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Making scary faces: BR mask painter preps for Halloween

Making scary faces: BR mask painter preps for Halloween
CFX employee Lanie Skaggs airbrushes a mask with silicone-based paint.
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POSTED: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 3:00pm

UPDATED: Friday, October 12, 2012 - 10:16am

Halloween is fast approaching, and one Baton Rouge-based company is putting the finishing touches on some of the most realistic horror-themed masks and products in the industry.

“It’s a particularly demanding time of year for the workplace,” explains CFX mask painter Lanie Skaggs, who’s now been with the company a bit over a year. “Our Halloween rush starts around early September. Every week leading up to the last week of October is intense for us. We work long hours and six days a week to make sure that our customers get their masks guaranteed before Halloween.”

Composite Effects, better known as CFX, has customers from all over looking for top quality designs that are both durable and long lasting. Many CFX masks are internally coated with patent pending DuraFlex™, allowing them to be 15 to 17 percent stronger against tears.

At the heart of the company’s service is customization – allowing customers to turn concept into reality. It’s also a thorough process that keeps CFX artists in open contact with clients, ensuring every detail is met with precision. The creation process can take between four to eight weeks. Skaggs also insists that the imaginations of customers never fail to astound her and the other artists.

So what does it take to bring a concept to reality?

“A mask begins its life as a design, which is then sculpted by our in house artisans. A mold is created, and from that mold we will begin casting a mask. After a mask is cast it is moved to patching, trimming, and seaming departments where small bubbles are repaired and excess flashing is removed and smoothed over,” she explains.

Once completed, Skaggs applies color to the product by using silicone-based airbrush paint.

“The responsibility of the painter is to make the masks as realistic as possible with a variety of learned techniques and natural intuition.”

For Skaggs, the job is a way to unleash her creative talent.

“There’s a real bevy of artists at CFX. It's really a place that cultivates creativity, and I found myself becoming a better artist simply by working here,” she insists. “This job has to be one of the most artist-centric businesses in Baton Rouge.”

And while being an artist is no rarity for a female, it is particularly unique in a horror genre that attracts the majority of its interest from males.

“It's been really groundbreaking and uplifting to work at a company like this for me personally. As a female artist working in a male dominated horror field I find no shortage of reasons to work hard and show that women are just as creative and gruesome.”

CFX also works with film projects, such as “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer” to “Harold and Kumar 2.” They have also been involved with attractions including Six Flags, Busch Gardens and Ripley’s Haunted Adventure.


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