From Special Effects Artist to Creative Consultant.

Having a Dream

As a youngster, inspired by the work of Steven Spielberg, Jim Henson and George Lucas, I decided to pursue a career as a visual storytelling magician.

I realised early on that I would need to become a ‘Jack of all trades’ and learn about the many different techniques that were used behind the scenes to create those amazing spectacles I loved so much.

Growing up in Spain during the eighties did not offer many opportunities and the internet didn’t exist yet so I started as a DJ at the local radio station to learn about sound engineering.

Once I moved to The Netherlands aged 17, I started working as a set builder and lighting technician for professional stage productions.

  • John de Mol. Stagehand for several TV shows. (Hilversum ’94).
  • Joop van den Ende. Traveling stage technician for several musicals. (The Netherlands ’96).
  • Frank Wentink. Stagehand for ‘Dinnershow 2000’. (Hilversum ’97).
  • De Nederlandse Opera. Stage technician in Het Muziektheater. (Amsterdam ’98).
  • Van Gogh Museum. In charge of the new auditorium. (Amsterdam ’99).
  • Six Flags Holland. Stunt show pyrotechnics. (Biddinghuizen ’00).
  • Eurocam Media Center. In-house studio technician. (Lint ’11-’12).

Studying to Become a Special Effects Artist.


Dudok College. Technical High School (Hilversum ’93-’95).
With internship working on animatronics with inventor Henk Gosses.


Art Academy Antwerpen. School for SFX Make-Up (Antwerp ’95).
With internship as SFX make-up artist at a costume rental company.


Academy for fine arts. Batchelor degree theatre faculty (Utrecht ’98-’02).
With internship as an ‘Imagineer’ for Creative Company.


CVO. Teaching degree for schools (Antwerp ’13-’15).
With internship at Stedelijk Lyceum Cadix teaching  stage technology and special effects.

special effects workshops

I was in my early twenties when creativity really kicked in and going to Art School only made it worse.

After graduating in 2002, I went through life as a freelancer designing and making sets, costumes, masks, puppets and special effects for theatre, attractions, events and TV.

I am now officially diagnosed as highly creative.

At the same time I also got bitten by the education bug while working as a workshop facilitator. From then on, teaching would become a recurring theme in my career.

Working Experience as a Freelance Creative:

The Brainstorm Industries

Event design for Pumpkin Halloween Event in Stadsfeestzaal.
Design and production of spooky themed decorations, including a graveyard on stage, a big pyramid with light effects and a huge pumpkin man. (Antwerp ’95).

Fantasy Factory

Working as a model maker and puppet builder.
Created the puppets Articus and Difoe for a tv pilot based on the children’s book ‘Fascinatio en de Wonderwind’ by Tom Manders Jr. Highlight: working with the makers of the dutch version of Sesame Street. (Amsterdam ’96).

Creative Company

Working as an ‘Imageneer’ designing themed decorations for attractions, theatre and events. Highlight as a designer and director for the pilot episode of ‘Amio’, a puppet show for children. (Mol ’02-’07)


Endorfine Producties

Working as a workshop facilitator during team building events ‘stunt double for one day’ where participants learned stage fighting, getting hit by a car, jumping out of a burning building, ratchet stunt and special effects make-up. Highlight: being responsible for the set design and lighting.

Stevarius Fire Projects

Working as a pyrotechnics assistant for live shows with fire effects. Highlight: collaboration project ‘Vlam in de pan’, a live show with a dragon puppet and pyrotechnics on unique locations.

Brain Wise Art Installations

Videography for art installations made with perforated metal sheets and light effects by visual artist Steven Van Nuffelen.
Recorded and edited video footage would be projected on the artwork to achieve certain visual effects.

Becoming an Independent Artist:

When I moved to Antwerp in 2010,
I started to work less as a freelancer and work more on my own
 independent projects.
My work is focused on exploring the intersections of art, education, technology and entertainment. 

Emilio Leonardo

I am always looking for ways to create win-win-win situations and alternative ways to realise complex ideas while integrating marketing strategies early on in concept development.

Now that I’m approaching my fifties, I feel like it’s time to pay it forward by helping others realise their dreams. That’s why I offer my services as an online creative consultant.