“Since childhood, I’ve been faithful to monsters. I have been saved and absolved by them, because monsters, I believe, are patron saints of our blissful imperfection, and they allow and embody the possibility of failing,”
Guillermo Del Toro, Golden Globes 2018
I was all prepared to write something much longer. I have since decided that keeping it short & sweet makes more sense.
I just handed off my letter of resignation today. Literally, minutes ago. After three years and a bit in this position, I’m walking away from gainful employment with a solid wage and the faint veneer of respectability in exchange for a shot at building a life around my passion: making monsters.
Growing up, my rockstars were found in the pages of Fangoria. My holy trinity consisted of Savini, Baker & Bottin. All my life, in one form or another, I’ve been making monsters. But I convinced myself it was good enough as a hobby, that I was never going to to make it a thing I could do for a living. For decades, I told myself I couldn’t do this.
I’ve since changed my train of thought to ” You can’t do this…yet. But you’re going to learn.” And so, starting mid-March, I begin full-time schooling at the College of Make-Up Art & Design in their Digital Character/Creature Design program. After that? I have a map and a plan. And it feels good to have both, compared to the decades of flailing and compromises and denials I’ve been doing till now.
I’ve said it before, but I know how all this ends for me. The same way it ends for everyone. We all get one crack at this, and I’m finally making it count. After decades of making sure everyone else was happy, this one’s for me. I’m excited and nervous, maybe even terrified. Which means it’s absolutely the right thing.
So? Here we go. There are monsters, waiting to be born.
PS: This photo documents my “ground zero”. It’s possible I may have delayed stepping onto this path if it weren’t for the kind words of support I’ve received from this man. Every time we’ve crossed paths over the past couple of years, he has always looked through my sketchbooks and given me encouragement. When I last saw him October 2017 at the AGO, I told him of my plans to get more serious about creature design.
He smiled and said “Good. This is what you should be doing. You’re good at it.”
Make of that what you will.