Photographer: Dorit Thies
Photo Assistant: James Bailey
Make up artist: Garret Gervais for Opus Beauty using Kevyn Aucoin Beauty
Nail artist: Michelle Saunders for Celestine Agency using Essie
Models: Chebo for Nous Models
Faith Picozzi for Nous Models
FEATURED MAKEUP ARTIST INTERVIEW
1. What do you hope your contribution to the project says to the viewer?
Makeup is the real star of this story and I hope people see how exciting and creatively fulfilling it is to have the freedom to experiment and not be bound by using makeup as we normally think of it. When beauty photographer Dorit Thies asked me to work with her on this layout shoot for upcoming Spring /Summer 2014 makeup trends, I immediately saw a rare opportunity to break the rules and work in an artistic and unrestricted way—a trademark of Dorit’s own work. We have similar esthetics and love bold and new conceptual editorial imagery.
Dorit wanted me to create some extreme looks around the eyes, integrating lines and layers of products, even applying wet colors. Bird of Paradise was inspired by some of our favorite impressionistic painters, like Egon Schiele and Emil Nolde, and we tell the story of colorful creatures suddenly finding themselves in a new and colorless world. I hope these images will inspire other makeup artists as well as beauty fanatics.
2. What is some good advice for makeup artists striving to make it in this industry?
Go after the work that excites you but follow any opportunity that helps develop your skill set. Really understand your products, the ingredients and your tools as that builds confidence to fearlessly experiment in the way you use products. I used lipstick and lip gloss on the models’ eyes and cheeks…and body paint color on their eyelashes. Restraint is equally as important as letting loose, and the story and environment in which you work will dictate which is right. Makeup artists have to do a variety of jobs and the bottom line is—your ability to do every one of those jobs is what will get you rebooked.
3. What are the rewards and pitfalls in working with a team of artists to achieve a common look?
Every team member must work toward a shared artistic goal. The key is good communication and speaking the same artistic language when it comes to describing your vision. That can be tricky because people come from very different places—and experiences.
Wound up--we were all so intuitively on the same page that it freed us up to inspire each other. Making a concept happen often requires a team to speak about the way something should "feel" visually and sometimes just having a reference picture to express your idea or feeling is worth a thousand words.
With a larger team, everybody on the shoot wants to take it over! That’s a common mistake. The client is always the lead, and you’re there to please them, whether the client is a creative director, a photographer, a celebrity or a celeb’s publicist.
4. How do you plan for the unexpected?
True story from this shoot: After the first test shot, we noticed the lashes glowing with color and decided to incorporate that into all the makeup concepts. Since that wasn't part of the original idea, I hadn't prepped for that with various colored mascaras. So I improvised, using non-toxic face colors and the same mascara wand, washing well between each application. It all comes down to knowing what’s possible with your products and tools. Have a variety of components in your kit that will allow you to accomplish a variety of effects on the spot. With time comes experience and experience is an artist's biggest help in dealing with the unexpected.
5. What are common mistakes makeup artists make?
It’s easy to get stuck creatively. You don’t really know what to do and don’t yet have a vision. This is why it's so important to keep abreast of what's happening in the world of fashion and beauty. I look at all current runway shows on Style.com and follow the trends. Cosmetic companies create new colors and textures based on these collections. I also study current fashion magazines, mostly European (Vogue Italia & Paris, Número 10, Another, Allure), to keep connected with what's happening in the editorial world of beauty.
6. What role does ongoing education have and how has it helped in your career?
Studying art history and film has been extremely beneficial in what I do as an artist and it helps me better understand photographic concepts and share a language with photographers and directors. Continuous education throughout your career is imperative. Fashion and beauty trends change as well as product formulations. You may work on an editorial set today, a red carpet tomorrow and a commercial set the day after, so you need to know what is appropriate to use in each different scenario. I am most inspired by fashion (archival or current), art (Old Masters or modern), film (Golden Era or present day), all of these worlds are hugely important to me.
7. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned as a makeup artist?
I appreciate all kinds of beauty, and while I am aware of existing trends, I've learned not to let them fully define what I think of as beautiful. Beautiful is not always pretty. Seven years ago I might not have thought of these images as beautiful, but I do now. When you’re young in this industry, you have very specific ideas of what you do and don’t like, and you’re convinced you know best. But as you grow, your world and visions evolve, so allow for that.
8. How would you describe your style?
I favor bold and strong looks. I like to see bare, clean skin versus skin covered in thick foundation and powder. I didn’t use any foundation in this shoot and instead used eyeliner pencil. On the eyelids, meanwhile, I went unconventional again and used wet textures-- lip gloss mixed with dry eye shadows. The trick is knowing how the gloss is going to “live” on the space you intend. In this shoot, after every 3 or 4 shots, the mixture would separate and crease, so we had to stay on top of that.
9. How hard or easy was it for you to build your career?
I started out 16 years ago by assisting a few top-level makeup artists from Los Angeles as well as New York. I assisted on ad campaigns, celebrity photo shoots, music videos, runway shows. After six months I got lucky and found a great development agent who believed in my talent and I went from crawling to walking. In my own experience, a career develops at it's own pace. There is no fast ticket to success. You must set your goals and stay focused.
10. What has been the most amazing opportunity you’ve had in the industry so far?
I’ve had a huge variety of great experiences in my career. I’ve traveled the world with pop icons and established stars like Britney Spears and Jessica Alba—and ending up recently at the Academy Awards. I've done films and television shows with clients and worked on beauty and fashion campaigns. Each of these experiences has been hugely rewarding and trying to pick which is the greatest is a bit like a parent trying to pick their favorite child. Every experience has had it's own reward.
11. What products are you in love with right now?
Right now I'm in love with rich, deep reds for lips like Bloodroses and Dantrice from Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, Future Red by Nars and Rouge Zinnia by Dior. I like eye colors such as 5 Colour Eye Palette in Golden Snow by Dior, eyeshadow single in Bad Behavior by Nars and eye shadow set in Palette 2 by Kevyn Aucoin Beauty. All perfect for a dramatic and fun holiday face.
15. Next big goal?
More creative shoots like this one so my work becomes a living, breathing work of art.