WESTMONT — J. Anthony Kosar is $100,000 richer and gets a lot more phone calls these days, but other than that, the Westmont-based special effects artist doesn't anticipate his life changing too much.
Kosar, of Lisle, was declared the winner of the SyFy Channel reality show "Face Off" on March 26. "It has been non-stop phone calls since the final episode aired," Kosar said. "It's been an awesome experience."
The competition pitted Kosar against 14 other make-up and special effects artists, with competitions having the artists design and produce masks, and other creations.
For winning, Kosar, 27, took home $100,000, a new Fiat 500 and the opportunity to be a guest lecturer at the "Make up for Ever Academy" in New York and Paris.
"The prizes still won't be coming for a couple months yet," Kosar said. "I guess they didn't want me driving around in the new car that I won before the show aired."
In April 2011, Kosar opened the doors to his first commercial space, his very own gallery-studio, school and workshop: Kosart Effects Studios at 760 Burr Oak Drive in Westmont.
There, he does work for clients and various art shows and exhibits, and teaches classes that train students in sculpting and painting techniques used in both fine and commercial art, but geared toward special effects.
While the show was taped last summer, Kosar said he had to keep his top finish secret for months.
"It actually was easier than I thought it would be," he said of keeping the win secret. "I kind of made a game out of it. Whenever anyone asked me all the time of I won or lost, I would just say I don't know.'"
Kosar said he won six "spotlight challenges" on the show — three-day competitions in various special-effects creations that are critiqued by a panel of industry judges — and one "foundation challenge."
And while some reality-show contestants complain that their appearance on television shows may paint them in a negative or false light, Kosar said he was happy with how he was portrayed on the show, and credited his competition with making it a great experience that he said he will remember for the rest of his life.
"We had a great cast this year and that really made it an incredible experience," Kosar said. "It has made me a better artist, and I learned from the contestants as well as from myself."
Kosar won't have much time to savor his new-found fame. He has several art shows coming up over the next few months that will take him to New York, Los Angeles and other places to display his work.
But he still plans on teaching classes this year at his Westmont studio, where teaches various make-up and effects methods.
"Creatively, being part of ‘Face Off’ was one of the best experiences of my life," Kosar said. "Being among 11 other great artists, you really learn to push yourself to the limit to be the best.”
To see clips from J. Anthony Kosar's appearances on the TV show "Face Off," visit www.syfy.com/faceoff.
For more information on Kosar, his artwork, and about the classes he offers, visit www.Kosarteffects.com.
A previous version of this story misstated the number of opponents that Kosar faced on the show, mischaracterized Kosar's efforts to keep his victory quiet, and misstated the number of events he won on the show.