As part of my attempt to step outside my comfort zone I decided to enter the Makeup Weapons - Weapons of Mass Creation competition. Run by the owner of the brush brand Makeup Weapons and award winning makeup artist Sheri Vegas, the prizes were amazing.
"Weapons of Mass Creation Competition Outline Brief 'Makeup is Art' Get inspired by those words and create a Makeup master piece. Choose an artist or art work that inspires you and create a makeup look around it. "
After my abysmal entry into the National Portrait Gallery - Digital Portraiture competition I knew I needed more planning. (Let's just say everything was running against me for this competition, including receiving a nasty electric shock and a trip to the ER while trying to complete it).
To prepare for the comp, I spent several weeks trying to find an artist or artwork that I felt genuinely inspired by. I settled on Salvador Dali and attempted to deconstruct his work Galatea of Spheres to paint them on a model. After a few weeks I realised that just copying an artwork onto someone wasn't really that creative. I have always felt an affinity with Dali's work and his connection to the subconscious however the colours were a little bland and dull. I wasn't convinced they would transpose well into a makeup.
I also had to put together a team that could produce a professional image that met the brief.
Chrissie Hall - Photographer
Katie Saarikko - MUA/Wigs
Alison Mitchell - Model
Geoff Jones - Retouching
Oh the other end of the spectrum, my favourite artist of all time is Japanese artist and "kawaii" master Sebastian Masuda. Now this is an artist that I connect with. Using loads and loads of discarded toys to create vibrant and hypercolour sculptures sings to me. As a toy collector and lover of Japan I decided that this was a better choice.
This piece encapsulates so many things that I am drawn to as an artist. The vibrant colour choices that I associate with wandering around Harajuku in Japan, bewilder and inspire me. The vintage toys placed carefully yet seemingly randomly remind me of my childhood. As a collector of vintage toys and a curator at an archive I appreciate that each item has provenance and a story. I believe this artwork portrays the feeling of a lost childhood but in a fun way. I set out to form an explosion of colour and texture in one small round space, releasing emotion with every hue. I chose the placement of lashes in a non-conventional place to connect with the Harajuku, Kawaii movement. The playful expression on the model captures the feeling of joy one feels as a child when given something as simple as a special snack. The green tea soy bean icecream is a prop bought in Japan and is a typical snack for children in Japan.
Sebastian's artworks have been described as "kaleidoscopic" you see something new every time you look. “The word kawaii works as an adhesive between our vast contemporary culture,” Masuda has said. “It unites objects, fashion, and art from seemingly totally different genres. From Hello Kitty, to lunch boxes, to Harajuku fashion, all are connected by kawaii.” To prepare for this look I spent several weeks re-creating similar artworks in digital form to get a feel for the patterns of colour placement in what appears to be completely random. I used a mixture of face paints, eye shadows, lipsticks, cream paints, pigments and glitters to create this look layer by layer.
First I started out by trying to digitally re-create the layering of colours in his artworks. To be honest I designed patterns to use in the Nintendo 3DS game Animal Crossing, so my character are all walking around in "Masuda" tshirts now.
After deciding that I should start with a pizza like arrangement with each colour as a slice, I knew I then had to carefully layer the products on top of each other, carefully placing them within the next slice. I purchased Mehron face paints, Sugarpill neon pigments and a variety of fluoro glitter. Using eyeshadows and cream colours I already had, I did my first test run of the colours.
Having shot with Chrissie Hall before, I knew she was the right choice for a hypercolour makeup photograph. She has a flair for the creative and loves Japan as much as me. Alison Mitchell is an great model and I am grateful to her for working with me on this concept. Retouching was done by Geoff Jones.
Felicity McLaughlin is a sweet friend of mine who is not only a makeup artist, she also creates amazing stick on nails. She designed an electric blue and pink set for me to take with me to the shoot in Sydney.
I placed in the top 5 finalists for Professional Makeup Artist category against many outstanding artists and images for the award. I am extremely proud of this achievement. This also means I won a bag of Makeup Weapons brushes. This competition was a great opportunity to push myself and showcase my work amongst my peers. Thanks again Makeup Weapons.