Special-effects artist reveals her out-of-this-world design secrets

ByMark Nunez and Rolando Pujol via Localish logo
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
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Tori Fox went from visiting Disney parks as a kid to growing up to become an artist conjuring up magic at places like Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

Orlando, Florida -- Tori Fox went from visiting Disney parks as a kid to growing up to become an artist conjuring up magic at places like Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

Fox, who specializes in scenic art and special effects, had an education that included training at the Vocational Academy of Makeup and Prosthetics in Orlando, Florida.

"I learned a ton about mold making, painting. And then from there, I kind of transitioned into the scenic-arts field. My career has led me to a lot of really interesting jobs building things with carpentry, fiberglass, because I live in Orlando with a lot of theme-park stuff."

She considers herself lucky to work on projects for iconic venues like Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

"It was cool seeing pictures come out and see something that I maybe had a little bit of a hand in, in the background," Fox said.

In her work, she aims to make people smile and escape their own lives, transported into a fantasy world.

But her imagination was sparked when she was still a child. Her parents worked for Disney, and she grew up in theme parks, getting a first-hand education as she explored theme-park experiences.

"Through that I really gained just the love of themed environments and being able to see the costuming associated with that, the props, the scenery," Fox said.

But she holds a special place in her heart for Star Wars, remembering what a big deal themed weekends were at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

"You could see characters walking around, you can see those costumes up close. And the first time one of the things that I love the most on the screen was very tangible for me," she said.

Fox has created characters that could well fit into the Star Wars universe, and her favorite is Bubbles, whom she introduces us to in the video.

"Originally, she was just a practice, a junk pole from a mold, something that I didn't really think was gonna turn into anything. But over time, I kept painting her and I started falling in love with the paint job and in my mind, she's kind of like the Princess Leia of the Mon Calamari. So she's kind of a rebel resistance leader, if you will."

Be sure to watch the video as she shares her design-making secrets, and shows us how to turn a pristine white leather purse into a weathered, futuristic prop.

"When I think about maybe more of my scenic or theme-park work sometimes I don't want them to think at all. You don't want anything to be noticed too much. Because then it doesn't really feel that authentic to them" if they don't feel fully immersed in this fantasy world, she said.

The idea is to make the guest feel like they are no longer on Earth.

"That's when you're successful. And that's really what it's all about, right," Fox said.