Monday, June 10, 2013

Makeup School with Sarah, Part 1

Remember Sarah, our Girl Friday from a few weeks ago?

Sarah just received her diploma from the MAKE UP FOR EVER Academy in New York City. She's an extremely talented makeup artist, and I asked if she'd be willing to share some of her tips & tricks with us here on The Twenty Ninth. Below, Sarah tells us more about her history in the makeup field, as well as a few of the things she's learned as an artist over the years. Tomorrow we'll get more into the practicals!

All photos are courtesy of Sarah, and showcase skills she learned while at school. For more pictures of her work, check out her Instagram!

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The Twenty Ninth: When did you know you wanted to become a makeup artist?
Sarah: I think part of me knew it since high school.  I remember saying aloud at one point, “Man, if I could just be a makeup artist for the rest of my life, that’d be so cool!”  But I only ended up getting into it by sort of by accident.  I was out of a job, ended up applying to be a makeup artist at Sephora, and got hired!  That was the beginning, and I loved it from there.  
The Twenty Ninth: Did you go to school/training for your profession?
Sarah: I just finished attending the MAKE UP FOR EVER Academy in NYC and I loved it!  I think it’s the best choice for a makeup school, at least on the East Coast, maybe in the States as a whole.  I don’t think going to makeup school is essential to becoming a successful makeup artist, but it definitely helps!  And I’m so appreciative of everything I learned there.

The Twenty Ninth: What kinds of clients do you typically have?
Sarah: I’ve done makeup for a lot of brides.  Occasionally I do makeup for local celebrities (Nycci Nellis, Sarah Frasier) and politicians (Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Laura Ingraham).  That was the sort of work I was doing in Washington DC (and will continue to do!), but it’ll be interesting to see what sort of jobs fill my time now that I’m freelancing in NYC as well. 
The Twenty Ninth: What's your favorite type of event or client to work for?
Sarah: So far, I’ve really liked doing bridal makeup.  I like establishing the connection between a woman’s makeup and her personality, which is especially important on a wedding day!  I’ve also gotten some of the most flattering feedback from my work in bridal.  “I’ve never felt more beautiful in my whole life!”  “This is what I’ve always dreamed of!”  There aren’t many jobs where you hear that kind of thing at the end of a project!  It’s nice.   In NYC, I’ll be excited to experiment with all different sorts of makeup jobs and clients, as there are so many thriving industries here!  

The Twenty Ninth: What are you currently learning/experimenting with?
Sarah: At the MAKE UP FOR EVER Academy, we just finished learning body painting.  It was interesting going from learning how to be a better makeup artist to learning to be a painter, and on a live canvas at that!  It’ll be cool to see how such different expressions of the same craft will inform & strengthen each other. 
The Twenty Ninth: What's an important lesson/work skill you've learned in doing this over the past couple of years?
Sarah: I’d have a hard time limiting it to just one, so I’ll list a couple!  One is that I’ve learned to work quickly.  Naturally, I enjoy working slowly – to take my time and just have fun in the process.  There are no real makeup jobs where they will ask you to work more slowly.  Quickness & efficiency are always better!  It’s good to learn how to budget the time you have and recover quickly from unexpected obstacles.  Another is to give importance to every experience you come across relating to your field.  Every job you have matters.  Every person you meet while working or networking matters.  Every makeup tip or lesson you receive matters.  Not all of these things will pan out to benefit you, but you can’t predict which ones will benefit you and which ones won’t!  That’s only something you discover with time and initial pursuit of those resources.  Plus, making a general practice of treating the people you encounter with value will get you far in your relationships and reputation.  One more is that you are not just a makeup artist, you are a businessperson.  It’s not about just making amazing art.  There are lots of logistics that need to be skillfully managed to even get you to the place of being able to do that!  Learning to develop great rapport with people.  Learning how to network.  Maintaining quick and effective communication.  Managing expectations.  Setting up a business model and business goals.  Branding your business.  Accept that you are also a businessperson in addition to an artist, and learn to become a great one!  It’s crucial to your success as an artist.
The Twenty Ninth: How does being a makeup artist compare with being a paint & canvas artist?
Sarah: I’d say the biggest difference is that a painter’s canvas is static and predictable, while a makeup artist’s canvas is ever-changing and unpredictable.  A painter can usually count on their canvas reacting the same way with their tools & materials every time, I would think.  A makeup artist’s materials react differently on every canvas, depending on the person’s skin.  You can’t tell how they will react until you try using them.  Some makeup products will react oppositely on one face or another.  Also, a makeup artist’s canvas interferes with their art (mostly unintentionally!)  Eating, drinking, blowing noses, changing clothes, crying – all of these natural actions in your client’s life will affect the makeup you’ve applied to their face.  In that sense it’s more difficult, but in another sense I think it’s very rewarding!  Creating art that someone wears to reflect their personality and preferences is a very personal experience.  Not only is it an intimate reflection of the person because it changes the way they perceive themselves and others perceive them, but also because they must be present for the entire time the art piece is being created!  Because of this, they can give feedback throughout the process to help create the desired outcome.
The Twenty Ninth: Any advice for people interested in a career in makeup artistry?
Sarah: You need to learn from MANY different sources and come up with your own opinions about what’s best.  No one artist, brand or school can tell you everything you need to know about makeup.  They all have their “spiel”, their philosophy they want to be known for.  But if you only follow the philosophy of one source, you’ll be seriously lacking in your knowledge.  The best way to improve your technique (beyond knowledge) is PRACTICE!  Your technique and execution will only improve as they’re put to the test every day.  Practice on all sorts of different people.  You want to become excellent at doing makeup for all ages, skin tones and face types, not just the ones you prefer or that match you. 

Join us for Part 2, tomorrow!

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