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Meet Gregory Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gregory Smith.

Gregory, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story begins in Detroit, Michigan. I was an illustrator working for the big three auto companies, and studying special effects with my mentor Dick Smith in New York on the side. One day Dick called me up and said they need sculptors on a big movie out in Hollywood, and he suggested I send some photos of my work to the studio keying the make-up at the time. The studio was Mark Shostrom’s studio in South Pasadena. Mark hired me and said I could have the job if I got there in a week’s time. So I packed all my goodies in my truck and was on the road within about four days after the initial phone call. I got to LA in three days and started working as a special effects sculptor and make-up artist. Since that time in 1987 have worked on quite a few motion picture and television productions including…..

Dick Tracy, Death Becomes Her, Hocus Pocus, Addams Family Values, The Santa Clause I & II, Dusk Till Dawn, Men in Black, Outer Limits TV series, The Shining TV movie, Mimic, Star Wars episodes 1,2 3, Alien resurrection, Jeepers Creepers I & II, Evolution, Stigmata, Fahrenheit 451, Crime of the Century, The Incredible Hulk, Species 2, Sphere, Poltergeist TV series, Stargate SG1, Panic Room, Blade 2, Spider-man, The Tuxedo, The Punisher, Polar Express. The Stepford Wives, Van Helsing, Black Swan, Salem tv series, CSI TV Series to name a few. That list spans almost a thirty-three year career in Pictures. And it has been a wonderful experience.

I also have been teaching special effects and mold making at the Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA since 1998. And I also teach Clay modeling at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena along with my co-teacher Jorge Norgaard who is an excellent designer and sculptor. We really have fun teaching so many amazingly talented students from all over the world. It is truly an amazing experience… I love to teach and pass on the knowledge which I have learned from so many great artists in my career over the years. I think it is important to pass the knowledge on so others can have as much fun as I have had.

I want to say that I have had a very blessed and wonderful career and it isn’t over yet. I love to sculpt as much as I did when I was first learning as a child. My uncles worked at the Tech Center as sculptors for GM for years and they would bring me a little clay to play with when they would visit my Mom back in the early sixties. I fell in love with clay back then and the love affair has never ended.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
All careers have their ups and downs. In the Motion Picture world sometimes there are strikes and then no work happens sometimes for months… That can be very scary and stressful when you are trying raise a family and pay the bills. So you quickly start scrambling around for other work…like the toy industry for example…… a sculptor can find work and make a decent living sculpting little toys , for model kits, etc. anything to keep the wolf from the door. I was lucky and was able to survive those difficult moments in Hollywood.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I basically am a freelance sculptor and designer. I get hired to create any number of special effects type sculptures for many different studios and effects houses in Hollywood. I do make-up prosthetics type sculptures for make-up artists. I create sculpture maquette for computer companies to scan into their computers, I create prototype items for people in many different lines of work. I am proud that I have been able to keep busy and have a good word of mouth clientele without having to do a great deal of advertising.

I think what sets me apart is that I teach the craft as well as practice it in the working world.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Learning how to make monster masks out of clay and learning to make plaster molds and casting the masks out of rubber. It was a big exciting time learning and experimenting back then.

Contact Info:

  • Phone: 951-532-6289
  • Email: gregsmithandleah@earthlink.net
  • Facebook: Gregory Smith

Image Credit:
Amalgamated Dynamics Inc., W.M. Creations, Make-up and Monsters Inc, Michael Bayouth Productions, Sam Raimi Productions, Marvel Comics/Disney, Lon Chaney Estate

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