Born to an Air-Force family in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Crash spent his early childhood in the vagabond style of military life. Most of his early training began from observing nature, where he gained a deep appreciation for the natural order of things. Along with his observations of present nature, he was also intrigued with visions of what once was, namely prehistoric wildlife. He delved into the study of Paleontology and soon found the marriage between factual science and the powers of the imagination to be the perfect testing ground for creating what was once only a world of fantasy. Crash made the proclamation that, when he grew up, he was going to ‘do dinosaurs.’
Crash studied at Art center College of Design. After graduating, he worked at Stan Winston Make-Up Effects Studio as lead artist for 11 years. During this time he also collaborated with Tim Burton for Edward Scissorhands. Incorporating the facial features of actor Johnny Depp, Crash translated Burton’s concepts into three different illustrations, one of which was selected as the final look for the character.
Jurassic Park finally gave Crash the opportunity to work with whom he considers to be one of the greatest minds in filmmaking, Steven Spielberg, while also fulfilling his childhood prophecy – to ‘do dinosaurs’ – and do them in an entirely unprecedented fashion. With new science and new ideas about what dinosaurs really were, the film depicted dinosaurs that were very active, warm-blooded and even intelligent. Because the project was cloaked in secrecy in its early stages, Crash worked in solitude on his concepts and rendered dinosaurs for an entire year. Once the film went into actual production, Crash served as an on-set puppeteer, breathing life into the prehistoric characters through radio-and cable-controlled performances, as well as performing as the Raptor he designed, donning the full size Raptor suit himself.
Just some of the fascinating facts, collected by Steven Granowitz, about an artist whose career spans on several decades and has worked on titles like Rango, A.I, Terminator 2 as well the first three installments from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.