MAKING monsters is what John Cox is good at.
Already about 200 children who have raucously visited the Grafton Regional Gallery to look at his How to Make a Monster exhibition can testify to that.
Gallery director Jude McBean said more than 600 more children are due through the gallery before the next school holidays, drawn by the magic of one of the movie industry's greats.
Mr Cox, who won an Oscar for special effects in 1996 for the Australian hit movie Babe, was in Grafton yesterday to talk about the exhibition which travels around the world.
Before arriving in Grafton it had toured the USA and after its final day, on October 21, it will be packed up and taken to Canada for its next date.
Mr Cox brought his Oscar with him, this time carefully packed in a Perspex display case.
"After the awards ceremony everyone I knew wanted to touch it," he said.
"Within two weeks just about all the gold below the head was worn away to the silver underneath.
"After a year of grace showing it around to everyone, I sent it back to the Academy (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) who replated it and sent it back."
Mr Cox said movie work for his type of special effects had largely dried up in recent years due to the rise of computer graphics.
Although he is a fan of computer graphics, he believes movies relying totally on computer graphics lose something.
"When a live actor is playing opposite one of my models, he interacts with it; there's something happening between the two characters that you don't get when it's computer animation placed into the movie later," he said.
The gallery has waited a long time for this exhibition and plans to make the most of it, said Ms McBean.
"We booked it in five years ago," she said. "We've got bookings for 840 school children up to the school holidays and then we're looking to attract visitors to the region with our TV advertising."
The exhibition runs until October 21.
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