Mike Bacarella, 28, is an artist who designs and creates latex masks for TV commercials, promotions and movies. His creations include a gorilla suit, creatures from outer space and caveman masks. “I remember making clay Frankensteins and King Kongs when I was little,” says Bacarella, who still begins each creation with a clay mold. “I make them to be as realistic as possible,” he says of his masks, which fetch from $75 to $500 each. Bacarella studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, worked briefly as a freelance makeup artist in Hollywood (his clients included Grady of Sanford and Son and guest stars on The Hollywood Squares) before moving back to his native Chicago. Two and a half days a week Bacarella works at the Maxillo Facial Unit of the University of Illinois Medical Center, where he uses his cosmetic and mask-making techniques to help patients disfigured by disease or birth defects. Bacarella gives up to 10 lessons on how to apply makeup so that the patient can feel comfortable in public. “I try to disguise by using highlights and shadows,” he explains. He admits he lives a somewhat Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde existence himself between the hospital and his commercial work. But, he explains, “all of this is the same. It is art.”
Cathy Wormsbacher, 23, has loved cars “from the time I could drive,” and in fact piloted a school bus at 18. One of eight children, she was raised in Milwaukee by her grandparents, who lived behind a gas station they operated. Four years ago Wormsbacher was working at a Ford dealership across town from the plant where the $25,000 collector’s-item Excalibur cars are handcrafted at the rate of one a day. She went in, brazenly asked for a job and was assigned to machining and fiberglass body work and assembly. Within a few months she was borrowed to ferry the Excaliburs crosscountry to owners and dealers. When she asked designer Brooks Stevens to let her test-drive his Formula Vee race cars, he agreed. On her shakedown, one of the car’s rear wheels flew off and Cathy careened off a fence into a swamp. “I was no A.J. Foyt,” she laughs, but she became a full-fledged member of the Formula Ford racing team. Now she is also manager-curator of the Brooks Stevens Automotive Museum, which houses 90 vintage cars, including President Truman’s town car and King Alfonso of Spain’s Rolls-Royce. To keep them in good running order, she takes them out for a spin on the streets of Milwaukee. Not content just to take care of someone else’s collection, she has started her own—it now numbers 12.