We all watched the uber-talented J. Anthony Kosar take the “Face/Off” Season 4 title a few days ago. And as much as we admire Kosar’s work, there was another contestant that we also loved to watch.
Eric Fox, “Face/Off’s” colorful ‘Eric F.’, sat down with us to talk about the show, art and horror.
Fox got voted off just one episode before the finale, but his flamboyant look, infectious laugh and outstanding artwork made ‘Eric F.’ one of the most memorable contestants to ever participate in the show. Fox had nothing but positive things to say about the Syfy show and his experiences on it.
“The fanbase is incredible,” Fox said. “I get emails from parents and little kids saying how I’ve inspired them. Kids that have slightly alternative appearances and get ridiculed for how they look walk around with a little more self-confidence knowing if I was able to go on national TV (sporting his trademark mohawk and unique wardrobe) , then they shouldn’t be afraid to walk around their school or town. A lot of really positive things have come from this.”
Even though there are horrific makeups from time to time, Fox discussed how “Face/Off” is enjoyable for all ages. “It’s definitely a show that can be enjoyed by a family,” Fox said. “I notice more and more kids getting involved, and to me that’s great, especially with the way that art is getting cut in school systems. As an artist, any time you can introduce someone else to art, a kid or somebody who’s kinda misguided or doesn’t have anything going on, art is a great outlet. It really kept me out of a lot of trouble growing up, and it’s unfortunate that a lot of that is getting cut out of the school system.”
“To inspire someone or even get them interested in art is a great thing,” Fox continued. “For the past couple of days my little four-year-old has been in the backyard paining rubber skulls, playing ‘Face/Off.’ It’s fun. I give her some clay and some acrylic paint and she occupies herself for hours. It’s a creative outlet. Especially for the younger ages, kindergarten and pre-school, because that’s when they’re really developing that hand/eye coordination skill.”
So just what got Fox’s creative juices flowing in the direction of the horror genre? “I grew up on horror,” Fox said. “I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up so I spent a lot of time watching monster movies and playing with clay and sneaking into my mom’s makeup. It was a great way to pass the time as a kid and do it creatively instead of doing stupid stuff. So I basically got my start watching monster movies and using stuff like Elmer’s Glue, gluing toilet paper to my face and taping popsicle sticks to my fingers pretending to be Freddy.” Haven’t we all done that move, Dreadies?
Fox began teaching himself to be an F/X artist at a very early age. “I was born in Georgia, so there weren’t a lot of resources, but when I moved to California when I was 11, I could ride over to the library and take out things like Dick Smith’s makeup book and stuff like that,” Fox said. “I started learning how to do this stuff long before the days of YouTube and Google. I probably learned 30 different ways not to do shit before learning the right way. Nowadays there’s a lot of good information online, and even the bad videos will at least show you what not to do and save you some out-of-pocket expenses. It’s definitely a great age as far as information sharing is concerned.”
After his early days of teaching himself some F/X techniques, Fox eventually found himself as a sought after talent. “When I was learning to do this stuff in the late 80’s, early 90’s, I was working part-time at a local costume shop,” Fox said. “One of the local colleges, which is one of the bigger film schools out here, Chapman University, had a lot of film students come into the costume shop looking for people to do makeup. I was a junior in high school and these guys came in and were looking to do some F/X. I was trying to explain how to do it and they were like, ‘Dude, I’ll pay you $600 for the weekend if you come down and do it.’ And they started telling their buddies, and here I am, a junior in high school thinking, ‘Well, shit! This is great!’ So I ended up graduating halfway through my junior year and just worked on the college film circuit for a few years.”
Some time after that, Fox would come across the man who would be his mentor. “I finally got my first big break in the early 90’s when I hooked up with Screaming Mad George,” Fox said. “That guy was one of my idols growing up. The work he did on ‘MacGyver’ and the cockroach scene for Elm Street 4 and the list goes on. The guy is just a genius for over-the-top realistic effects, and that’s the artist I draw most of my inspiration from. I’m also a big fan of the Japanese style of art. It’s a lot less watered down and censored as I think a lot of the Western culture is. They get away with a lot more obscure stuff, which I think is great. Especially with their animation, which is pretty wild stuff that you’re not going to see Saturday mornings on Nickelodeon.”
