About

White Room Artifacts, LLC was established by former ILM model makers Don and Anna Bies for the specific purpose of designing and building traveling exhibitions, high fidelity artifacts and multimedia components.  Additionally, we are a full service Visual Effects company, capable of handling any effect or idea from conceptualization and design through building, production and final delivery.

Crucial to its success is the team of highly experienced artists and technicians, some of whom comprised the original model shop at ILM since 1975. The remainder of the team have worked at ILM for over twenty years, including working for Kerner Optical when it was established in 2006. 

Collectively, they have been responsible for many of the Academy Award winning visual effects of the biggest blockbusters in the last three decades, including STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, STAR TREK, BACK TO THE FUTURE, MATRIX, and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN film series.

Core Team

thumbnailDon began his career working as a mechanical designer on the 1986 Academy Award winning film THE FLY, followed shortly after on THE FLY II. He began his career with Lucasfilm operating the remote control R2-D2 for personal appearances and commercials while acting as the Lucasfilm Archives curator. As curator, he organized a number of exhibitions, and eventually began working at Industrial Light & Magic on INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE and GHOSTBUSTERS II. He remained at the ILM model shop until it was sold off as Kerner Optical in 2006. As a supervising model maker, his credits include the STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITIONS, the STAR WARS prequels, the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films, GALAXY QUEST, PETER PAN and countless television commercials. With White Room Artifacts, he conceived, designed and curated the exhibition “NASA: A Human Adventure”.

A graduate of La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia with a major in Cinema and Art History, Anna is a passionate film maker. She began her career working as producer’s assistant at Channel 7 Melbourne and within a year she was given the opportunity to join the award-winning comedy show “Fast Forward” as a wardrobe stylist. In 1990, director Duncan McLachlan hired her as an Art director on his first Australian feature film DRIVEN MAD. In between freelance commercial work, she was able to pursue her love of film making by writing for documentary film director Marc Gracie.

She moved to the US in 1995 and immediately began working at Lucasfilm as a researcher. In 1996 Anna moved to ILM and resumed her work as a stylist/costumer. One of her first major projects was rebuilding the new Energizer Bunny. She continued working at ILM on such features including HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. In 2009 she was given the opportunity to work as producer on a new theatrical trailer for cinema giant DLP. The trailer is now playing in over 6000 theaters worldwide.

thumbnailNelson grew up in Northern California and has over 20 years experience in the visual effects business. While enrolled in the art program at San Francisco State University in 1988, he was hired by George Lucas’s effects studio, Industrial Light & Magic. He joined the ILM Model Shop to work on a motion simulator ride, BODY WARS, which debuted the following year at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park.

Disney and its parks have been a recurring thread in Nelson’s career. In 2008-09, he was a primary model maker on the most comprehensive miniature of Disneyland ever built, featured as a centerpiece in the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. In 2009, he worked on the creature crew for the updated Star Tours attraction in the Disney Parks.

From 1990-2011, Nelson worked as a model maker for ILM, Lucasfilm, and Kerner Optical. His film credits include STAR TREK VI; STAR TREK GENERATIONS; GALAXY QUEST;STAR WARS—EPISODES II & III; ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: A. I.; HULK; WAR OF THE WORLDS; PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 & 3; EVAN ALMIGHTY; and INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULLS. He served as the Lucasfilm Archivist from 1994-95, and has maintained a close association with the collection of models and props, having refurbished scores of objects over the years. He has also provided technical support for Star Wars exhibitions across four continents.

Nelson joined White Room Artifacts in 2010 to help envision and realize NASA: A Human Adventure, the first large-scale exhibition of NASA artifacts, models, and replicas to travel outside of the U.S. He primarily worked as a model maker and writer on this groundbreaking exhibition that is traveling throughout Europe.

Senior Model Makers

Steve began his model making career as an Industrial Design student at California State University in Long Beach. In 1975, he was recommended for a drafting job at George Lucas’ newly formed film company, Industrial Light & Magic. Soon, Steve became a visual effects model maker at ILM after completing orthographic drawings for the various spaceships. His pickup truck was later used to film the infamous STAR WARS Deathstar “Trench Battle” sequence. Steve was one of the first 14 ILM employees hired by Lucas, and stayed with the ILM model shop for 31 years, until it was sold in August 2006.

Steve helped introduce several state-of-the-art prototype construction methods and techniques that the ILM model shop employed on many of their projects. During his 60+ feature film project tenure at ILM, he supervised the budgeting and fabrication of prototype models and miniature sets for 18 Academy Award nominated films. He was nominated for an Oscar and received the British Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (B.A.F.T.A.) for his work on BACK TO THE FUTURE II. He also received a Visual Effects Society award for Best Visual Effects for his work on Steven Spielberg’s WAR OF THE WORLDS.

He brings his vast knowledge and skills not only as a model maker, but as a project supervisor to White Room Artifacts. Steve’s passion for NASA’s manned space program and attention to detail contributed to the success of White Room’s traveling exhibition “NASA: A Human Adventure”.

Lorne Peterson operated a successful industrial design studio, creating sculptures for McDonaldland, when he was approached by a college acquaintance to help out on STAR WARS in 1975. Over thirty years later, Lorne has contributed to most of the biggest blockbusters during his time at ILM and Kerner Optical.

He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Art from California State University, Long Beach. In addition to working on many of ILM’s Academy Award winning films of the seventies, eighties and nineties, Peterson himself received an Oscar and a British Academy Award for his work onINDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.

Peterson’s experience and knowledge of materials and industry “tricks” has made him a mentor for many of his fellow artists over the years. In 2006, Lorne wrote “Sculpting a Galaxy: Inside the Star Wars Model Shop”, detailing his experiences working on all six of the Star Wars films.

Charlie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design from the University of Cincinnati. He was a toy designer for the preschool level at Mattel before joining Industrial Light & Magic in 1979 to work on THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Over his 25 plus year career at ILM, he worked on over seventy five films, more than thirty commercials, and three amusement park simulator rides.

In addition to his work as a model maker, Charlie “Chainsaw” Bailey has raced cars. He has been a frequent speaker for the Industrial Designers Society of America and the American Engineering Model Society. In 1993, Charlie became an honorary member of the newly formed Association of Professional Model Makers, and was honored with a Visual Effects Society award for his work on PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST in 2007.