Oscar triumph for Hackney make-up artist

Dave Elsey. Photo: Facebook

A special effects make-up artist from Hackney has won an Oscar for his impressive prosthetic work in the horror film, The Wolfman.

David Elsey, 43, who is now based in Australia won the Oscar for best make-up. He began to transform his hobby into work as soon as he left Camberwell College of Arts. He was first hired as a special effects make-up artist for the 1986 cult film The Little Shop of Horrors.

He has since been creating monsters and fantastic creatures for world-famous titles such as Star Wars, Mission: Impossible I and II, Ghost Rider, and the X-Men films. The Wolfman stars Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.

Elsey worked together with his close friend Rick Baker, who has been nominated a number of times and has won seven awards, to transform the actors into realistic and horrifying werewolves.

His mother, Marie Elsey, 77, who still lives in Priory Court, Homerton, said she and the whole family have always encouraged the artist, and are “very happy” for him now.

“Obviously, you never expect it but you hope for it. I’m so proud of him, and he really deserves it. He never had any other interest than that – it’s his hobby, and his work,” she said.

Elsey first left Hackney to move to Australia for 5 months, and ended up staying there for 12 years. He currently lives in Los Angeles and is working on the latest X-Men film, which will be released on June 3, 2011.

Speaking to the Hackney Gazette, he said: “Doing The Wolfman was a dream job for me, as I remember growing up in Hackney in the 70s watching the old classic Universal horror movies on a Saturday night as a kid. I used to beg my mum and dad to let me watch them, and wonder how the monsters were made.

“Thank goodness I had great parents who encouraged my imagination because now I’m lucky enough to do this as a job.”

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