond the surface appearance of the mere wound on the skin. The program incorporates anatomy and biology in its curriculum so students can understand and accurately reproduce how human skin reacts to different injuries. “We also learn how to make it appear as though someone's bone structure is completely different – for example, making someone look like an animal – and how the body appears when it’s healing from trauma.”

Lamothe says ideas for new makeup injuries can come from wanting to recreate what she’s seen in a movie or from being inspired by another artist. “Sometimes, I'll be just sitting in class and have an idea so I'll write or draw it out, and then practice it once I'm home.” Besides the stomach churning realism of the wounds, one of which includes a beer can shoved into an eye socket, Lamothe’s portfolio includes alien skin, burns, and the ageing process.

“The most difficult injury for me to create is anything involving bone exposure,” she said, describing how the current bone simulation practice involves using a product known as scar wax, or latex or silicone, so every bone she creates has to be sculpted – a process she described as much more difficult than sculpting clay. “I'm hoping soon to get my hands on clay and the products I need in order to start creating molds which will make my wounds much easier to create and much more durable. “ What Lamothe calls a simple simulated arm laceration using liquid latex can take as little as 10 minutes to craft while a complex fracture with protruding bones requiring a lot of sculpting can take closer to an hour.

Though some of her work has recently been featured in student-shot films, upon graduation, Lamothe is eyeing either freelance work or being part of a team on television and film sets back in her native province.

“I do love Ontario and Toronto,” she said, “but Montreal will always be my home. “

For more photos of Samantha Lamothe’s makeup, see www.facebook.com/samanthalamothemakeupartist

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