22 Aug 2014
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Changing Faces

Delia de Cock, owner of Delia's Makeup and Theatrical Supplies in Dresher Arcade in Lansdale, can make anyone into anything. There is no boundary between real and fantastical

At  Delia’s Makeup and Theatrical Supplies, you can walk out as a beauty or a beast.

Owner Delia de Cock and effects artist Gus Clark do it all — gory fantastical to runway elegant.

Or, they can teach you how to be your own Lon Chaney.

“We teach you how to use all the materials that anybody needs in order for that particular makeup,” de Cock said. “We do whatever we can to give people the knowledge and know-how of how to use the products.”

Classes at Delia’s number in the double digits. They happen right inside the shop at Dresher's Arcade — a haunted house hangout of sorts.

Where else can you get blood on tap at $1.50/oz.? Where else is young Jason Voorhees your greeter? (Well, at least his molded head).

Delia’s boasts five large drink dispensers filled with all types of washable theatrical blood: vein, arterial, mouth blood (self-explanatory), edible, non-edible.

Shelves are stocked with Smoothon silicon molding and casting materials and Skin Illustrator alcohol-based professional makeup for film and television.

“We can’t keep Skin Illustrator in stock. We’re the only place on the East Coast, aside from New York, that stocks it in-house,” de Cock said.

Walls are filled with full lines of Ben Nye theatrical makeup, a brand, de Cock said, that is cost efficient for ballet, theater companies and haunted houses.

For $250 a day — sunrise to sunset or vice versa — de Cock will clutch her makeup kit and bring it to your set.  She’s skilled in blood squibs and making blood look good under certain filters. She knows because she’s tested the color on real blood.

De Cock’s journey to changing how people look began at age 16 — with a scar. When the Bergin County, NJ native was 16, de Cock became upset after doctors discovered cancer on her mom’s arm.

“She got it removed, and there was a scar there,” she said.

She met a woman who had a masectomy, and she felt different because it was awkward for her to take off her shirt.

“They were telling me about a place in New York that did medical tattooing to put aerolas on breasts (for breast cancer survivors),” she said. “My heart went out to her. It touched me. I thought I’ve always been good at makeup. How can I merge the two?”

The Philadelphia Lang Clinic graduate moved on to medical tattooing, which led her to scar camouflaging and permanent makeup for a plastic surgeon.

“If someone has vitiligo and their face is two different colors, for instance, I can match the skin to a color so you don’t see it,” she said. “With medical tattooing, there aren’t that many that do it.”

The Harleysville mother of two continued her education at Empire Beauty School and special effects makeup at Joe Blasco Makeup School in California.

She made her passion a business. She and Clark mold, they cast, they airbrush. They do professional makeup for HD. They do anything specialized to professional makeup artists.

That includes prosthetics and custom pieces.

“We just made a ‘King Royal’ statue for Royal Comics and Gaming,” De Cock said. “He sold it. We are making another one.”

Clark, of Lansdale, has a background in graphic design. He applied that to making latex masks as a hobby six years ago. Sculpting, he said, came natural.

“It consumed my life. It spiraled out of control,” he said. “It’s a pseudo second career.”

You can spend anywhere from $75 for custom masks totaling 100-plus, to upwards of $1,600 for one custom mask.

“I love making something new by the end of the day. I can create with my two hands and be happy with it,” Clark said. “Someone comes to me with a character and it comes to life — I love doing that. We can make anyone look like anything.”

Del Cock and Clark work mostly with silicone over latex. De Cock said silicone has a longer shelf life and looks more real. Plus, it’s less harsh on skin.

“If you work with a product you use on Hollywood films, you will have a quality piece that will last a long time,” she said. “In the long run, it’s very cost-efficient.”

With shows like “Face Off” and “Grimm” hitting the airwaves, it’s interesting to know Delia’s has already been working in that niche for 10 years. She opened shop in Dresher Arcade in Lansdale at 817 W. Main St. six months ago, after being in New Hope for years.

“The store is an active workshop and classroom,” de Cock said. “We run classes; we’re not ones that keep our secrets and what we’ve learned working on a set. We want to help out the scene and meet more people that do this stuff. This is a small and dedicated niche market.”

De Cock has worked on 15 films, most of them indies in the Philadelphia region, like "Loyal Betrayal" in the Project Twenty1 Film Festival.

“We’ve done a lot of medical commercials for Merck and local hospitals. If you see someone on TV for a hospital ad, it’s probably my work,” de Cock said.

She is currently working on “Midnight Show,” with special effects makeup demigod Tom Savini.

De Cock said she would love to get in touch with more theater companies in the area, especially ones that do productions year around.

“I’d love to move toward the New York scene,” she said.

She currently supplies a lot of haunted houses with makeup materials.

“Nowadays, times are tough. It needs a market. Nobody carries the brands we have all in one place. It’s a one-stop shop for professional makeup artists and effects artists,” she said.

Delia’s is expected to be a lot busier through the winter; it is supplying fake blood and theatrical makeup to NBC for a production being filmed completely in the Philadelphia area on tax breaks.

Halloween, naturally, is a busy time for de Cock and Clark.

“We’re letting people know we’re here,” she said.

The time was right, she said, to open business in Lansdale.

“I have a lot of friends around here. I like the community, and I like the fact that you can shop local. Parking’s not atrocious. With the train here, it’s easy for our clientele to come up. It’s a cozy spot.”

Check out more information and photos at Delia's Makeup's website at this link.

Like Delia's Makeup and Theatrical Supplies Facebook page  at this link.

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