Alum Makes ‘Walking Dead’ Spinoff Sets Ghastly—When She’s Not Wielding a Sword or Crafting Eye-Popping CostumesBy Chris Carroll | Photos courtesy of SEV GEDRA
Creeping rust and spreading decay—just a couple of the things that’ll take over our dying civilization after the zombie outbreak. But what if this apocalypse never happens, and the entertainment of millions depends on making everything look as picturesquely awful as if it had?
Gedra’s work ranges from an alarming fish costume (above) to this elegant fascinator, both of which she models.
That’s when you call Sev Gedra ’11, ’18. The studio art and art history grad’s new job is applying an end-of-days patina to locations around her home of Richmond, Va., where AMC shoots the new “Walking Dead” spinoff, “World Beyond,” which premiered in October.
It requires more than just basic skill with a paintbrush. “Making things look random, like they occurred naturally, is really hard, because your brain makes patterns naturally,” Gedra says. “Without realizing it, you start doing things in a predictable way, and it doesn’t look real.”
Predictability isn’t a word that comes to mind in surveying Gedra’s career so far. Since graduating from the University of Maryland, she’s lived around the country and created in a bewildering range of media: delicately beaded fascinators, and similarly delicate yet vaguely menacing horned headdresses; freakish bodily fluid-spewing costumes for the Richmond satiric shock-metal band GWAR; metal furniture crafted from salvaged fire truck springs and other materials; perfectly made-up faces of both the wedding and monstrous, costume ball variety. (Much of her work can be seen at her website.)
But it seems less random when she describes herself and the group of friends she creates with, including her boyfriend, as “fabricators.”
Gedra also creates accessories for a medieval combat sport she pursues with friend Ianje Castellanos (at left).
“We don’t pick one material,” she said. “My goal in my hobbies, and now my career, is that if you give me a material, I can make whatever you want out of it.”
That means metal, wood, fabric and her favorite—foam rubber—among others.
Longtime friend Ianje Castellanos got to know Gedra at local sword-and-sorcery recreational combat events in which Castellanos says her friend is known nationally “as one of the most fearsome female fighters.”
In addition to pounding competitors with padded swords, she unsheathes her creativity, introducing more realistic-looking shields that have spread throughout this hobbyist community.
“She’s a badass fighter and a creative badass,” Castellanos says. “It’s amazing to watch her go into a new medium and master it completely.”
When production of “World Beyond’s” first season wrapped, Gedra landed another TV set-painting job with Apple’s upcoming youth basketball drama “Swagger,” produced by NBA star Kevin Durant and set in Washington, D.C.
As someone who describes her version of success as “chickens in the backyard and a garden,” Gedra’s not aiming to put down stakes in Hollywood, although she’s willing to camp out just about anywhere for the right opportunity—namely, a chance to continue vanquishing new challenges in fabrication.
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