Members of Texas Sfx often leave meetings all bloody and bruised up — after applying a bit of makeup and liquid latex.
Economics junior Christopher Beckham is the founder and president of Texas Sfx, an on-campus organization focused on teaching special effects makeup and costuming.
“The goal for Texas Sfx is mainly to spread enthusiasm and knowledge in effects and costuming,” Beckham said. “We want to create a community on campus of people who enjoy either making effects or just the effects themselves and want an understanding of them.”
During his senior year in high school, Beckham discovered special effects makeup and costuming. He had an assignment to accurately dress up as a book character, and he chose Frankenstein’s monster.
Beckham said it’s hard to gain access to makeup classes and special effects resources on campus. This is why he decided to create Texas Sfx.
“I was changing majors and reflecting on what I really liked doing and what I wanted out of college, and I found that there was nothing like this on campus,” Beckham said. “I decided to make a group where artists who are already established or people who just want to learn could have a common space to teach each other and learn from each other.”
A typical meeting starts off with a live makeup tutorial, which members then try to recreate.
“We mainly just use our hands, but we use brushes and makeup sponges and typical cosmetic materials that you would find in your standard beauty aisles,” Beckham said. “Liquid latex is one of our biggest general, do-all materials, but a lot of our coloring is done through eye shadow and various cream- and water-based makeup paints.”
Currently, the club is focusing on Halloween makeup looks that involve more gruesome details, such as fake blood, and learning the basic techniques of face painting.
“Last meeting, we did cuts, scrapes and bruises,” said Karalee Shotola, Texas Sfx financial chair and psychology junior. “We used eye shadow to create bruises. Then, we used liquid latex to create stitches and dug out of it.”
Journalism freshman Julianne Hodges said Texas Sfx has been a way for her to continue cosplaying, the practice of dressing up as a book, movie or video-game character, and has helped improve her makeup skills.
“I joined because it’s between the challenge of making the costumes and just having something fun to do and planning it all out and putting it together and also going to meet-ups in costumes,” Hodges said. “It’s a good way to make friends.”
The club plans to start focusing more on costuming by participating in activities such as cosplay.
“We are trying to move to do a bit of cosplay in this next month,” Beckham said. “Cosplay is actually a pretty cool thing that incorporates quite a bit of costuming and makeup.”
Beckham believes that one of the biggest misconceptions people have is that special effects makeup and costuming are only done by experts.
“People come up to me and ask me how I did something and, once I take the time to explain it and demonstrate it, see they can do it themselves,” Beckham said. “It raises their confidence as this seemingly hard task before is now accomplished, and it helps generate more enthusiasm for special effects as it is not all of these complicated techniques only an expert will know.”