Walker Stalker Con Boston 2016 : Capturing the monster magic with Tate Steinsiek
It’s always better when a picture comes together. At Walker Stalker Con 2016 in Boston, at the beautiful Westin Hotel, I got to see just that. Among all the makeup booths and cosplay sets ups that were a main part of the weekend’s populace, I noticed one that really stood out.
It was the work booth of horror effects guru: Tate Steinsiek. What I got to see was something very impressive and unique. At this booth patrons and fans in attendance could be part of quite an other worldly transformation. Here normal men and women, boys and girls, could take themselves out of their daily lives and become something far different then when they arrived.
As I was sitting there mouth agape at the monster-esque magic being performed in front of me, I was honored to be able to speak to the creator himself who was more than happy to answer any question I had and was extremely pleased at the interest being drawn from spectators.
We talked about his humble childhood beginnings and experiences in this past under appreciated field as well as his passionate advice and plans going forward for the genre.
Graphic Policy: So Tate, I just wanted to thank you for your time today to do this interview.
Tate: No worries, happy to do it.
Graphic Policy: As an introduction, in my research I dug up a cool little anecdote that I think people and readers will find very interesting. This is about when you were younger in preschool your parents had to be called in because you were seen drawing something that’s shall we say, very out of the “norm” for where you were located..
Tate: (chuckling) This is true..
Graphic Policy: Would you care to tell us what it is you drew and what type of reaction it brought?
Tate: Yeah man, sure. Well I’m from the Bible belt right in Oklahoma. This is where it’s Southern Baptist everything and you know what’s good and what’s evil. The odd thing even as a kid before I’d ever seen a horror movie I was always drawing monsters. So my poor parents couldn’t figure it out and my teachers just assumed that my parents were letting me watch all these horror movies. Then they called my parents in for a meeting and they were like “Yeah so Tate’s drawing these creatures with horns and teeth biting the heads off his classmates and we think you should really stop letting him watch horror movies.” My parents then told them they didn’t let me watch horror movies at all. It was quite perplexing. With that being said giving my interests I figured I had one of two career paths, make up or serial killer. So I think I went the right direction. (laughs)
Graphic Policy: I would say everyone here today would certainly echo that sentiment. With that being said, as a child once you were drawing that stuff was it always in your head that you were going to pursue this? Was there other avenues you considered?
Tate: Good question. Growing up in Oklahoma it’s pretty void of film industry, so it was all sort of imaginary at that point. What I could do was draw. Honestly I thought I was going to end up being a comic book artist. I really wanted to get into (movie) effects. Unfortunately I never got to experience anything like a film industry. Then eventually when I became 20 or 21 I just picked up and moved out of Oklahoma and decided to move to the big city so I shipped on out to Boston, and started pursuing a career. I got lucky I met the right people and continued to harness my craft and the rest is history.
Graphic Policy: Now speaking of the right people I know you got the chance to work with “The King of Splatter” Tom Sevini, what was that like and how did it help you?
Tate: Oh working with Tom (Sevini) is what made my career. I went to school for one semester and at the end of that semester, he told me pretty much that I was ready for the industry. He told me to get out there and he handed me a script. The script was called Zombie Honeymoon, and somebody had sent it to him and the directors name was Dave Gebroe. I went to New York to work on that script and I ended up living in New York for 10 years so it was pretty cool.
Graphic Policy: Safe to say you’ve relocated every where following your dream.
Tate: Yeah I’ve lived many places and had a bit of a gypsy life style. It’s been that way for me until the past couple of years. I’ve been able to settle down and plant some roots. So It’s nice to be able to actually invest in things like building a shop and it’s nice. Things are really going well.
Graphic Policy: Now having the chance to do the competition show Face Off on SyFy do you feel that was most beneficial platform for you to showcase your work?
Tate: Definitely. Being on Face Off changed my life. It took my artwork which is usually a behind the scenes sort of job and put it in front of everybody. It allowed me the opportunity to do things like this where I get to travel around and meet people who actually want to meet me.(laughs) It’s great I owe them a lot. I’ve been blessed.
Graphic Policy: Would you recommend this to any little kids out there who may want to do this as a career path who might have different upbringings and outlets as you had?
Tate: Sure I would. I would say that no matter where you grow up, that if you have the passion for it. Go do it. Regardless of surroundings it is always available to you. You might just have to look hard to find it and then work harder when you do but it’s so worth it. Nothing is unachievable. When I was 15 years old I was milking cows in Oklahoma. Now I’ve lived in New York, I’ve traveled the world and I’ve worked on films. If anyone shouldn’t have made it. It should have been me. I’m the testimony to what believing in yourself can do.
Graphic Policy: Well put. What is your all time favorite film?
Tate: An American Werewolf in London.
Graphic Policy: Great pick. An 80’s classic right there. Are there any artists out there that you follow today that still have an effect on you as you are constantly updating your style?
Tate: Well I’m a kid of the 80’s. So for me I’m always watching Return of the Living Dead, Creepshow, An American Werewolf in London. These are my go tos. It’s an influence I try and keep alive. I think that obviously the art has progressed and it has changed but I still think that era had some of the best designs. Some of the best ever. It’s where I feel comfortable. I will always be 80’s in influence.
Graphic Policy: So big (George A) Romero fan then?
Tate: Big time.
Graphic Policy: Lastly, did you ever think that something you loved so much would grow into what it is now and we would have conventions and events like this on a normal basis?
Tate: I never would have thought in a million years. If someone told me as a kid that one day the biggest TV Show in the world (The Walking Dead) would be zombies. I would have just laughed. You know what? I don’t see an end to it because finally people have quit sucking. They now admit when stuff is cool. Zombies are cool. I don’t see this going anywhere.
Graphic Policy: Awesome. Well thank you for your time and much continued success. I appreciate everything.
Tate: My pleasure bud.
Graphic Policy: So now I will finish watching you “corpse” this sweet little girl here. (laughs)
Tate: Absolutely. (laughs)
So there we have it. A master of quite an unlikely craft, but still very much a product of where he was raised. A true gentleman and willing to open up to anyone about their like minded interests. If you aren’t already familiar with his work, I strongly urge you to check it out and if you get to see Tate work in person , let me tell you it’s one Hell of a show.
Twitter – @illwilledFX
* Graphic Policy would like to extend a thank you to F. Rousseau Photography for the killer shots.