From Masks to Medicine – Artist Tyler Green’s innovative product line saves lives
Everything in Tyler Green’s Winsted studio demands attention: realistically crafted fingers and hands that look like severed body parts, a synthetic torso so authentic it requires up-close reassurance, and complex masks that are simultaneously terrifying and fascinating. And yet, with so much competing for attention, one thing steals the spotlight: the artist himself.
The sixth generation Litchfield native stands poised to revolutionize medical training and enhance personal and professional lives, a journey of innovation and determination that began in early childhood.
“I was a natural-born creator, an inventor,” Green, 32, states, reminiscing about his habit of disassembling toys and reconstructing them, or spending hours crafting monsters out of Scotch tape and tinfoil. “Ideas always flowed quickly and I was always thinking ahead.”
He credits his family for being “incredibly supportive” and allowing him to be creative, and praises educators who recognize that each student learns differently. He fondly remembers Barbara Salinger and Frances Clem—his art teachers at Litchfield High School—for nurturing his talents. “We need more people like that in the world,” he declares.
At 18, Green enrolled in Tom Savini’s Special Makeup Effects Program in Pennsylvania where a hands-on education exposed him to psychology, art appreciation, color theory, anatomy, and physiology. Expanding on special-effects skills, he worked for a company specializing in developing artificial limbs and, later, as a dental lab technician, creating dentures and being “fascinated by prosthetics and their ability to help people.”
When the reality TV series “Face Off” held a casting call, Green auditioned and made it on the show. He gained national recognition in 2014 when his special-effects makeup talents propelled him as a finalist of the SyFy show’s season six.
His masks, ranging from monsters, zombies, and aliens, to imaginary woodland creatures, are still in demand—last year the Boston Symphony Orchestra rented them for a special Halloween flash mob in homage to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”—and Green continues to teach special effects classes and mask-making workshops.
“The show changed my life,” Green expresses. “It was a huge fulfillment that gave me confidence and understanding of who I was as an artist. It was a launching pad for self-evolution.”
Despite the validation and success the show generated, Green was far less interested in Hollywood accolades and more invested in intertwining his knowledge and passion in order to produce innovative materials designed for medical training and research purposes.
Most medical programs use “dummies,” but Green has launched Synthetic Simulation Systems, a product line that designs anatomically detailed, lifelike bodies, body parts, organs, and membranes that will enhance training and affect future professionals academically and emotionally.
“Other products do not give students or technicians a realistic feel for clearing airways, for example,” he explains. “I want the model to stir an emotional connection in someone, to be useful in teaching medical professionals to treat people with compassion, while also having the best tools available.”
Currently, he is molding a left ear designed for someone born without one, crafting suture training pads, and putting finishing touches on a hyper-realistic female head model designed to be utilized in airway training and head and neck surgical simulation.
“I am working very closely with surgeons and medical professionals on getting the products ready to pitch to hospitals and universities,” Green reveals. “My trophy is having better nurses and surgeons because they have the best tools, and someone having a more comfortable life because of something I’ve created. Monsters are fun, but my fulfillment comes from taking what I have learned and helping people in any way I can.”