Artbiz with Dan Martin

Apr 13, 2017   //   by admin   //   artbiz, News  //  No Comments


Artbiz explores that middle ground between “art” and “business”. How genuinely creative people manage (or do not manage) to carve out a living doing what they love. How they juggle dayjobs, families, real life, relationships, paying bills and doing their craft/art.

Chances are if you’re a genre fan you’ve seen Dan Martin‘s handiwork. From dead dogs in High Rise to paranormal hoodies in F, Dan Martin is a special effects artist in demand, a modenrn day Savini, an English Bottin. A frequent collaborator of Ben Wheatley, Dan’s also an incredibly kind and generous humanoid who’s provided me with a chunk of advice in the past. A huge thank you to Dan for chatting with Artbiz.


Q1 First can you introduce yourself? Who are you? Do you have dependents? Do you have a mortgage? Are you the sole income earner?

Hi there. My name is Dan Martin, I have a mortgage with my wife, Jen Handorf, who is a producer. We have two dependants, a cat called Pfeffer and a puppy called The Pig.

Q2 What do you do creatively? How long have you been doing it?

I’m a special makeup and figurative effects designer. This line of work has been my sole source of income for twelve years (not including teaching, although that’s a side thing and I teach the same stuff) although I’ve been doing it in one way or another since I was nine.

16357917_10158041535235648_1698885827_oQ3 If you have one, what’s your day job? How long have had you that?

I don’t.

Q4 What are the benefits of your day job?

Q5 What are the drawbacks of the day job?

Q6 Your art/craft is it a hobby/ a side gig/ your dream job/ your full time job?

Full time job but also, basically a hobby that pays for my house.

Q7 How much of what you do creatively is dictated by commercial consideration?

I work for clients so there’s always a certain amount of restriction but I’m lucky to have regular collaborators who value my input enough that I’m pretty free, creatively.

Q8 Have you turned down commissions? If so, why?

A few. Normally because of a skewed budget:expectations ratio. Occasionally because of artistic differences and once because of a matter of personal taste.

16357206_10158041535240648_1979103001_oQ9 Do you have a long term plan? A series of short term plans? Plans, never heard of them?!

Not really. I’ve been very lucky that my work has struck such a note with my collaborators. I’m basically just happy to keep doing what I’m doing but at ever increasing scale.

Q10 What do you think of your “industry”?

At its best it’s the best thing that ever happened to me, at its worst it’s a dream smashing, bureaucratic money mill to which our creative visions are so much grist. Mostly the first one, though.

Q11 Is there anyone out there that you aspire to be like? Why?


No one specifically. I admire so many of the old names in my industry and there are so many people who have done such incredible work. I’m not sure which of them I’d want to emulate specifically but I just want to be able to innovate in any way I can and keep being paid to do my childhood dream.

Leave a comment