Last week we featured James (Darkride) Updegraph’s beautiful Lockport home renovation project. His clearly abundant skill and artistry with architecture is not his only talent. Darkride is also scary-good at creating highly detailed, highly realistic silicone masks. They fit snug to the head and move with such life-like realism that he has earned a reputation as one of the best in the business. He ships his hand crafted masks to customers around the world. Here is Darkride’s story:
I had joined the Air Force, but found out that I had a medical condition and was eventually discharged because of it. I had to find a way to support my family so I turned to what I knew best—art and my love for Halloween.
I began sculpting masks and despite some unsupportive people who told me I was wasting my time I stuck with it. The first few molds and masks I made were very rough and needed a lot of tweaking to work. I put out a video of my masks and before I knew it I started receiving emails almost daily. People asking, “can I buy one, do you sell these” etc. I was floored by the idea. I couldn’t believe how quickly my masks took off. After my first customer, who actually lives in Sweden posted a youtube video of him wearing my masks, it blew up from there. All the sudden I was making masks literally all day everyday, working on new sculpts and trying to keep up with demand. It’s to the point now where I simply can not keep up with demand and I am looking for spfx painters who would like to join the Darkride team.
I never planned on calling my work Darkride Studios. My fans actually gave me the name because of my online username. Darkride is because of my love for the old boardwalk and theme park “dark rides” like Laff in the Dark from crystal beach. Other than that it’s just the path I was led down out of demand for my work. I love it! I love creating monsters and making people smile when they wear my silicone masks.
Check out more of Darkride’s work on Youtube where you can find dozens of videos showing just how amazingly lifelike these masks are. His creations are truly extraordinary and certainly rank with the level of work done for the movies. How wonderful that the Buffalo region has this talented artist. It is probably too late to get your mask for this Halloween. Probably, you should place your oder for next year right now. You can Reach James at darkride_8(at)yahoo.com. You can also find him on Facebook.