Thursday, 2 April 2015

My Portfolio Memoirs: Blue Eye

Blue Eye, photographed by Giorgio Kstakis

There are so many incredible and inspiring Make up Artists' with decades of experience, some of which I've had the pleasure to meet such as the awesome and technical creative genius, Sharon Dowsett and I've even made up the 'super' skin expert herself, Ruby Hammer for editorial shoots.  Their portfolios overflow with iconic images, precise and dynamic artistry, always catching my eye and curiosity; how did that 'look' come about?  What's the story?  Why use THAT texture there?  What's was the intention for applying a colour there in that way?  So many questions but we rarely get that insight.
Last night, while suffering a bout of insomnia,  I scanned through a Pro Make up Artist group and came across a comment regarding Val Garland's online make up school, Mastered.com.  Seems there are mixed reviews on whether an online masterclass, aimed towards working artists', would truly offer up valuable knowledge, practical tuition on application and techniques or just squeeze the purses of upcoming individuals via a glorified 'You Tube' like tutorial.  
I wouldn't want to get negative about Ms Garland, her work is innovative, clever and at times so artful it makes me wish I had been more confident throughout my career.  With this in mind it lead me to accept this online approach a very good idea to master make up to a brief, with a chance to make mistakes to then develop an understanding and purposeful approach towards a look, sometimes under pressure, just like the real world.  I would have relished in such an intimate class as a newbie, most likely thrived with more confidence too! 
The idea of such a make up maestro, I'd have online access to, showing me the thought process behind each and every application excites me further, as I am hungry to understand the narrative towards the final look, much like as in art exams where you include your prep work, makes sense to me.
I'd like to go through my archives for you every now and then to tell you about how the final image came about.   To begin with, this image of the Blue Eye was an idea I visualised in the middle of the night about 15 years ago, I remember the moment I scribbled a quick drawing on a post-it note placed beside my bed; a handy habit for my creative ideas.
Once I scouted a suitable model of Caribbean descent who was blessed with a smooth, cinnamon complexion and had approached the testing photographer keen to push his skills further, I knew we'd produce a number of beautiful images for our books.
Mimicking a lash shape along the eye lid was easy, it took minutes but finding the right shine to stay in place with a splash of colour but I experimented with lipgloss and MAC gloss in a tube, though finally settled on the consistency of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, originally created in the 1930's and today's iconic hero.  At the time my initial vision was of a peach-apricot shade on dark skin but instead I opted for a peacock blue eye shadow by MAC, from my rather meagre 'starting out' palette, which I'd crushed with the end of a make up brush then added to the balm-like substance to make a rather gloopy consistency and voila!
Back then the photographer shot on film, a painstaking process to some now but I miss it.  We'd sift through his edits from the shoot which would always be accompanied by lots of work chat, gossip and coffee.  We finally decided on 4 very strong photos all of cropped as much as aesthetics would allow, therefore, Blue Eye remained the focal point  in this instance (excuse the pun).
Some time after this image hit my portfolio and it became a signature image for me,  the photograph had been used without permission for an art scene coffee table book for a rather famous publishing house.  No, not even the photographer was credited, however, it proved to us this picture had strength and impact and so it remains in my portfolio to this day plus continues to receive much praise and the question I've been asked now for well over a decade, "What did you use on her eye?"

1 comment:

  1. Impressive! No doubt, she is a great make up Artist like Reapinpin.

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