Amy Whetsel grew up in Tulare, central South Dakota population 280. In a high school class of 12 students, she had to wear many hats from yearbook staff to cheerleading squad, student council to track team, even playing in the band. Thus a busy schedule and a multi-disciplined approach came naturally to her. She also spent time away from school on her Grandparents' farm where she learned how to be crafty—learning to knit, sew, crochet, bake and decorate cakes and use her hands for everything from picking rocks to castrating pigs.
She worked in restaurants getting valuable experience in how to get things done fast while maintaining high quality. At the University of South Dakota, she became interested in the theater arts. Designing makeup and costumes proved a rewarding use of her skills. After graduating with a BA in English and Liberal Studies Theatre with an emphasis in Costume, she moved to Los Angeles seeking a career in costume design. She pursued an “in” to the competitive, unionized world of costume design by offering her services to make clothing for puppets. Fortuitously, sending resumes to puppet fabricators resulted in a few interviews and a job offer.
Amy has contributed her skills to everything from realistic bears for THE EDGE, the reindeer in JINGLE ALL THE WAY and the leopard seals for EIGHT BELOW to the stylized suits for such iconic Ad characters as the Burger King, the Jack Links Sasquatch, the Jimmy Dean Sun and Mr. Peanut for Planters. She’s worked for many effects studios, including Animated Engineering, XFX, Edge FX, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, KNB and has been exclusive to Stan Winston Studios, later Legacy FX, since 2002.
Amy enjoys commercial work because the build time is short and the job is never boring. Supervising “soft” fabrication (textiles, foam, feathers, fur…) for commercials allows her to deliver high quality very quickly, the combination that has become her hallmark. Her favorite characters to have worked on are the raptors in JURASSIC PARK 3 and a human-size Sock Monkey she made for a Kia spot where she finally got to use the knitting skills she learned from her Grandmother all those years ago in Tulare.