Making Monsters in L.A
Jordu Schell | Creature Designer
NHM Online Presents: L.A. at Play, an exploration of creators and collectors of figurines and dolls that connect to L.A. history, culture, and fandoms.
Jordu Schell has always been creative. While perusing a news stand in Philadelphia, Schell stumbled upon an incredible magazine with colorful, blood-splattered monsters and creatures. That was it, Schell was inspired to begin sculpting deadly alien creatures from the depths of his imagination.
I think that the creative spirit is the most important gift human beings have, and it must be nurtured.
Schell has now been in the L.A. film and television industry since 1987. His talent is world-renowned, and his credits include Avatar, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, 300, Hellboy, Aliens vs. Predator–Requiem, Men in Black, The Mist, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, Alien: Resurrection, The X-Files Movie, Predator II, and many more.
He sat down with us and shared his connection to L.A., how he got started and how he homogenizes all of the various influences into one cohesive creature and character. Click here or on the link above to dive into Schell's world of creatures.
Inspired by nature ...
Schell is an avid insect collector and finds inspiration for his creature in the most interesting places—including the Natural History Museum's Entomology and Live Animals collections! Below are photos from his visit to NHM.
Schell finds inspiration from insects and arachnids' incredibly unique and sometimes creepy bodies. Pictured here, is Schell with Senior Manager of Living Collections, Leslie Gordon getting an up-close look at the incredible Jungle nymph, a type of walking stick.
The tailless whip scorpion is one of Schell's favorite arachnids. Although they have those big claws which they use to crush their prey, they are no danger to people!
While visiting the Entomology collection Schell spent some time awing at the most macho of all macho-named beetles, the Titanus giganteus, an incredibly heavy and large wood-boring beetle.
This massive longhorn beetle can grow to roughly six or seven inches long! These insects are invasive. They can be found munching on the barks of trees—enough to kill them! If you listen closely you can hear their larvae feeding on tree bark.
This ambush predator is the leaf mantis or leaf-mimic mantis because it mimics leaves. Can you think of any monsters that used camouflage as a way to ambush their prey?
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Bonus Footage: Mini Creature Features
Want to hear more about Jordu? We do too! Check out the bonus footage below.
I try my best to help young people realize their potential–it's when people are very young that you have the chance to get in there and mess with their minds. You have the chance to inspire them, excite them, and galvanize them towards some kind of distinct creative destiny. And I think that is priceless.
The L.A. at Play story is not complete without you! Share your creature, doll, or figurine story and follow the stories of the makers who are contributing to some of L.A.'s most iconic fandoms–tag us @NHMLA with #LAatPlay.