Makeup in Lockdown

Despite the challenges of life in lockdown, there has been an undeniable surge in innovation across the world that has encouraged unity and creativity. After my training at BAMM was understandably paused, I took to designing different looks and working on myself throughout the months of lockdown in order to continue my practice and exercise my imagination. While I remained in contact with BAMM and took part in various creative assignments, I further challenged myself to design and execute my own makeup looks from different sources of interest and inspiration.

With more time on my hands, I was able to indulge my passion for sculpture and create some of my own flat moulds. I was eager to use some of my creations and experiment with prosthetics again. I utilised a split nose and torn lip to transform myself into a decaying zombie while painting an emaciated effect on my chest to complete the look.

One of the assignments set by BAMM was to recreate a painting using makeup. I chose to replicate one of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, ‘Sunflowers‘. I was interested in the challenge of translating the 2-dimensional detail of the original painting onto the 3-dimensional canvas of my face. Unconventionally, I used a palette knife to apply the makeup in order to emulate the texture of Van Gogh’s work.

Another task set by BAMM was to experiment with skin texture. I decided to have fun with this brief and transform myself into a scaly creature. I began designing the look after researching different reptiles for inspiration on scale pattern and colour; for example, the plating down my nose was influenced by the belly-scales of snakes.

Expanding on the assignment set by BAMM, I further experimented with skin texture to create this wooden puppet look. Not only did I endeavour to replicate the grain of the wood but also create the illusion of the mechanical carved features of a puppet.

One of my favourite tasks set by BAMM was the gender transformation. Here, it was important to first determine what identified my own features as feminine and how makeup could be used to change them. This involved squaring my jawline and thickening my eyebrows, as well as using contour to create a more prominent browbone. Once I’d created the ‘base’ of my male counterpart, I then enjoyed experimenting with various stages of facial hair, including the use of my facial postiche pieces.

Here, I was interested in practicing fashion and glamour makeup and designed this look around the concept of ‘water’, naturally favouring blues and greens. I slicked my hair with gel to create a wet, sleek look that I then highlighted with gold to emulate water ripples. I applied gold leaf throughout my hair as well as on my face to emphasise the notion of light sparkling on water.

From water to fire, I was keen to further my exploration of fashion makeup and experiment with incorporating diverse materials into my designs. This look was influenced by the mythical phoenix where I applied feathers to my neck as well as along my browbone, emulating the sweep of wings that arch up into my hair. The hairstyle was inspired by the wild nature of fire where I created a voluminous tangle of curls that I then misted with red hairspray.

For this look, I was commissioned to work with a local photography group, where my brief was ‘woodland fae’. I utilised some of the prosthetic pieces I’d made during lockdown, such as the pointed ear and delicate vine, to produce a more mystical effect. I then created an asymmetric hairstyle by tightly plaiting down one side of my head and crimping the loose hair to complete the wild woodland character.

One of the most interesting aspects of being a makeup artist is the ability to completely transform a person’s appearance. For this look, I challenged myself to use precision line-work and shading to create the illusion of ‘the human within the machine’. I was also excited to utilise bright and bold colours to give the impression of a synthetic character, which was further enhanced by the use of a single contact lens.

Working again with a local photography group, I designed this look based on one of my favourite characters, the gorgon Medusa. It was essential to create one of her most iconic features: her head of snakes. I decided to sculpt a crown of interweaving snakes in an effort to portray Medusa as a queen of monsters. Echoing the colours of my headdress in the makeup, I used an airbrush to create delicate scales of gold and green to further emphasise her terrifying beauty by creating an almost gilded effect.

Here, I recreated the infamous Night King from Game of Thrones. My use of Scar Wax and Sculpt Gel was essential in creating the different textures of the makeup. I pre-sculpted the brow-piece by applying Sculpt Gel to a life-cast of my face in order to create greater detail; however, around my cheeks, I applied it directly to the skin and sculpted the desired effect before it cured. Naturally, I used cold colours, such as blues and whites, in conjunction with the Night King’s icy power and to signify that winter is indeed coming.

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