Credit: Joni Kat Anderson

Though she’s now a full-time jewelry designer living in Chicago, Joni Kat Anderson grew up tooling around in her dad’s special makeup effects studio in California. Currently run by her brother, David LeRoy Anderson, AFX Studio has handled makeup for the Dawn of the Dead remake and Men in Black, among a host of others.

“Occasionally I would work on films, but it was never a full-time gig for me,” Anderson explained. “I did work on Backdraft. That one was dead bodies. We had bodies in the back of the shop, and I was just taking blow torches to them, mimicking what a backdraft would do.”

She’s also worked on the old-school Hughes Brothers film Dead Presidents, doing hair work on a decapitated head. But she says that it’s only her brother’s big jobs that get her out west and into the studio.

“The most recent one I worked on was Angels & Demons, and that’s what the hands are from,” Anderson told me.

The hands, made of silicone and foam, were for the dead Pope who’s being mourned in the beginning of the film. They were the first test run of the mold, so she was able to keep them (they’re actually a life cast of her dad’s hands).

Anderson acknowledged that her early sculpting work alongside her dad and brother was a sort of precursor to her jewelry business, JKAT Jewelry.

“Working with my dad and learning sculpting from him was kind of where the jewelry was born.”

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