Hey kiddies! This is my new project called PERSEPHONE, named after a figure from Greek mythology. Persephone was a nature goddess who became Queen of the Underworld after being abducted by Hades. As both a Goddess of Spring, and the Queen of the Underworld – she exemplifies the tension between life and death. When she is in the Underworld we experience winter. And when she visits the world she brings with her spring, flowers, and the resurrection of life.
My wife Jen Hoffine was my assistant for this project, as was my friend Demian Vela. Rebekah Whitt played the part of Persephone, and her make-up was done by Shawn Shelton with Bandersnatch Studios.
The walls and archway of the set were made from plastic VacuForm panels that we painted to look like stone. We built the set inside a factory near Robert Kurtzman’s studio in Ohio. Kurtzman is a legendary make-up FX artist. He wrote the original story for the movie From Dusk Til Dawn and was the director of Wishmaster. Kurtzman sent us David Greathouse – who created all of the foam latex vines that we wired and glued to the walls of the set.
Kurtzman also sent us Beki Ingram, who turned out to be the real hero of the project. She spearheaded the enormous task of dressing the set walls with fake foliage and roses, which were meticulously glued to the walls, one flower at a time.
Demian took a week off of work and drove 800 miles to Ohio to help with this project. I think he was excited by the prospect of hanging out with Robert Kurtzman.
Me with our half-finished set walls.
Beki, Demian, and Jen slowly dressing the set walls with green foliage.
We took sod from Kurtzman’s backyard and hauled it to the factory in the back of my mini-van. I inserted fake arms into the set floor. Black velvet curtains and a fog machine allowed us to hide the fact that our set was built inside a factory.
Here is a lighting test with fog.
Beki Ingram painted hands and arms on 2 models. I shot the model hands separately and used Photoshop to graft them onto the fake arms that I inserted into the set. The out-of-focus hands in the foreground were photographed live in front of the camera, with the models kneeling beneath the lens of my camera.
See you next time!