Tell me a little about yourself. How did you get your start as a Makeup Artist? Did you have any formal training or are you a self taught makeup artist?

I had a concoction of formal training that contributes to my work. I’ve completed a 1600 hour cosmetology course which is primarily hairstyling, but also included makeup and manicure training. I’ve had numerous art courses like drawing, graphic arts and watercolor painting. I’ve also attended a number of makeup industry seminars taught by the industry’s leading artists and brands. I began by assisting professional makeup artists on their shoots. After that I reached out to local photographers offering to work with them in trade for images that we could both use in our portfolios. Most of these photographers have become good friends and clients and much of my work comes from them or networking with other team members on these shoots.

Photography Bruce Smith
Wardrobe Styling Linda Lu aka Linda Varol
Hair Ashley Lynn Hall
Makeup Sharon Hawkey
Model Nadege with Michelle Pommier Agency

Did you always want to be a makeup artist or did stumble into it? Did you begin working with a major cosmetic company? When did your freelance makeup career begin?I had the adventure of coming of age in the 1980’s, a time when conservative makeup looks were out the door and anything and everything was fair game. Every day was an experiment in line, color, value and proportion. I fell in love with makeup and its ability to transform the features of a face. So I attended cosmetology school in pursuit of a career in makeup. At the time there were no schools just for makeup and if one wanted to work in the field one needed a cosmetology license.

After graduating cosmetology I worked in NY as a hairstylist but found little opportunity to work with makeup. I decided to see if I could find some side work modeling in NYC. I choose to leave hairstyling for an opportunity to be a fulltime showroom model at a fashion house in NYC and wound up being there for the next 3 years. After this experience I’d gained a great deal of information about the fashion industry and was representing fashion lines at the major seasonal markets around the US working as a model and sales team member selling couture designs. These cumulative experiences in the fashion industry have all played a role in my building the business that I have now as a Makeup Artist.

Photography by Cesar Cuevas
Bald Cap and makeup on model right Sharon Hawkey
Bald Cap and makeup on model left Leigh Benson
Model left Jill Evyn, Otto Models Los Angeles
Model Right Jessica Cook , Elite Miami

What are your favorite and most exiting aspects about your work?

Every new face is exciting, every transformation created with makeup thrills me. I love to plan a look, execute it and photograph the results. While makeup is temporary the photographs last forever and it’s very pleasing to come away from a long day of creative work knowing  it’s not “art for art’s sake” but instead there’s a photograph that will last forever.

When it comes to lines what would I find in your makeup kit? MAC, Makeup Forever, Cinema Secrets, RCMA, Nars, Laura Mercier, Smashbox, Ben Nye, Graftobian, Lorac and the list goes on and on

What areas of media do you frequently work in?

Primarily, I work in print photography, but I have done video and film as well.
What are your dream goals, who would you like to work with?

Dream goals hmm…it would be nice to have my work become internationally known so that I might be invited to work in some far away and exotic locals. I love world flavor, experiencing different cultures and translating those impressions to my work. As far as artists who have influenced me the late Kevyn Aucoin is someone I study and I also follow Pat McGraths work.

What do you think about the trend of airbrush makeup? What are the pro and cons in your opinion?

I think airbrush makeup does a tremendous job at creating a long lasting, yet light looking coverage for the skin. I personally am not a fan of doing the eyes, lips and cheeks with it though as for me it’s just not as intuitive as traditional makeup. It’s all a matter of the tools you’re used to and most comfortable with. I have seen airbrush artists who do wonderful eye treatments but I personally find it more difficult to work this way. The airbrush is excellent for some looks while others maybe better created with traditional medium. For me it depends on how tight the working space is, and how detailed the desired look is.

Pros- Can give very natural looking and long lasting coverage.

Cons- Can be cumbersome and equipment can fail.

What advice would you give new photographers when it comes to working with a makeup artist? Explain clearly what the shoots objectives are, who the client is and what they expect their finished images to look like. Communicate with visual aids to suggest the style/direction of what you are trying to achieve. Thumbnail sketches of key shots can be helpful for overall planning, and sharing found images that give inspiration to your own ideas is a great way to communicate with a makeup artist.

Photography by Star Foreman
Hair Kristin Cicala
Makeup Sharon Hawkey
Model Alexis Merizalde, Elite Los Angeles

What is the most exciting or challenging opportunity you have had as a freelance artist?Challenging was filming a music video in a windstorm, the wind was so fierce that the talent would begin to cry the moment they stepped off the trailer into the windy environment. Their eyes streamed tears the entire time we were filming and it was impossible to keep the makeup unaffected. I never found a solution for the problem, I just did the best I could to dab their eyes and makeup dry between takes. Too bad it wasn’t a sad song, then it might have worked. Solution for filming in a windstorm….check your local weather forecast.
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