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Learning Link to the Fowler Museum of Cultural History

March 08, 2001

Have you ever imagined yourself as a creature from outer space? As a devil with horns? How would you change your face to look like one of these? Would you add wrinkles or paint yourself red? Where? How? Special effects makeup artists know these secret skills.

Like that of sculptors and portrait painters, the work of movie makeup artists is an art. Sometimes the makeup artist will make a human face look like a different person or perhaps someone from another world. Instead of working with clay or paint, these artists use materials like latex and special makeup to turn actors into someone or something else for film and television.

Can you recognize Wayne Alexander in this picture taken of him after he was made up as the alien Lorien from "Babylon 5?"

Makeup artists can also make a 25-year-old actor look like he or she is 55. Can you imagine what your friends are going to look like in 20 or 30 years? How much has your face changed in the past five years? Take out an old picture and see if you can see what parts of your face have changed!

To learn more, bring your family to the UCLA Fowler Museum for the exhibition "Making Faces/Playing God: Identity and the Art of Transformational Makeup," through July 29. There will be a special makeup artist demonstration Sunday at 2 p.m. On April 1, you will get a chance to make your face into a character of your choice. For information, call (310) 825-8655 or visit


This learning link was provided courtesy of the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, on the UCLA campus in Westwood.

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