What do you see when you look at these images? Just at a glance, then a stare, then a thorough review....what is it?
Skin, I just simply see raw, refined, and unfiltered skin. It almost feels vintage. Or otherworldly. As if we are looking back in time at an idea, or looking into the future to a new civilization. Because lets face it, this is not a whole lot of what we are seeing in todays culture. There is quite noticeably a "trend" of sorts that is the reality celebrity driven chasm of so-called beauty standards for todays culture. I think you know exactly what I am talking about. But first, let's talk about skin...
I don't mean let's bust out our cosmo books and review the esthetician section. Hell, I'd need to bring in a dermatologist for review if I wanted to really go down that road. So I won't, because I'm not a dermatologist, and that's not really the conversation of skin I want to have. Just you and me, artist to artist, discussing the most tedious process of our client/artist relationship. Skin.
I would boldly say that skin is 75% of what we do as makeup artist. We tend to spend the most amount of money by way of creating a perfect canvas. We invest in
Variety of Foundations
Too many Powders
And then just about a bagful more of other preferred ointments, lotions, prep tonics, hydrators, serums, and magic potions to create the perfect, or rather "perfect" skin.
Some people don't really focus too much attention here, just hitting the bare minimum to finish the job. Some may repeat the same process with each client, because that's just where their education stops. STOPS. STOPS.
Well before I get there, let's talk real quick about how I arrived at the blog post. Simple. It was this:
This is that trend I kinda hinted at earlier, without really just getting to the point. This right here is what millions, ya I said MILLIONS, of people are clawing at. Shit, the people showing you how to do it are getting rich all the while too! Oh and the cosmetic industry, they are just laughing all the way to the bank because now you are hypnotized into wanting to look like this. A clone of a clone of a clone that really just isn't even human looking anymore.
WHERE IS THE SKIN???
We just went from this:
Now before one of you, sensitive Sally's gets upset know this. I am not here to bash this girl and her choice of makeup application. By all means, wear all of the makeups. What I am to discuss is where we got lost, and where we stopped educating ourselves. First, just scroll right back up the to before picture, don't worry, I'll wait.
Now look at the after. It's literally shocking, and for me not in the good way. I just ooze over her before makeup. Her skin is glistening, her eyes are so warm and soft, her skin coloring is so mesmerizing and full of hue and depth. Then after, I feel like I'm looking at her evil step mom. Really there is just nothing else left to say.
Let's breakdown how she got there...
Okay let's take a breath.
I think I feel a little better.
But wait! HIGHLIGHTER!
Why the hell do you think everyone is so obsessed with highlighter right now?
I'll give you 5..4..3..2..1...... . . .
Unless you're living under a rock somewhere, the hottest thing to buy in makeup right now is highlighters. If it hasn't dawned on you yet, let me turn the lights on.
With the above aforementioned makeup technique that is so crazily famous...we lost something. Ya, you know what. Skin, we lost skin okay. We have spackled and sponged, and covered the shit out of our skin that we don't see skin anymore. We see no light, no lush sheen of bouncing light. Because we absorbed it all with concealer, and full coverage foundation, then pressed and smooshed even more full coverage concealer on top and baked the ever loving shit out of our skin till it slurped and sucked every ounce of radiating goodness we were gifted with by the aliens. Wait, that's another story.
Ya, we NEED highlighter, more than ever because we can't bounce light off our concealment of nature.
Don't get me wrong, I love a little artificial light every now and then, but it surely doesn't compare to fresh light that bounces of fresh skin.
So is that where we stop? Do we just put more and more and more on until the wearer no longer resembles youth, or themselves?
I concur. I immediately thought of one thing...
This my friends is Jamie Salmon. A hyper realistic contemporary sculptor. You may have seen his work on a Facebook post before. His work along with many other artist and special fx makeup artists work popped up in my head.
Reason being is simple. Education. They have studied the art of color, and the magic of layering techniques to build the most realistic looking makeups and sculptures, from non-real things. Literally the opposite of what a lot of makeup artist/enthusiasts are doing to their skin.
There is that word again...skin. It's the focus of this topic, and really had me wondering why not that many people are learning about hyper-realistic techniques. It's really the idea of making something out of nothing. Tricking the eye and viewer into believing what they are seeing is real. It's hard. Not easy at all. Which is why only so many people are incredibly good at it, while the rest of us are struggling to keep up and everyone else is just oblivious.
In this world, the artist gets to a point where the base of the skin is mildly transparent (depending on their product they used) and lacks life. Well what does life look like? Have you ever seen a dead person? You can google it, and then you will know what the absence of life looks like in the skin. It's really quite hard to put it in words. Which is why I personally think it's so incredibly hard to make someone look dead on camera.
So yes, the artist must add life to that object. Through layers of colors, this is where major color theory knowledge kicks in. Then layers of mottling, speckling, spattering, veining, washes, and on and on. They are working so hard to make a mannequin look like a living, could-be-breathing object. Makes me think a lot about the silicone bodies made for Kanye West's new video.
I look at this and just am in awe. Not the reaction most people had, with their distain for Kanye. I am quite thrilled with this. Being an artist that is striving to make incredible work, I nod and salute this work. Because it is incredible. It took major skill to make from beginning to end. Their end goal, to make it look as real as possible, and so much of that went into the painting element.
Meanwhile....ya'll are over here like more, MORE!
Here is what I challenge you to do. Learn about color theory, to the point of exhaustion. To the point that choosing your next paint color for your wall is so strangely scientific and thoughtful, you baffle your partner.
Five points if you can tell me the difference of these colors:
What I am getting at is this...there is so much to be learned. A challenging new way to look at makeup. Why do we divide the education of beauty and special FX? A lot can be learned when these worlds collide. Let's stop spackeling on so much coverage, coverage, coverage and focus on the skin. Giving it the gilded, glowing light that comes free, we just use our art, technique and education to spin it into beauty.
Maybe I'll just have to create a class myself. The ultimate skin class. A "less is more" approach to how we apply makeup, instead of a "more is more." Applying less, more strategically, with finesse. Building tone, radiance, luminosity, depth, hue, range, transparency.
What do you think?