jeudi 22 mars 2012



Henry Jesus ALVAREZ disappeared the 3d march 2012 at the age of 67. Like many artists, he was particularly influenced in his youth by the universe designed by Walt Disney, and more particularly by the sculptures of Disney theme park, before discovering the pictures of movie monsters in the Forrest J. ACKERMAN's "Famous Monsters" magazineHis natural interest for animals also gave to him a basis for applying to his creatures the greatest standard of realism about the look of a living being. He successively performs his first sculptures in wood, papier mâché, and natural clayAs soon his military service done, he was hired by the studios Stubergh in California where, under the direction of sculptor Mary Katherine STUBERGH, he had for three and a half years learned how to create realistic wax figures. In 1970, after the retirement of Katherine Marie STUBERGH, the company was bought and moved to New York, becoming the studios Stuberh-Keller, whom Henry Alvarez was appointed head of production, and he helped to create many wax figures for museums.

In 1976, he returned to California with his family, where he founded his own firm, Alvarez Wax Productions. His success led him to make wax figures for collectors and museums around the world as well as bronze figurines, sculptures for parks and monuments, models for the manufacture of industrial latex masks, and he also helped to create some special effects for television and film. From 1981, he was hired as a conceptual sculptor by Rob BOTTIN, for whom he worked especially during 13 years, while training artists with high availability. He worked on THE THING, including the bust of the last incarnation of the creature nicknamed "Blairmonster", on LEGEND, including one evil head, unfinished for lack of means, for the princess played by Mia SARA, EXPLORERS, THE TWILIGHT ZONE-THE MOVIE, the over-sized version of the demoniac Jack NICHOLSON's character, PREDATOR, ROBOCOP the trilogy, TOTAL RECALL, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and SUPER MARIO BROS. He made an appearence on screen in a 2004 documentary of  MONSTERAMA serie, HISTORY OF WAX MONSTERS. 

The head of the latest The Thing's appearence.

The grotesque and funny, rather pre-MEN IN BLACK movies style, extraterretrial daddy from Joe DANTE's EXPLORERS : designed by Rob BOTTIN and sculpted by Henry ALVAREZ. 

Recreation by Henry ALVAREZ.of the Halloween's demon, from the movie PUMPKINHEAD - he also recreated THE THING's spider head after its destruction by fire on screen.

Henry ALVAREZ always searched himself to perfect the latex formula in order to obtain the best results. He was assisted in his work by his son, and his wife who was painting his creations, excelling in the art of applying several layers of colors, starting with the darkest tone to give a sense of depth to the wax dummy, in order to bring the appearance of a real skin overlying the veins.

A so much realistic replicas of the head of the actor Barry Corbin for a series that he could not watch it without displeasure!  

As collector, he had acquired particular tools used to create THE CREATURE FOM THE BLACK LAGOON's suit, so unusual that he was unable to determine their exact use, although havinh often self-created its own instruments ...

Henry Alvarez was considered as a master of sculpture indeed the profession, similar to Gunnar FERDINANSEN ( at right ), another reference, only one capable of removing a mask from an uncut mold. 

The disappearance of her daughter because of bone cancer, and the growing eradication of practical special effects makers due to the hegemony of virtual pictures that also removed many talented artists, as for Rob BOTTIN, lead the sculptor to move away from the hustle and full-time investment of cinema, and to settle in Oregon. There he retouched some wax sculptures for resale. Linked by this origins to Mexicans and Amerindians, including Apaches, it also undertakes the creation of large size bronzes depicting some indian chiefs, he strives to be express the interiority.

The disease from which he suffered for several years had recently worsened, Henry Alvarez has finally succumbed to mesenthelioma, a rare cancer of the lung, likely caused by repeated exposure to asbestos particles molds for the achievement of wax statues. A new example of a complete investment that will probably have been fatal to this renowned artist. .

links :
tribute by his son :

(PS : on the main french site, a tribute to the famous movie conceptual artist Ralph McQUARRIE will be put nextly too.)