Deputy Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Mark Coulier for the award of Honorary Doctor of Arts.
Mark Coulier is an Academy Award-winning make-up artist, creative director of one of Europe's leading make-up effects companies, and celebrated ARU alumnus.
Born in Leyland in Lancashire, Mark attended Hutton Grammar School before coming to our University in the mid 1980s to study illustration. Soon after graduating, Mark stumbled across a book on prosthetic make-up that would change his life. Inspired by what he’d seen, Mark set about developing the skills that would turn him into a creative artist of global renown.
After a year of further study at the London College of Fashion, Mark spent time on a placement with Image Animation – a leading effects studio. Soon afterwards, equipped with his newfound knowledge, he began to win freelance work with some of London’s leading special effects companies.
Mark’s big break came in 1988 when he was appointed special make-up technician on the movie Hellbound, and this set the tone for the first phase in his career during the early nineties, when Mark worked chiefly on horror and science-fiction films – he was one of the artists responsible for the BAFTA Award-winning creature effects in Alien 3.
By the mid-nineties Mark had gained a wealth of experience, as well as a growing reputation for his ability to create characters from the ground up, taking them from concept through to completion.
In 1996, he set up his own company – Coulier Creatures FX – specialising in prosthetic make-up and props for film, TV and theatre. And the list of Hollywood hits in Mark’s portfolio began to grow, as he worked on blockbusters like Star Wars: Episode 1 and The Mummy.
By 2010 Coulier Creatures FX had become one of the best and most innovative prosthetic make-up studios in the business – with Mark doing extraordinary work to create the horrific burn injuries suffered by Niki Lauda, in the Ron Howard movie RUSH. And in the same year, aging characters over 30 years in the Nelson Mandela biopic, Long Walk To Freedom.
Perhaps his most famous, or infamous, role to date has been as key prosthetic make-up artist on the Harry Potter series of films, in which he was responsible for bringing to life the character of Voldemort.
Mark has worked on more than 50 films and has become one of the most sought-after artists in the industry, working closely with many Hollywood superstars.
He has collected countless awards, including three BAFTAs, three Primetime Emmy awards, and two ‘best makeup’ Oscars – for his transformation of Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady in 2011, and in 2014 for his work with Tilda Swinton in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
He’s also been nominated twice for the forthcoming 2019 BAFTAs – for his work on Stan & Ollie and Bohemian Rhapsody.
This is not the first time our University has sought to recognise Mark’s achievements – he received the Alumni Success in Business Award in 2015. Yet his ongoing innovation, his ability to stretch the boundaries of his craft, and to delight audiences around the world, all provide ample cause to celebrate his continuing success.
As an Academy Award-winning creative artist, Mark will be an inspirational role model for our film and illustration students.
Deputy Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Mark Coulier for the award of Honorary Doctor of Arts.