- Category: Interviews
- Published on Wednesday, 07 September 2011 19:09
- Written by Super User
- Hits: 938
Interview with Julia:
When I was looking for Makeup Artists that I wanted to interview for the site, I wanted to find someone who does more than just eye shadow and brush. I was hoping to find someone who can create an artwork. That being said, how did you find your way and discover your style from when you were starting out to where you are now?
When I started as a makeup artist, my main concern was learning and absorbing anything possible. I constantly assisted and tested with whoever I could. If I didn't love the photographer’s work, when I first started, I would test with them anyway JUST so I could practice my craft. I wanted to learn techniques and why certain things should only be done this way and that way. Then, when i was able to learn the basics, i tossed them all out and used and learned what worked for me. I learn cool new tricks all the time, whether by visiting a colleague working and seeing how they do something or by playing around with products and brushes. The truth is, I don't know if I have discovered my "style". I think I'm still learning and I'm almost hoping that that doesn't ever stop.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Has it changed since you started? How does it influence your work?
It changes constantly, I think that is why all artists, whether makeup, hair, painters, photographers, graphic designers or any other artist, go through "periods". The point of inspiration is that it is something new and so beautiful. Something that inspires passion and excites your inner child. I get inspired constantly. Whether it be through other makeup artists, a trip to The Met, a particular product. I constantly get inspired by art, books, music inspires me to no end. I think a true artist sees the world differently, I find beauty and stories almost everywhere I go. I can say, ugh, I am so exhausted by doing nothing but black smokey eyes and then see someone that wears it is a slightly different way and say oh my God, I must play with this idea.
How do you want to evolve and progress as an artist? What goals have you set and are trying to achieve? Have you considered ever doing anything other than just makeup? Please explain.
It sounds so cliche, but that is all I want to do; evolve. In the first two years of my career I exceeded the goals that I set for myself and those were to work consistently and be able to play around and test with the photographers that I choose to test with and work on sets that excite me and get paid for jobs that I want to do rather than only get paid for jobs that I have to do to pay the bills (though of course I still take those jobs too, and I enjoy them). I think the new goals that I have set out to achieve are just getting better and better and really learning more. I have a lot going on right now, not only do I have my freelance career, but I own a photography, hair/makeup studio called JV Studio in the fashion district of NYC and I am also the beauty editor for Bloginity a huge online fashion, arts and culture magazine. So, as of right now, I am doing everything that I want. I don't have much to complain about, I have an amazing husband, a daughter that steals my heart daily, wonderful friends and family and a job that I love. I've done other things, I owned a construction management company for years, I worked in radio and dabbled in PR. I've lived many lives & I feel really blessed to know that I am in the profession I want to be in. I've always had an entrepreneurial brain, so as long as I'm able not to lose that, I'm good.
In looking through your portfolio you have a lot of models using very interesting props like eyeglasses, necklaces, headgear and so on. Are you involved into those designs as well or do you try to do the makeup based around the original idea that those props will be used?
It really depends on the shoot, if it is collaboration, then yes; I get a decent amount of input. But, if it is a job for a client, then in general I learn what the shoot is about, what they are going for and I ask for their input while giving mine as well. It certainly isn't the same creative process, but I am able to give something.
There is a saying that “a models face is like an empty canvas.” Have you ever had an opportunity to work with someone like that? How difficult is to apply designs to such a person? If you haven’t worked with someone like that, would you like to?
Oh, absolutely. Each model or client has a different face and, therefore, different features that you can accentuate or some models have amazing lips or large lids. You really need to look at a face before you start. I need to see what I want to feature and what I want to do. I am really one of these annoying artists that think every person is beautiful and, in that, each person is an "empty canvas" as you put it.
When going on professional shoots how much creative freedom do you have to create the artwork of your choice? How much of it is directed by the client?
It really depends on the job. When I'm on set for a commercial shoot, it is generally solely up to the client. That doesn't mean they won't be open to ideas, but commercial shoots aren't really about colorful creativity, they are about marketing a product to a specific demographic however, on those shoots i try to be creative by doing whatever you can to make your client happy and comfortable. When on set for a magazine or for a music video of some sort you are certainly given more creative freedom. And, somtimes, you're even part of the initial moodboard and beginning design.
What image in your portfolio would you regard as your best masterpiece? Please explain why? Tell us about how this picture came to be from the ground up.
Oh, you see, this is a tough question for me. I have a deep love for being as creative as possible, but I also really enjoy being able to do a beautiful, natural makeup. And, I'm not sure if I've created what I would call a masterpiece yet, but, if I had to choose my favorite I know which it would be. I think this was the first time i was able to be really creative. It was a test with an amazing photographer by the name of Hye-Ryoung Min. She is an incredibly talented photographer who has shot for some of the top magazines in the world. This shoot was incredibly creative; one of the craziest styled shoots I've been part of and the makeup was allowed to match. My favorite image from this shoot was the one where we did a beautiful red lip with completely whited out face. We did an orange lid and a bright yellow 'drop shadow'. I love the free creativity in this shot, also her hair is amazing and the prop used in her hair (actually an ad in a magazine) was absolute perfection. Being able to do this shoot and being asked to shoot by this amazing photographer was a defining point in my career because it was the first time that I really felt like I was able to do it and, actually, respected for my craft.
