There is something extraordinarily satisfying and exciting about using your hands and imagination to create something new. We have all written something expressive, or drawn an image that speaks to us on a very personal level. The importance of creativity to the human mind and having the ability to express our feelings is a very key part to being human. It helps us feel alive to make something out of nothing, or to use change to help us see an object in a new light. As English author Sir Kenneth Robinson said, “Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.” One way in which people can nurture this creativity and express a feeling is with art. Perhaps that is through dance, sculpture, music, sketching- the list goes on infinitely. The type of art and the reasons people choose it may be different for every person on the planet.
For me, it is makeup. The human body is my canvas, the medium is my pigments, the tools are my brushes, and the runway, the set, and the person is my presentation.
I have always loved to work in creative and hands on environment, and I have found it is where I thrive.
My makeup artist revelation presented itself to me when I was in high school helping backstage at a charity fashion show. Although the models were responsible for their own hair and makeup, I was asked to help out. I remember my first conversation about makeup application with a model/friend as she sat in a chair and I began working on her makeup. I asked her what she had in mind, or what she wanted to look like when I was done. She said she wanted pizazz and for people to notice her blue eyes. Knowing it would create the “pop” she wanted, I reached for gold eye shadow, which is opposite the color blue on the color wheel. I also added what I thought would look nice, and what would be appropriate for a charity fashion show. When I was done, she looked in the mirror and gasped. “I look beautiful, how did you do that?!” I was completely confused. She was already beautiful; anyone would agree with that, though this seemed to be the first time SHE saw that. That moment made me realize that what I wanted to do and accomplish in the coming years. I wanted every woman to look in the mirror and see what others already did. I wanted them to see how beautiful they truly are, and to accept their own beauty any way they choose, whether that be with or without makeup.
Satisfying and fun, it also exposes me to the ever present makeup/no makeup debate. Many times, I have had to deal with listening to people exclaim that makeup makes someone ‘fake’ or that those who use it must be extremely vain, or they are not happy with the way they look naturally. Newsflash: ‘fake’ or misleading comes from what kind of person you are in your heart and not by some pink lip-gloss on your lips. For those that claim or feel that people who want to change or enhance their appearance with makeup, or otherwise put “effort” into the way they look because they are insecure or they must not be happy with their “natural” appearance, then the same could be said about those that get haircuts/new hair styles, or choose a special outfit to wear for an interview, or to even tone up for swimsuit season. It’s YOUR body – if you like it with makeup, wear makeup. If you like it with a bob haircut, then go for that. If you want to tone up for swimsuit season, do it! Makeup is just like any of the other things we can choose to alter our appearance. It can be as simple as wanting to change a look from day to night or to make a minor change to “match” our clothing or occasion, such as a wedding. Whether it’s to gain confidence or just to “change it up”, what matters is that however you choose to change or highlight aspects of your appearance, you do it because you want to! Makeup is just one way to do that.
To help in debunking at least some of the vanity or insecurity myths which is prevalent surrounding the use of makeup, I think it is extremely important for people to understand the multitude of purposes makeup has, and the different reasons people use it. The history of makeup artistry actually goes back over 6,000 years and was used in nearly every culture for various traditional, cosmetic, or ritual reasons. For example, in ancient Egypt, men and women used kohl liner and mascara as a way to signify fashion and power as well as to protect their skin and eyes from the harsh conditions of the desert and sun. Today, makeup is still used for many different reasons, and not just to enhance an appearance or for outer beauty. In the production field, makeup and liquid latex can transform a human figure into nearly any creature (have you seen the zombies in The Walking Dead, or Mystique from X-Men?) This makeup can take hours to apply and is one of the many amazing artistic feats makeup can take on. Another form makeup artistry can take is for the stage. Stage makeup is quite literally ‘theatrical’ and is applied to turn actors into the persona they are playing. Without makeup, they wouldn’t seem as real to the audience, and setting the image is key to really experiencing the show and performance; the makeup artist can literally transform an actor into a character.
After my revelation to become a makeup artist, and even as I worked towards my makeup artist certificate, the importance of artistic expression was not as real to me as it is now. Over time I realized how makeup artists express themselves and their work with the use of color, and by changing the way something looks to fit a feeling or occasion. When I tell people I am a makeup artist, I say it with pride. I am proud of my work and I am a proud artist. Like any architect or painter, it takes time and skill to perfect my work and my talents.
With each new fashion show or photo shoot comes a new creative endeavor, another chance to showcase my art. What doesn’t change is in my mind’s eye, which takes me back each time to the “first time”, to the charity fashion show – as my friend walked off and onto the runway, it was obvious she had a lighter kick in her step and held her head higher… much higher. The confidence gained by adding a little color here and there on her face had completely changed how she saw and carried herself. I think every single person is beautiful; sometimes it just takes a little blush to show them that.