For more than three decades Joshua Turi has been providing Special Effects Make-up and Prosthetics to the TV and film industries. Turi is a three-time Emmy award winner for his work on Saturday Night Live. His countless credits include Orange Is the New Black, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, and the upcoming Daredevil series. Joshua Turi’s No Trace Blood was born on the sets of some of these fast-paced shows.
Joshua Turi’s No Trace Blood: Meet The Master-The Beginning
Where were you born/raised?
I was born and raised in northern New Jersey. I grew up in a little town called Hillsdale and now reside in Harrington Park.
What sort of education did you have?
Mostly, the streets. Lol. Just kidding. I graduated high school, and that’s about where school ended for me. I wasn’t the best student. I couldn’t wait to get out of school. All I wanted to do was make monsters, common prosthetics, and blood.
So, you knew from childhood that makeup and prosthetics were what you wanted to do?
I’ve known I wanted to be a Makeup artist since I was about 9 years old. I was lucky enough to actually see a makeup artist working, As I stood there fascinated by this man, he told me to jump up into his chair. He then proceeded to put a small slip latex cut on my cheek, which I wore for 2 days, hahaha, it was amazing. From that day forward this was all I wanted to do.
In addition to that wonderful cut on your cheek, what were your early influences?
One of my earliest influences was, when I was 7 years old, I saw the 1st Star Wars movie when it came out. The cantina sequence was the most incredible thing I can ever remember seeing. All those monsters and aliens and creatures all-in-one place.
Also, I can remember sneaking up at night when I was still a very little kid, and we had this old black-and-white TV in another room, and I would turn on channel 9, (back then we only had 5 channels) which late at night would show a lot of monster movies. That was the first place I ever saw the classic monsters.
Those were my earliest inspirations
How did you get your start in makeup and prosthetics?
When I was a kid, my mother was one of the first location caterers here in New York. My father died when we were really young. So I just grew up going to work with mom. So this is where my interests really grew. I would sneak around sets, and check out the different departments. But I would always go try and find the makeup people, just to see what they were doing. So when I was about 15, we were on a movie, and I befriended this makeup artist, and I feel really bad because I don’t quite remember her name. She was so lovely, and so friendly to me, and just let me hang out with them. Anyway, they had this foot standing effect that had to happen the next day, and whoever their make up effects person was, he quit, and she asked me if I would like to do it. I thought I was going to throw up when she asked me, but before I could run away and hide, I said yes, lol. I didn’t even have a license yet, had to have my family drop me off at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, lol. So anyway, I get there the next day and fabricated this shoe onto a piece of dowel with tubing running down to it. I then built an ankle out of cotton and an ace bandage and was able to fit a sock over that. I filled a condom with blood and shoved that under the laces of the shoe. We put the pants over the whole thing. I brought it on to set, we stood it in front of the camera, the guy stabbed the knife into the top of the foot, the condom broke blood went everywhere, and I pumped through the tube and the blood came out the bottom of the shoe. That was the first effect I ever did. I will never forget that day, it was the best day ever. And I was hooked!
When did you start your own Company?
Well, I’ve kind of always been out here contracting my own jobs. Even when I was first starting out and working in other people’s shops, and for other artists, I would always pull inside work that was my own. But I guess you can say I formally started Designs to Deceive, about 20 years ago. And then over the last 10 years, it’s evolved into where we’re at now.
Joshua Turi’s No Trace Blood: Meet The Master-The Blood
Why did you decide to create your own line of blood?
I always say I’m one of those guys that like the cooking part of cooking. What I mean is, I’ve always liked to make my own ingredients, come up with my own formulas, alter materials, etc, for whatever I’m doing. I still make all of our pax, slimes, muds, and core materials for our shop. And, of course, I’ve always made my own blood.
Now, with all of that said, I am not downplaying products that are commercially available. As a matter of fact, a lot of these products on the market are incredible, and they’re perfect products, but like I said, I’ve just always enjoyed the creation part of what we do. So as I said above, I’ve always made my own blood. And over the years I have altered it to suit the job that we were doing. Changing formulations, modifying colors, etc. And over the years, I’ve listened to a lot of the problems that makeup artists have had with other types of blood that were available to them. So every time I heard about an issue, I would come up with a way for my blood not to do that. So it kept evolving to what we have now.
What makes No Trace Blood unique?
Here’s what I feel makes No Trace unique, and these are the things that make me very excited about this blood:
There are bloods out there that are non-staining, but you can’t use it in the mouth.
Some bloods are mouth safe but will stain.
Some bloods are great for silicone but are made of ingredients that won’t stay on the skin.
What makes No Trace unique is that this blood will not stain skin, clothing, hair, or set pieces. It will not bead on silicone, and most importantly, is mouth safe. This blood addresses all the issues of stage and film blood and solves them in one formula. No Trace is the perfect blood for resets and quick changes. You can let it dry a bit, for a crusty look, or keep it wet. It’s very versatile, and I’m extremely proud of it. (Editors Note: We LOVE No Trace Blood and we have tried a lot of blood.)