If someone wanted to be a Makeup Artist, where should they start and what will they need?
Where they should start should really begin with how much they already know. If they are already amazing at their craft, then they should really jump right in. Start testing with photographers, start building a book because that is what you will need. You can also start by working at a counter. I never did that, but I will tell you that there is no better practice than working at a counter. You have every type of face you could ever work on and it is constant. It is also a great way to build a kit, which is something you, obviously, need as a mua. Also, I t hink the biggest mistake artists make is saying I will never work for free or ever thinking they are above working for free. Testing is part of the game and it is a fun part because you are part of the full creative process. Another way to start is by going to school. There are numerous wonderful makeup schools out there, personally, I went to Makeup Designory and it was amazing for me. You can still go to school even if you already have a great foundation, it can only help. As far as your kit is concerned, there are a lot of companies that will sell you starter kits. That is a good way to start if you need it. The bottom line is that starting in any career is going to take an investment. An investment of your time and an investment of your money. There are thousands and thousands of makeup artists, it's the ones that understand that it takes work and time that will be successful.
Makeup Kits are extremely expensive. Which brand do you prefer to use? Why? What makes it better than others? If the client didn't want to pay as much for this kit and would like something cheaper, would you work with them?
I don't work with only one brand as a rule and I think, unless you work for a specific brand and don't have a choice, you really inhibit yourself if you do. No one company has the best of anything. I would say the main brands in my kit are Makeup Forever, Kevyn Aucoin, NARS, Inglot, YSL, RMS, GIVENCHY, OCC Cosmetics, Le Metier de Beaute, I use a little MAC but mainly just their powders. My absolute favorite primer is a drug store L'Oreal studio fix. I am super excited about the launch of Tom Ford's beauty line, but thay may have to stay in my personal makeup bag as it is going to be quite expensive, lol. As far as the client wanting me to use another kit, this question is two fold. Firstly, my kit is already purchased and a client doesn't pay me for my kit, they pay me for my time and for my artistry, so they may not want to pay my rate, but a kit won't have much to do with that. Secondly, I do my best work with the products I have chosen to work with. I have played with all sorts of products in all sorts of price ranges and I know what works for me at this point. If they have specific makeup they want used, would I work with it? Of course, I'm a makeup artist I can work with anything. Give me a jar of beets and I'll make a beautiful eye, cheek and lip color, but will it be my best work? That's yet to be seen.
When going to a photo-shoot, do you have any requirements that must be satisfied in order for you to do your job? What were the hardest conditions that you had to work under?
Not really. Electricity at an indoor shoot is generally something that helps because even if I don't have good lighting I can always bring in my Glamcor lights and get the job done, but sometimes you don't even get that. I think that I like to know that I'm going to a safe environment, and, beside that, I'm pretty game for whatever happens. The hardest conditions I would say was when I went to work on a small film and was asked to come to Bedstuy, Brooklyn at 3:30AM, I was let into a really run down building where there was no door, just a sketchy freight elevator and was led into a really creepy empty apartment that was in the very beginning stages of a renovation and just left there by myself for about an hour until the first actor showed up. I had to set up on two 2x4's resting on a window sill and something else and work on this actor with no power and no light.
If you had a choice to work with any one artist of your choosing, who would it be? It can be anyone: model, photographer, clothing designer, etc… Why that person?
At this moment, for a photographer, I would have to say Mariano Vivanco; the way he captures is so impeccable. He captures such a beauty. There is such a mood to each image and there is a level of passion that is really hard to explain and even harder to find.
One of my favorite shots is the girl with a metal mesh over her eyes. Can you tell us what went into making that picture?
This was a shoot for Paper cut magazine. Actually, those are Mercura sunglasses over her eyes, which were really crazy. It was a wonderful day of shooting with photographer Linday Adler. It was an awesome vibe, the whole story line was based around their shades which made me have to come up with some fun and creative ways to show makeup.
In today’s age of technology and digital manipulation, do you feel that makeup can become more and more obsolete? When digital artists are able to smooth out the skin and apply color and accents wherever they choose on the photo, does makeup stand a chance? Please explain.
I do not think makeup will be obsolete. I think that there is too much texture and creativity behind what goes into a makeup application. Am I saying that a great graphics person can't put a face of makeup on a picture of a woman, no I'm not. But, I'm not worried. I think the respect for makeup as an art form will always come through and I think that there are just some things a computer can't make. I can always tell when there has been a digital manipulation.
If you had one advice to give a makeup artist about how they should stand out from the crowd, what would it be?
Don't be a diva. Be personable. Be flexible. This industry is constantly moving and things are constantly changing. Sure it's great to be called in for a great job, but it is even better to leave that job with a referral or another job on the horizon from it. Don't be afraid to learn or to ask other artists questions, you don't have to know it all. If you're open to learning than you will be the best artist you can be. And, lastly, have confidence in what you do. Know you are a great artist, if you're nervous or questioning something it will show in your work.
Julia, thank you for such an amazing interview. I absolutely loved reading your answers. Can't wait to see more of your work soon.
Serge and the Unhive Team.