St. C. native making up a film career

BECOMING A makeup artist was not in Jeff Swan’s plan when he first went off to Ohio University in Athens.

Now the St. Clairsville native couldn’t picture himself doing anything else.

Swan’s first experience doing any kind of makeup work was in his college film class, when he had to work on actors for student movies. Swan pursued a degree in film with a minor in theatre.

It was after college, when he received real world experience.

“A friend of mine and I were going to visit another friend in Fayetteville and we passed where they were filming “Hellraiser III.” So I was basically dropped off and I walked on set and asked for a job,” said Swan.

Swan did not receive that job that day since he did not live there. Upon returning home, he told his family that he was moving, loaded up his car and left with what little money he had.

“I worked for two months at 17 hours a day without pay, but it was my first gig,” said Swan. “That was the bait that hooked me.”

While on set, Swan was mixed the blood, patched customs and applied make-up to actors. While he enjoyed the makeup since he always had a love for horror films, Swan was also working to become an actor.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to do makeup or acting, but I did learn that you have 120 percent to what you want to do and be dedicated, it’s your life. You sacrifice and live paycheck to paycheck,” said Swan.

Swan, upon making the decision, received training at The Joe Blasco School Makeup in Orlando. Since then, he has moved on to become a freelance makeup artist in Los Angeles, working for motion pictures, television, commercial and print for over 21 years.

Swan has worked for Universal Studios on the first “Halloween Horror Night” which has become very popular. He has also worked with celebrities like LL Cool J and Rob Lowe.

One of his favorite projects was working with the United States Marines and the Burbank Fire Department for injury-simulated makeup for mock-catastrophe drills.

“Not only was I helping my country, but I might also help to save lives,” said Swan.

“It was the most gratifying.”

One thing that Swan wanted to pass on is to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Always pursue your dream, so that later on you will have no regrets.

Swan is still living in Los Angeles and is currently teaching makeup and special effects.

Van Dyne can be reached at