Kazu Hiro: The Best Make-Up Artist in Hollywood?

Kazu Hiro may be one of the most influential people in Hollywood that you've never heard of. Here we dive into the world of the sculptor.

He worked with Gary Oldman in the biography drama The Darkest Hour. There Kazu sculpted the appearance of Winston Churchill. In the Bombshell, Kazu recreated Charlize Theron into Megyn Kelly. He created the image of Tim Roth for The Planet of the Apes, aged Brad Pitt for Curious Case of Benjamin Button

His works are a masterpiece combining computer technologies, 3D models and sculpting nuances. He is creating new icons of makeup technologies in Hollywood. 

Kazu Hiro (Kazuhiro Tsuji) is a well-known Japanese makeup effects artist who creates larger than life portraits and faces. 

His contribution forces Hollywood directors to re-watch the power of sculpting, particularly when it belongs to total character recovery.

 Kazu won Oscars for The Bombshell and Darkest Hour as the best makeup artist. But his daily routine seems to be fantastic. And each work never has comparisons. 


Kazu Hiro’s Path to the Big Screen

Kazu Hiro is a sculptor firstly, followed by an artist of makeup effects in cinematography. He makes real sculptures of famous people like actors, singers, ex-presidents of the USA. 

But the thing with which Kazu Hiro became famous was in the film industry. He worked with Gary Oldman, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, John Lithgow. 

But his career started many years before. From the very beginning, Kazu was eager to repeat the success of artist Dick Smith, who turned Hal Holbrook to Abraham Lincoln. 

Since Kazu has seen this masterpiece in the magazine Fangoria, he started to practice with any material ready to hand. Thus, plaster, dental stone, foam latex, and clay were used by Hiro. By chance, he found the address of Dick Smith. 

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And The Oscar Goes Too…: Kazu Hiro helped Gary Oldman win an Oscar in The Darkest Hour

Young Kazu corresponded to the phenomenal artist of that time. Dick Smith made an impact in the future of Kazu by reference, until he came to Tokyo as an adviser for the horror film Sweet Home. 

There Mr Smith recommended Kazu to the place in the makeup department. His main capacity was making the scars and moulds of dead bodies. 

After some years Kazu moved to the USA, to conquer the Hollywood scene. 

Here he worked with Jim Carey, preparing his image of the Grinch. As Kazu told this period was exhausting, Jim Carey temper was awful, so he gave up the position and was on the path to leave the job. 

However, the crew persuaded him to stay. And Kazu took advantage of the opportunity to ask for the recommendation for a Green Card. So Kazu Hiro received permission but escaped the media career. He continued as a fine artist. 


How to revive Winston Churchill? 

It was Gary Oldman who returned Kazu to the film industry. In 2016, Oldman was approved for the role of Winston Churchill. Oldman proclaimed that he would only play if Kazu had done makeup. 

Together with a prominent makeup team, they could adopt the appearance of Gary Oldman to Winston Churchill in a shortened time. 

Kazu said it was impossible. Comparing the portraits of Oldman and Churchill – so different faces. 

The problem was in the face anatomy between Oldman and Churchill was so different. Everyone is unique. However, some people have common facial features that help to change and improve the details to make a similar appearance. 

However, Winston Churchill had infantile face proportions, his eyes looked smaller and face rounder. 

Kazu Hiro worked on Benjamin Button
Hiro Hero: Kazu Hiro worked on Benjamin Button

Kazu has to adopt the Oldman face with mimic expression and silicon skin that changes how the muscle moves. All in all, the cheeks, jowls, neck, and chin were made of the silicone. 

Each of these parts was located by the Kazu workplace, besides pink anatomical pieces. From those pieces, all blood vessels were copied on the surface of these moulds. It was also a long painting job. 

In simple words, Kazu Hiro sculpted Churchill out of the parts. Finally, a prominent man of history, prime minister of Great Britain was reborn on the screen. 

Gary Oldman won the Oscar for that role, in no small part due to Kazu. 


Silicone Portraits

Last year, in the Los Angeles’ Copro Gallery, his sculptures were exhibited. The show caught too much attention. 

Hiro made all the portamentos based on eccentric foundations. The bust of Frida hugged by the giant gold hands. Lowbrow artist Mark Ryden fixed over the eye apple, which is close to the concept convenient to Mark’s style. 

One particular thing that Kazu Hiro follows till now – when making a sculpture he doesn’t overlay the nature of the person he made with his creative ambition.

Most of his time he spends inside the studio in a well-secured area in Los Angeles. There he thinks, learns and creates the busts of legendary heroes of this world.

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