Four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shuffled awkwardly through Deep Ellum last night. They posed for photos in front of the neighborhood's iconic murals, searched out crime along its back alleys and pulled out their signature fighting moves inside Serious Pizza.
Everywhere they ventured, pedestrians cheered.
The turtle suits were all made by Derick Winsett. The ongoing project spanned about two years and involved building original casts, then molding the shapes out of high quality silicone. You can see documentation of his work here. Photographer Jacob King wore Winsett's early prototype of Michelangelo last year for Halloween and helped repay the favor by assisting in the painting of this newer orange model and lending hands to some logistical issues (weapons, harnesses, belt and pads). Winsett went on to complete his cast. Now that the series is wrapped, the friends took the turtles out for a spin on the town, with Winsett adjusting his costumes while King caught the magic on film.
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All of these turtles are hand-painted, use special studio-quality eyes and are collectively worth about $20,000.
Interestingly Winsett doesn't have a background in costume-building. He works at his family's construction company and says making these half-shell crime fighters was a creative outlet. When I asked King why he took on the project he shrugged and said "Why not? I really like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
However these turtle suits found their way into this world I think we can all agree that Dallas is a much more magical place because they exist.
Here are some candids of the crew on their Deep Ellum stake out.