Beauty, Blood, and Beards

February 14, 2013  •  Leave a Comment


Happy Valentine's Day!

It's been a long while since I've written. My hands have been preoccupied over the last few months. 2012 was an intense year. When I wasn't working, I was still working. I studied techniques and read about skin care in my free time. Sometimes I woke up thinking about makeup and fell asleep thinking about makeup. I took some time off work and did the Production Makeup Program at Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Other students in the program came from all walks of life, all over the country, and as far away as Nigeria and Brazil. Some of us had years of salon experience and others were fresh out of high school. Most of our days were spent doing hands-on work, but there were quite a few moments of traditional "school" time. It has been over a decade since college for me, but I actually enjoyed getting back into the swing of daily homework and writing papers. (Ironically, I was able to justify bringing along my xBox as a means of communication with the outside world.) The Dude came to visit me for my birthday weekend in September, but I was away from the comforts of my home and family for 15 long weeks. The experience I had at Cosmix was worth every second. I gained so much confidence and learned from some incredible people currently working in the industry. In addition to being talented hands-on artists, the teachers had also been active in parallel aspects of the industry. One has years of film experience and is also a voting member of the Academy, another worked for years representing artists in a talent agency, and another runs a company that produces ready-to-wear sculpted foam prosthetics. They brought more than just technical makeup knowledge to class, and there were some days when listening to their life stories and work experiences gave me all the lessons that I needed.

The first month of class was like a beauty boot camp, and brought artists of all levels back to the basics. Color theory and facial geometry are the essential building blocks of all makeup artistry, and I really appreciated the opportunity to have a refresher course on those subjects from veteran artists and amazing teachers. As the program progressed, our curriculum included replicating looks from many decades and studying the cultural shifts that changed fashion and beauty over the course of time.
My anxiety began to kick in midway through the program, as we were beginning to work on skills that I did not feel comfortable with yet. I eventually conquered my aversion to styling hair. Personally, I keep my own hair short, and my photo shoot hairstyling repertoire used to consist of two styles: high ponytail and low ponytail. I am rarely put in situations where I have to do anything more than that, so I am extremely thankful to have spent some time learning more hair styles. After weeks of timed hair and makeup drills, I saw a dramatic improvement in my speed and accuracy.

Car crash head trauma and my first broken nose.


My career so far has been focused on clean beauty makeup for print photography and formal events, but I have always held an interest in doing makeup for film and television. When I was a little kid in the 1980s, the first makeup artist who I knew by name was Rick Baker. He permanently resides in the Holy Trinity of Childhood Heroes alongside Miss Piggy and my Mom. I was thrilled to have the chance to create and apply prosthetic makeup. Bald cap application, hand-laying of beards and mustaches, and head casting were all part of our curriculum. I also discovered that I am actually pretty good at making bullet holes. Each night after I left class I took a shower immediately, but still managed to have plaster or some type of adhesive stuck to my body somewhere. I didn't even care. My whole mission in life became to get as messy as possible. My only regret is that it ended so soon. I could have done FX and injury work for another month with no complaints.

So, I've been home for a little over a month and just found a huge chunk of plaster stuck to the underside of my makeup kit. It made me miss my new friends in Florida. This entire experience has rekindled the fire in my soul and has made me even hungrier. Learning new techniques and expanding my skill set is always an on-going process for me, and I am definitely a much more well-rounded artist than I was at this time last year. My family is SO awesome, and they were extremely supportive while I was so far away. I also have to thank Michael Devellis, James Vincent, and The Powder Group for selecting me to receive the Kelly Gleason Scholarship for Makeup Arts. Without them, none of this magic would have happened.
Some say that beauty makeup artists and special effects artists are two completely different types of people, but I think it is entirely possible to be a Jill Of All Trades who loves doing it all. That is my ultimate goal.

XOXO,
D.

Sher demonstrates her version of the smoky eye.
Nadine shows how to sculpt a face with contour.
Sher Salzman called my work "Flawless" - I cried.
I look ruggedly handsome with a beard, right?
FX guru Andy Wright taught us proper head casting.
My roommate: a plaster head for sculpting my makeup mold.





studiodmakeup.com

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