Growing up in a small-ass town was pretty lame for special effects artist Elly Goodroad. She was an odd kid with a weird sense of humor who remembers being bullied on the school bus because of what she liked. The backwoods types — including her own family — didn’t much care for anything outside of the norm. Luckily she shrugged it off, with a little help from her online friends.
“Back when MySpace was fizzling out there was an app that you could take any photo of yourself and turn it into a zombie,” she says about her first dive into body art. “I was fascinated by this and I spent hours upon hours creating different kinds of zombies and skeletons from different pictures.” After posting them and seeing her friend’s reactions, Goodroad says she knew this kind of work was for her.
She even admits to not being the best drawer on paper, that using her own skin as a canvas came more natural to her — so she just kept doing it. The aesthetic stuck, went viral, and now Goodroad has an even stronger and more supportive fanbase than when it all began.
Her talent has garnered work on large campaigns for both Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures promoting the release of new movies. Her face is also front and center on makeup displays in Walmarts across the U.S. and Canada and even featured on a few products for Mehron makeup.
For now, Goodroad is focusing on Halloween (yes, already), as she plans to release one new look a day in October via social media — squeezing in new collaborations along the way.
It just goes to show the haters can do what they do. Weird kids with creativity? We reckon they always come out just fine.
What initially got you into art?
I’m still trying to figure out the answer to this question myself, but I do remember back when MySpace was fizzling out there was an app that you could take any photo of yourself and turn it into a zombie. I was fascinated by this and I spent hours upon hours creating different kinds of zombies and skeletons from different pictures. My friends would get creeped out and the reaction I received from that fueled me to continue doing it. I realized I loved to scare people and make them question my sanity. Then one day I thought to myself, 'Huh, I wonder what it would look like if I actually did that to myself with makeup instead of just on the computer … ' I have also always liked horror movies and out-of-the-box things and I was always considered the weird kid growing up because of this. I definitely had to mask my personality and interests during my school career, and at home too, because growing up in a small town, a lot of people didn’t really understand things that were out of the norm. I was even bullied on the school bus for being the kid with the weird style and humor and I also think a lot of my inspiration stems from what I’m feeling and things that I am currently going through at the time.
Why draw on yourself, isn't paper easier?
I have always been a really creative person. When I was a kid, I had a couple of Disney reading books and I would trace and draw the characters and give them to family members for holidays. I’m absolutely not the best at drawing, in fact I kind of suck and I don’t even know how to doodle, so when I started creating art on my body, I was very surprised and shocked with what I could do. I find it much easier to create art on myself opposed to on paper or any other type of medium.
What's the most difficult aspect of using yourself as a canvas?
I think the most difficult aspect of using myself as a canvas is that sometimes what I have planned in my head and what I envision something to look like, doesn’t always portray correctly when I attempt it in real life. I’m still pretty new to this and have only been creating art on myself for about 3 years, so I think I just need more practice. But that is something I struggle with a lot. I could have the most creative look planned out in my head, but once it gets to the execution, it doesn’t turn out like how I was hoping it would.
On average, how long does it take to wash off?
Depending on how extensive the look is, it could take anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours to remove everything. On average though, I would say about a half an hour. If I’m using gems or prosthetics, it takes much longer to remove because there’s a lot of adhesives involved that isn’t the easiest to remove quickly.
Ever get stained by the materials you use?
I do get stained quite often from makeup that I apply. Especially if its a body paint! Pinks and certain blacks stain my skin. I remember about a year ago, I created a full body skeleton look and I still looked like a skeleton on my chest after a couple of washes! It was actually kind of cool in a way, but also not appropriate for the real world, I suppose.
What kind of work do you find with body painting? Are there any projects you're working on that you'd like for our readers to know about?
There’s a lot of different kinds of work that I have had the opportunity to have! I have worked with Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures to help promote the release of new movies such as The Strangers: Prey at Night, Halloween, and Escape Room to name a few. I have also been featured on a makeup display in Walmart stores across the United States and Canada! And I am also on the packaging of some products for Mehron makeup! I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had thus far and how far I've advanced in my makeup career.
Currently, my next biggest project that I have in the works is something that my fans have named 'Ellyween.' Every single day in October, I will be posting a brand new look on my Instagram account including video tutorials as well! I actually start creating Halloween looks about mid-June believe it or not. August through October I’m pretty much dead to the world because of all of the looks I have planned and I also have to keep my schedule more open for potential collaborations. Never a dull moment!