San Antonio native chronicles career as Hollywood makeup artist

The first time makeup artist Lawrence Mercado made fake blood on the set of a movie, it turned purple. It was for the 2012 comedy-horror Blood Cousins from local sketch comedy troupe Comedia A Go-Go.

“It was a running joke that [the filmmakers] had to color correct all the blood in the movie,” Mercado, 39, told MySA during a recent interview. “I needed to know how to make better blood before I moved to Los Angeles.”

Mercado knew he had a lot to learn if he wanted to turn movie makeup into a career. A 2002 graduate of Jefferson High School, Mercado eschewed college and worked a series of random jobs, including at a toy kiosk at South Park Mall and downtown at the now-shuttered Ripley’s Haunted Adventure. It’s at Ripley’s where he began to learn about horror makeup and effects.

Mercado, who grew up watching classic Universal monster movies like Frankenstein and The Wolf Man and 1980s horror classics like The Thing, remembers once getting a job for a local independent movie and having the director ask him to create a fake sledgehammer to hit someone in the face. Without hesitation, Mercado said he could do it.

San Antonio native and Hollywood makeup artist Lawrence Mercado.

Adrian Huerta and Noel Vasquez

“When I got home, I was like, ‘How am I going to do this?’” Mercado said. “My dad would always tell me, ‘Don’t ever say you don’t know how to do something because you can always figure it out.’ So, I did, and it came out cool. What I do has always been a lot of trial and error.”