Tips! Tricks! Techniques!
How to: Become A Professional Makeup Artist
Tue, 26 June 2012 11:36AM
Here at Primped we’re slaves to the tips and tricks of top makeup artists, but how did they get where they are? I’ve cornered one of Australia’s major makeup mavens – and ambassador for Max Factor – Liz Kelsh – to get the lowdown on the highlights of her colourful career.
ECB: What got you interested in becoming involved in makeup artistry?
Liz Kelsh: I’ve loved make up for as long as I can remember. Some kids collect crayons I collected Lipsticks. My mum would take shortcuts through department stores to keep out of the rain and the cosmetic floor always seemed to be such a magical beautiful smelling place.
Here’s a shot of Liz hard at work….
ECB: Do you remember the moment you realized it was a passion that could be turned into a career?
LK: I remember the day I discovered being a makeup artist was a career not just a hobby and I knew this was the job for me. I was 16 and reading a profile piece in British Vogue about the head of makeup at Gucci at the time (it was a while ago now so I can’t remember who this was!) and I remember getting really excited because it meant that I could turn my passion for makeup into a career!
ECB: How did your career begin?
LK: Around the age of 18 I phoned up a modelling agency and asked if they had any advice for me as to how I would go about becoming a makeup artist. They invited me in to work on their model test shoot that they did every Saturday and that was the start of my career. From here I learned lots of valuable lessons on the effect of light on makeup, how makeup changes in black and white and the different effect of studio and location lighting. Looking back, most lessons were learnt through trial and error
ECB: What were the steps you took from there to get where you are?
LK: The next step for me was to concentrate on building a book I could be proud of. I was lucky enough to collaborate with industry greats like photographer Steven Chee and hairstylist Renya Xydis and together we did some amazing submissions, which are a collaboration of hair, makeup, styling and photography that are put forward to feature in magazines. We put together submissions for titles like Cream, Russh, Oyster and Culture.
ECB: What is the best thing about being a makeup artist?
LK: Watching the magic happen, watching the transformation, how just tweaking an eyebrow can change someone’s whole appearance
ECB: What is the worst thing?
LK: I never travel light!
ECB: What is your advice to would-be makeup artists?
LK: My advice is to just get out there and start doing it, practice practice practice. Master your craft and the rest will come
ECB: Early memorable moment?
LK: Being backstage at John Galliano for Paris fashion week in the early ’90s resonates a little more than working on celebrities. I remember being very starstruck when I first saw John Galliano in the flesh; he was so charismatic and had such a presence about him – like an aura. It was certainly a real buzz. Working backstage at fashion shows like this are on of the best things about being makeup artist for me. It’s chaos but always a great vibe.
ECB: Do you pinch yourself that you have the perfect career?
LK: There is an expression ‘love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life’. That has definitely been true for me. Particular highlights have to be Paris Fashion Week and covers are always fantastic especially if it’s Vanity Fair or Harper’s Bazaar. Recently I did the make up for actress Cate Blanchett on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. Cate has such a natural yet ethereal beauty about her that is like no other. She’s as beautiful on the inside as she is out so that always makes work a pleasure.
ECB: How does a look for a shoot come about? Is there liaison with the client/talent in some cases or is it purely organic and all happen on the day?
LK: Deciding the makeup look is collaboration between the photographer, stylist, hair stylist, art director and myself. All are jobs are intertwined. Sometimes there is a definite brief going into a job and other times it just evolves
ECB: How did the Max Factor gig come about?
LK: The Max Factor brand has a special place in my heart. My first make up book was by Max Factor so when they approached me I jumped at the chance to be involved with them. Who wouldn’t? They invented lip-gloss, false lashes and all the things I hold dear!
ECB: Can you describe an average workweek for you? Is there an average workweek?
LK: There is no average work-week for me. Every day and week is different, from photo shoots to trips to shows it all goes into the big melting pot of being a makeup artist and one of the reasons I love it so much
ECB: How do you keep abreast of makeup trends? Who is your source(s) of inspiration?
LK: In this day and age of technology makes information so accessible to us so it is easy to stay on top of the trends with online blogs and fashion sites constantly updating with the latest news. Even though is important to keep abreast of trends I try not to stick to them too rigidly. I use them as inspiration to create looks and then tailor them to suit. Certain looks don’t work for everyone so the most important thing is that the finished product looks good. I gather inspiration from everywhere – the past, present and future, always making sure I’m on top of what is happening overseas is also important. As they are always a season ahead overseas, I take what they are doing and tailor it to suit the more relaxed Aussie lifestyle. I live and breathe makeup everyday so from the places I visit to the people I work with I am constantly feeling inspired.
For more on Liz’s hot career, check her out at: www.maxfactor.com.au/au/LizKelsh
Missed part one of this post? You can catch up on all the business here.
Posted by: ecb