Before he was scooped up for the cast of “Face/Off,” Fox spent years in the industry. “I’ve been working on the independent circuit for pretty much the last 20 years,” Fox said. “Kinda struggling and chasing the dream of being a Hollywood makeup guy. It’s cool because I love the indie circuit. It’s a bit more passion-driven as opposed to dollar-driven or what’s going to get the best rating so we have to censor this or that kinda thing. Indies are more story direct. Since it is passion-driven, those projects don’t always have the money. There’s a lot of struggling, a lot of sacrifice and a lot of downfalls as well.”
But despite the downfalls, Fox found himself on some great projects. “I was on Space Truckers with him [Screaming Mad George] back in the day with Dennis Hopper,” Fox said. “I worked on several commercials, music videos, I worked on a Brian Yuzna film called Progeny. Screaming Mad George is awesome. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the guy. He’s a creative genius. And I used a lot of his type of approach, kind of over-the-top, when I did ‘Face/Off.’ I wasn’t too concerned with having the most polished out thing when I could say, ‘Look, the thing is 12 feet tall!’ I went more with the approach like I want to do something big and crazy every time. And I could have played it safe and done a nice, clean looking face or whatever, but it was more fun coming up with these outrageous shenanigans every episode.”
One thing fans of “Face/Off” certainly had to notice was the camaraderie amongst the contestants. Even with $100,000 on the line, the cast members could still be seen helping each other outright down to the final challenge. “We felt, at the end of the day, we were there to represent ourselves and our industry, and we wanted to represent that with a sense of professionalism,” Fox said. “We all made a pact early on to kind of help each other out. These guys were all great. We were all rooting for each other. We wanted to make it where the judges decided on design and execution as opposed to internal backstabbing and bullshit.”
Fox raved about how much he enjoyed his experience on “Face/Off” and how much he respected his castmates. “I loved it,” Fox said. “I loved everybody, all my castmates. I want to say that I thought Autumn [Cook] was great. She’s a fun lady and I think it’s unfortunate the public views of her. I like her as a person. She’s funny and says what’s on her mind, and whether you agree with it or not, at least she’s not phony. I respect her, and her stuff outside the show is really good work. I met a lot of great, great friends doing the show and every single one of them are talented in their own right, and that’s why they even made the show. Any one of those people, given the proper time, budget and resources, can pull off some amazing stuff. I’ve got nothing but very positive friendships and experiences from ‘Face/Off’.”
As would be expected after such an impressive performance on national television, the future looks bright for Eric Fox. “Me and Wayne [Anderson, another “Face/Off” Season 4 contestant] are teaming up,” Fox said. “We just secured a shop this week. We’ve got many projects lined up and I’m really excited about that. On the show me and Wayne developed a great relationship. The guy is phenomenal and he’s got a heart of gold. We’re actually about to go into production on a Mortal Kombat commercial, and we just wrapped a music video for Knife Party called Kill the Noise, which is about to debut on MTV. The guy that directed that, Mike Diva, is a well-known, up-and-coming director who directed MTV’s Clubland Video of the Year. He is awesome!”
Fox has been amazed by the public reaction. “We have fans all over,” Fox said. “I’ve even heard from China, and the show doesn’t even air over there. It’s just all from the internet. The response has been incredible.”
Fox’s studio is called Morb-X F/X and is certainly producing some amazing material. You can see an early Morb-X demo reel, created last year, below. You can also visit Eric Fox/Morb-X F/X on Facebook.
And finally, if you’re a true “Face/Off” fan, and anything like us, you were wondering just why Eric Fox couldn’t go to Canada with the other cast members during the episode which saw him voted off the show. Fox put any rumors of him being a fugitive or felon to rest today. “Ha, ha! We were really dealing with some family issues here,” Fox said. “It was a situation where I just couldn’t be that far away from the family at that particular time. Something popped up personally at the house. It’s funny because there are all kinds of online conspiracy theories like, ‘Oh, is he a fugitive?’ and I laugh my ass off because I’ve never even gotten a speeding ticket. The background check you have to go through to get on one of these television shows is insane!”
And by all means, keep an eye out for the work of Eric Fox and Morb-X F/X. They will certainly be creating monsters that will be haunting your dreams for years to come.
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