What shows or particular scenes have used your No Trace Blood?
This blood was put through the wringer on all of the Marvel shows for Netflix. But it really earned its stripes on two seasons of The Punisher. It is being used by a large number of shows shooting here in the tri-state area, too many to mention all of them, but some are, Mr. Robot, The Plot Against America, The Sinner, For Life, The Trial of the Chicago 7, M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant, Orange is the New Black, and many more. We’ve also sent gallons out to the show Fargo.
And, we just found out that No Trace Blood was used on Billie Eilish in her video for “Bad Guy”. And we are starting to get it into the hands of a number of Broadway shows, who like it specifically for its cleaning and non-staining properties.
Joshua Turi’s No Trace Blood: Meet The Master-The Career
Describe a day in your life. Is it designing, creating, long hours?
Yeah, as you guys well know, when you own and run your own business, it never stops. Its 24 hours a day. We have multiple shows running right now, I have a few people working for me full time, and I’m now a one-man show in the blood manufacturing business. Lol. I make it, fill it, label it, ship it, deliver it. I love to be busy.
Sometimes the “business” side gets in the way of the art side, but you have to make sure you balance that out.
What brings you joy in your job or your favorite part?
To be honest, my favorite part of what I do is what I do. I love that I’ve surrounded my life with creativity, and especially creative people. I get to get up every day, make some cool things, be a part of some really cool and interesting projects, and be around other creative people. I’m a very fortunate person to do what I love, and I don’t take it for granted. I still wake up every day excited to get rolling.
Do you have an interesting or funny story about something that went terribly wrong with an effect or prosthetic, perhaps on SNL?
Well, SNL is a whole other set of interview questions, lol. Lots of funny stuff that happened to us over there. Every week something happened to us, lol. Years ago, I was doing a movie, and we were cutting a girl’s throat. We were shooting out in West Jersey in a cornfield during the Winter. We have her in the prosthetic, tubing is rigged up, pumps are filled. On action we hit the syringes, and nothing happens. We cut, do a quick little check, cameras start rolling again, on action we cut the girl’s throat, nothing. We hadn’t realized that, because it was so cold outside the blood had actually frozen. As we went up to check the tubing everything cracked and shattered in our hands. I had never seen anything like it. We had to take her back inside, in the warmth, re-rig this whole thing, and go back outside into the cornfield with a 5 gallon bucket of hot water, to keep all of the tubing in there so nothing would freeze. That was a fun day. Lol (Editors Note: These stories would make a fascinating book. I may have to write it.)
Is there a favorite project or makeup design you’ve done?
I love each and every project that we do. And it may be for different reasons. It may be that I loved the makeup design on this one show, or it may be that the cast was so nice on one, or the production staff was great on that one, or everything just fell into place on the other one. They all have something about them that I love. But, with that said, I think I’m very proud of season 2 of The Punisher. We had a massive amount of challenges on that show and an extremely short time to do everything. We had to get very inventive on that one. We had crews running all over the place, the makeup dept. head on that show was amazing, and we worked as a great team. And my team was on point. It was just one of those shows that everything fell into place.
Is there something you wish you could do-over?
The Jigsaw makeup from the Punisher. We had to stick to the design idea that came from Marvel, which I loved, but I would’ve loved to be able to go a little deeper, and more impactful with the look. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of what we put forth in the show, I just would have loved to have done it a little bit differently.
Joshua Turi’s No Trace Blood: Meet The Master- Relationship With MWS
How has MWS helped you do your job?
Are you kidding, MWS has become one of our go-to suppliers for anything we need, and for anything we need fast. And over the years, if MWS didn’t have something that you needed, they would take the suggestion, and bring it in for you. And, the owners and staff are top-notch. Makes the biz proud.
Are there certain essential items you must always have on hand, perhaps from MWS?
Well, obviously our makeup kits and set kits need to always be stocked because we never know what production is going to hit us with during the day or change on us. So being able to keep a stocked kit is essential. But also for me, I end up using a lot of supplies from MWS for different things that we make in our shop. Materials for backing, contact adhesives, foam, etc. We also do hair work for all of our dummies, and body parts, and dummy heads, so being able to keep a supply of hair styling products for the shop, is another essential. And that’s one of the best parts about MWS, it’s really a 1 stop shop.
Joshua Turi’s No Trace Blood: Meet The Master-The Future
Is there a project you’d love to work on?
The next one, lol
Or a star you’d love to see covered in No Trace Blood?
We should cover them all! And why not, it washes away perfectly. hahaha
MWS is deeply grateful to Joshua Turi for taking so much time out of his crazy schedule to answer our questions with insightful wisdom and humor.
We have No Trace Blood in-stock in-store and online. We know you will love it as much as we do.