Introducing the golden rule: it’s not procrastinating if you are getting inspired.
I wish to create original work. Painting a face in a way that hasn’t been done before, is something I aspire to do as an artist. That being said, 50% of achieving my goal, is gathering inspiration from other works of art. This involves browsing through pinterest, looking at magazines, watching movies and admiring the work of other make–up artists. And while some of it admittedly borders on procrastination (spending an hour on Instagram probably didn’t make me a better artist), I like to think that consciously collecting inspiration is something worth doing every day. Becoming aware of what works and what doesn’t work, what is beautiful to you and what is not, is an immense help when realizing your own projects. So even when an idea pops up seemingly out of nowhere, I am aware that it will be influenced by images I have consciously and subconsciously memorized. The look I’m going to talk about in this article is a good example for said process. It can be hard to pin point the source of an idea; what influences led to it. With this look, I can actually remember where I drew inspiration from. One being a movie, the other a movement and the third, a trip to the hardware store. So if you’re interested in how those things correlate and learning more about how I design a look, keep on reading.
Inspiration No.1: tough girl hair
I based my concept on the idea of doing a face tattoo, using the first letter of my logo. I would like to tell you that there was some grand artistic expression behind this decision. In fact, it was me going „yeah, this would probably look cool.“
Once I painted the tattoo on, it made me feel different. If you are an avid make–up fan, you have probably experienced this. How make–up can help change your mood — going from anxious to powerful. In my case, the little W on my cheek made me feel tough. Like lighting up a cigarette and blowing smoke into an old lady’s face. If you’ve ever seen Girl Interrupted, you’ll probably remember a scene where Angelina Jolie does exactly that. Angelina, to me, is the epitome of the tough girl. So when it came to deciding on what to do with my hair, I looked to her for inspiration. And found it, in the (gorgeous) shape of Lara Croft. Yes, those movies might not be great, but those two strands of hair certainly are. They are such an incredibly simple, yet iconic part of her characters appearance, that you can almost forget how oddly present they are. Seriously, google “Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider“ and those two gelled together strands suddenly become very noticeable.
For my look, I wanted to play up the weird constructiveness of the strands. So instead of having them falling naturally into my face, I actively placed them on it, bending them into shape.
Inspiration No.2: punk eye make-up
The eye make–up of this look is inspired by the punk scene of the 1970s. The make–up among members of the movement was bold, dark, with sharp angles and an almost tribal feel to it. It was opposing the general fashion of light pastel colors, that were softly blended onto the eyelids. Nowadays the extreme full cat eye is something you can find in editorials with an “edgy“ feel to it. It’s a look that has become so common in fashion, you almost forget where it originally came from. In my case, I wanted the eyes to look strong and dramatic, but not overpowering, since the W was supposed to remain the focus point of the whole design.
Inspiration No.3: more garden gloves equal more cigarettes
To explain this inspiration, which is also the most subliminal of the three, I’ll tell you a story: Before doing make–up, I wanted to be a director for the theater. As you can tell, it didn’t work out. I realized quickly that, while I enjoy plays, I enjoy going home afterwards and forgetting about them even more. Anyway, back in the day, while working as directors assistant, me and the director went to a hardware store to get supplies for a play. He stopped, as we were walking past a hanger full of garden gloves. They were displayed in a way so that 20 pairs of them were coming down from a hanger in 2 rows, slightly overlapping. He said: “If you just take one pair, it doesn’t look like anything. But if you have 20, or even a 100 of them, and you turn them into a dress or a wallpaper, they can become art. And that this is true, for any object.“ I think about this often when doing make–up or adding props. And it’s a good explanation for why several cigarettes, are more interesting than just one. Because we have all seen pictures of people smoking and it doesn’t get anyone excited anymore, except cancer cells.
To sum it up as creative advice: if you want to make something more interesting, you don’t always have to use or do something completely different. Often, paying attention to the details and tweaking what’s already there is way more effective. Consider adding more and/or taking away, to make whatever visual thing it is you are working on more exciting.
Warpaint and Cigarettes