“What we do isn’t merely a job. You have to hone your skills, workshop your craft, prioritise your art if you want it to develop.”
Mentoring artists comes almost as naturally to Jason Baird as Special Make Up Effects does. There are very few senior artists and technicians in Australia in this field that haven’t worked with, near, or for Jason and his company JMB FX Studio. “Part of the appeal of this work is the immense amount of artists you can collaborate with, it is a gift to find artists that you like to be around for the amount of hours that film making demands”. One of these artists for Jason is Sean Genders.
Based on a friendship built over 30 years and centred around a shared love of monster mythology and film, Sean has been a staple on-set artist for JMB FX for the past 2 decades. “Mentoring the next generation is vital. It is our responsibility to pass on our knowledge and skills as senior artists in our field, in any artistic field,” says Baird. For the past 5 years they have co-hosted mentoring workshops out of Jason’s JMB FX facility together, to invited artists only. “Jason pulled me into film and gave me opportunities to grow as an artist, I guess I always felt I had to pass it on,” said Genders.
Junior and mid-level artists are invited in and taught the techniques Jason and Sean wish someone had taught them when they were starting out. “We choose artists that show a passion, or have an interesting eye for their art… a lot of the time it is also about manner.”
Through most of 2019 and early in 2020 Jason would host a sculpting night once a week and Sean a session on application or fabrication every few months. Mentoring is pivotal in bringing ‘new blood’ into the industry. Most of the artists that have stuck with it are working and in demand including Key Artist Emma George who is also present at most workshops to support and offer her valuable insights.