Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Michael "Mike" A. Pangrazio (born 29 September 1956; age 64) is a motion picture visual effects artist, specialized as matte painter, who has contributed to three Star Trek feature films.

As a member of Industrial Light & Magic's (ILM) matte department, Barron worked as an uncredited matte artist supervisor on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and as credited as such on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. While at Matte World he worked on the backdrop matte painting of Camp Khitomer for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, again credited as matte artist supervisor.

Career outside Star Trek

Pangrazio's start in the motion picture industry was less than auspicious. Fresh out of high school he worked as scenic artist for a television network, which was a euphemistic term for "bucket boy", as he was charged with cleaning paint buckets, dirty brushes and other menial tasks. He subsequently performed these tasks for a small Hollywood effects studio, before he met Joe Johnston (an ILM staffer of Star Wars fame). It was through him that he was hired in 1978 at ILM. Lacking any kind of experience, he was taken under the wings of Ralph McQuarrie, who taught him the craft of matte painting, learning the trade in about three years. (Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects, p. 154) A prolific worker, at ILM, Pangrazio worked on such films as Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dragonslayer (both 1981), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Poltergeist, The Dark Crystal (all four 1982), Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), The Never Ending Story, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the television movie Ewok Adventures – Caravan of Courage (winning him a 1985 Primetime Emmy Award, shared with among others Chris Evans), Starman" (those 1984), The Goonies, Explorers, Young Sherlock Holmes, the science fiction feature Enemy Mine (those 1985), Labyrinth, The Golden Child in 1986, Harry and the Hendersons, Empire of the Sun in 1987, with the 1988 fantasy feature Willow as his last work for ILM.

In 1988 he followed Craig Barron, with whom he had worked closely during the ILM years, when the latter left ILM, and co-founded their own company Matte World (together with Effects Producer Krys Demkowicz). It was there that Pangrazio made the painting of Camp Khitomer as seen in The Undiscovered Country. Apart from this he worked upon a slew of other productions the company was involved with, including such features as The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Avalon', Darkman, Arachnophobia, RoboCop 2, Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), All I Want for Christmas, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Flight of the Intruder (1991), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Dracula, Captain Ron, Batman Returns,Far and Away, Leaving Normal (1992), Ghost in the Machine, Demolition Man, Malice, Hocus Pocus, Hot Shots! Part Deux, A Far Off Place, Sommersby (1993), Clear and Present Danger, The Shadow, and City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (1994). A television show the company and Pangrazio worked upon was By Dawn's Early Light (1990), that won him a second Primetime Emmy Award, shared with, among others, Craig Barron.

Around 1995, Pangrazio left Matte World and has not been active in the motion picture industry for about a decade, before returning in the employ of The Orphanage visual effects company, for whom he worked upon the productions Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Catwoman, The Day After Tomorrow, Hellboy (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Orphanage, and Sin City (2005). In 2005, Pangrazio joined Weta Digital and remained a prolific contributor in the, by now digital matte painting department, having contributed as visual arts director to productions such as King Kong (2005, for which he was co-nominated for a 2006 Visual Effects Society Award), Eragon, X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), The Water Horse, 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Bridge to Terabithia (2007), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), The Lovely Bones (2009), The Warrior's Way(2010), and Prometheus (2012). As of 2012, Pangrazio is still in the employ of Weta Digital.

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