A native of Charleston, WV, it was obvious to every one but RJ, from a very early age that he would become known for the extroverted, yet down to earth and kind personality he exhibited on the show Face Off. He has also had quite a penchant for the creative flair since that time as well.
Due to the mesmerizing effect the visual imagery in the Star Wars saga had on him as a youngn’, RJ began making 3 dimensional art projects in Kindergarten and hasn’t stopped since. He has a love of the creative process and enjoys the ability to see a project through from the very early conceptual phases all the way to the performance, literally bringing a project to life.
Combining his love of creation and performance, he naturally gravitated to puppeteering. He was influenced largely at this time by the films The Dark Crystal, Little Shop of Horrors, and Labyrinth. But it wasn’t until RJ discovered the films of Tim Burton that he learned that make up artistry, puppeteering and costuming were all very similar skill sets that criss crossed over into each other.
Starting with Beetlejuice and Batman literally one year apart, he became mesmerized with something new: prosthetic make up. The names Nick Dudman (for his amazing Joker make up) and Ve Neill ( for her Beetlejuice and Penguin creations) would be forever burned into his brain, alongside his make up artistry idols Rick Baker, Stan Winston, Greg Cannom, and Jack Pierce.
Attending Capital High School in Charleston, WV a Performance Art Magnet school, RJ received a world class education under theater director Molly Lhor- Robinette, and Visual Art Instruction under Mary Smith. After graduating, RJ attended The Joe Blasco Make up Artist Training Center in Hollywood and immediately began working for Alterian Studios Inc., under world class effects Artist Tony Gardner, where he had the ability to work on such big budget box office movies as BATMAN AND ROBIN, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, and CONTACT, just to name a few. This, plus a brief stint at ADI during the filming of BEDAZZLED and 6th DAY, allowed him to return home with the skill set to teach at his alma mater. For 8 years, RJ taught at Capital High School in the Department of Film, Television, and Multimedia Arts and Sciences, a department he wrote and designed the curriculum for.
After the first season of Syfy’s reality television game show, Face Off, RJ auditioned for season 2 at San Diego Comic Con International in 2011. Winning the final spot on the show after competing against two other potential contestants, he finished as a runner-up. Soon afterward his experience on Face Off, RJ left teaching to work full-time as a special-effects artist while running an e-commerce site selling airbrush equipment, including his own Shadow line of brushes.
Fan favorite RJ later returned for Face Off season 5 as one of eight veterans competing against eight rookies. He was eliminated in episode 5 where the contestants had to create a Mother-Nature inspired goddess with attributes of their own mothers.
Rj is a consummate artist and not only a creator of and contributor to the arts but an avid consumer of the arts as well. He hopes that his turns on Face OFF will lead to bigger and better opportunities as that consummate artist whether it be in acting, directing, designing, or creating, Art is ALWAYS at the very core of all of RJ’s world, and that is EXACTLY where RJ wants to BE!