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Matt-Winston-boxEven though we lost the legendary Stan Winston over six years ago now, his legacy and passion for the visual arts still lives on through the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, which provides educational resources and tools for aspiring make-up effects artists everywhere.

Stan’s son, Matt Winston, practically grew up in Stan Winston Studios and continues to preserve the vision his father had for the industry and for the incredible work that special effects artists do each and every day. As we wrap up Daily Dead’s first-ever Stan Winston Week celebration, I thought there couldn’t be a better person to discuss how Stan’s vision continues to live on through educating aspiring f/x technicians and artists than Matt, who graciously provided us with a wonderful letter for Daily Dead readers and those interested in the Stan Winston School of Character Arts:

"Whenever anyone asked dad to name his favorite creation, he wouldn't single out the Terminator, or the T-Rex from Jurassic Park, or Predator, or the Alien Queen. He’d instead point to his book, “The Winston Effect: The Art & History of Stan Winston Studio,” written by Jody Duncan, because it told the story behind all of the characters to come out of SWS. And it wasn’t about just one wizard, but about an army of them, and the vast array of arts and crafts that each of them contributed to make movie history, time and time again.

The Stan Winston School of Character Arts is a continuation of that story. It’s about collaboration and the spread of knowledge that keeps us all moving forward and innovating, both artistically and technologically. Our online focus has allowed us to connect Hollywood professionals with fellow artists and aspiring character creators worldwide. There’s nothing more powerful than when one of them comes up on screen, whether they’re in the US, Russia or Japan and shows us what they’ve created, be it a puppet, a cool paint job or a sculpture. And we know Stan would have a twinkle in his eye to see that a new generation of character creators are being born.

In addition to honoring dad’s memory with education, we also try to make a spectacle whenever we get the chance, just like he did — to do something that reminds people that there will always be a place for “real” monsters and Practical FX in this digital world we live in. Last year we collaborated with many of dad’s former team at Legacy Effects to create a Giant Robot character for Comic Con 2013. Bringing it down to San Diego for the convention was an amazing experience. People were invited to interact with a 10-foot tall magic trick, something that made them go, “How did they do that?!” This year we’re going back with something even more mind-blowing, a 14-foot-tall Giant Creature, and we can’t wait. We’re all committed to working on more projects that create that sense of wonder, that make people want to run home and figure out how we did it and inspire them to make something of their own.

Perhaps the most exciting thing we’ve discovered during this adventure in dad’s name is that it’s not only professionals that make great art. There are hobbyists of all ages, all around the world, creating amazing creatures in their bedrooms and home workshops. Connecting with them reminds us that we are far from alone in our passion for character creation and that there are a bunch of budding Stan Winstons out there, who can’t wait to blow our minds.

-Matt Winston

P.S. If Stan was still with us, he’d be wrapping his arms around Heather Wixson from Daily Dead for putting together this incredible week of SWS monster memories. Thank you Heather, on behalf of the entire Winston family and the Stan Winston School staff, for doing your part to keep dad’s memory alive!"

On a personal note, I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you so much to the Stan Winston School of Character Arts for allowing me to put together this series, to all the amazing people I’ve had the incredible privilege of interviewing over the last few weeks who all made Stan Winston Week so incredibly memorable, to Matt Winston for all his kind words and finally to our readers who followed along with us each and every day. There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude to everyone, so thank you all again.

In case you missed it, don't forget to check out the earlier installments of our Stan Winston Week celebration:

To learn more about the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, visit:

Heather Wixson
About the Author - Heather Wixson

After falling in love with the horror genre at a very early age, Heather Wixson has spent the last decade carving out a name for herself in the genre world as a both a journalist and as a proponent of independent horror cinema. Wixson is currently the Managing Editor for DailyDead.com, and was previously a featured writer at DreadCentral.com and TerrorTube.com where her online career began; she’s also been a contributor at FEARnet as well as a panelist for several of their online programs.

Wixson recently finished her first book, Monster Squad: Celebrating the Artists Behind Cinema's Most Memorable Creatures, and is currently working on her second upcoming book project on special effects artists as well.

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