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August 2018

MM 10-year anniversary giveaway WINNER!

Huge thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Museum's 10-year anniversary giveaway!  I was so happy to have so many entries from all over the world.  I really loved seeing all your comments too, but Typepad's commenting system is trash (I really need to install Disqus) and I was overwhelmed trying to reply to everyone.  So I apologize for not getting back to you, but rest assured each and every comment was read and very much appreciated. 

Now onto the winner!  Museum interns Origins Babo and Babo Bear volunteered to do the honors. 

Giveaway-congrats

Giveaway-winner

Woohoo!  I'm so excited for you to get your stuff! 

Uh-oh, here we go again. 

MM staff

"Oooh, little pink sparkly cookies!"  "And look, pink champagne jelly to spread on top of them!  Yummy!" 

MM staff

Sigh.  Since I've come to anticipate staff eating the giveaway prize I kept a close eye and managed to pry out the goodies from those little teeth before they could damage them.  So don't worry, your items are still in pristine condition! 

Thank you again to everyone who entered.  If you didn't win, don't despair - I remembered how fun giveaways are so I will plan on allotting some of the Museum's budget for more of them!  They probably won't be big 10-item ones like this, but I think smaller ones are nice too.  If it's free, it's all good. ;)  And please let me know in the comments what sort of items/brands you want to see in future giveaways. 

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Tiny Makeup as Muse: lipstick sculptures, continued

I'm roughly three years overdue with this installment of Makeup as Muse, but it's a summer Friday so I'm throwing caution to the wind and posting about these amazing micro sculptures by British artist Hedley Wiggan.  Unlike fellow lipstick sculptors May Sum and Theresa Nakhoul, Wiggan isn't really involved in the cosmetics industry, but can carve basically any material that's thrown at him. In 2015 he was commissioned by Heathrow Airport to replicate five iconic buildings from the world's major cities to celebrate Heathrow's first lipstick trend report.  According to HuffPo: "Thanks to its in-terminal retail shops, London Heathrow Airport boasts the largest range of beauty lines in Europe under one roof. The airport released a “Lipstick Colours Of The Year” report, using global sales data to determine the preferred shade of cities all over the world, like New York (classic red), Dubai (rose pink), and more. The report also provides tips to master the perfect lip and a brief history of lipstick."  Wiggan reproduced Dubai's Burj Khalifa, London's Big Ben, NYC's Statue of Liberty, Paris's Eiffel Tower, and Shanghai's Tower. 

Hedley Wiggan lipstick sculptures

I'm astonished at the detail on these.  Carving anything this size is obviously challenging, but lipstick is a totally different animal from other materials given their softer texture.  Says Wiggan, "[The process] was really difficult.  Lipstick is a different material altogether. I had to stick them in the fridge and had 10 minutes sculpting time.  I got some cheaper ones to practise on and I could tell the difference between cheap and expensive lipsticks."  Another reason to treat yourself to high-end lipstick!  I wonder how Pat McGrath's or Chanel's lipsticks would perform as sculptures.  :)

Hedley Wiggan - Burj Khalifa lipstick
(images from hedleywiggan.co.uk)

Here's a pic to give you a better sense of the scale:

Model with Hedley Wiggan lipstick sculpture(image from thisiscow.com)

I also loved how the sculptures were displayed.  I think Heathrow did a nice job showing them in individual cases and putting photos of the actual buildings below.

Hedley Wiggan lipstick sculpture installation(image from themoodieblog)

The display also featured a much larger (2-story high!) lipstick sculpture of the Statue of Liberty.

Lipstick sculpture(image from heathrow.com)

I'm so glad there's a video showing how he works.  It's amazing to watch.

So who is Hedley Wiggan and how did he get into art?  His initial experience is somewhat heartbreaking:  "At age 8 he entered an art competition, hand drawing a Tyrannosaurus Rex with just a graphite pencil, poster paper and a small stamp of the dinosaur to use as a model. A box of chocolate was the prize. The motivation for Hedley was to present the chocolate to a girl in his class for whom he had a deep affection. Hedley dreamed of winning her heart.  His confidence was quickly shattered when his teacher, who was the judge of the competition, immediately disqualified him in disbelief. He said, “You must have cheated and traced this entry.” If only the judge had known that Hedley had been drawing assignments for his friends in class.  Disheartened by this undeserved outcome, Hedley did not pick up a paintbrush and draw again until age 40 when he broke a pencil and noticed it looked like a hand."  In 2012 Wiggan attempted his first carving of an Olympic torch in honor of the London games, which required working around the clock for a full month while also managing his day job as a hospital technician.  His professional medical background came in handy:  "I tried at first with a scalpel but it was too big for the lead so I started using pins and needles and basically anything small enough that I could get my hands on," he says.  (He now uses his own hand-made tools to achieve the necessary precision, as well as a microscope.)  

Hedley Wiggan - Olympic torch

Wiggan wasn't met with much success at first.  "When I tell people what I do, they don't take me seriously, they look at me and think I am talking rubbish," Wiggan noted.  But with the tutelage of his older brother, who also creates micro sculptures, as well as his own hard work and determination, a mere 3 years later he had landed the Heathrow commission and received global attention after making a sculpture of One Direction's Harry Styles.  That same year he also had his own exhibition in Paris.

Hedley Wiggan - Harry Styles lipstick sculpture
(image from theboltonnews.co.uk)

While Wiggan doesn't consider himself strictly a "micro sculptor" - he also paints - his miniature sculptures are probably what he's best known for.  In addition to lipstick, pencil tips and tiny glass jars serve as the foundation for these mini masterpieces. Wiggan cites Dali, Manet and Da Vinci as his favorite artists and draws on a variety of subject matter, from celebrities and fictional superheroes to historical figures and mythical beings. 

Hedley Wiggan superheroes pencil sculptures

Hedley Wiggan - Prince guitar

Hedley Wiggan - Shakespeare and Dickens

Wiggan-pegasus

Hedley Wiggan - fairy sculpture(images from hedleywiggan.co.uk)

I adore the lipstick sculptures, but my inner mermaid is enamored of Wiggan's shark teeth sculptures that were commissioned by London's Sea Life Aquarium in 2015.  The display was meant to attract visitors and increase awarness for ocean conservation.   Says Wiggan, "I was very excited […] at the chance to work on such a great project as it was for a great cause, and I also love all marine creatures.  I hope that the sculptures will educate visitors to the Sea Life center and teach them the real beauty that surrounds us all.  We [must] treat all creatures with the respect they so rightly deserve.”

Hedley Wiggan - shark tooth sculpture

Hedley Wiggan - shark tooth sculpture

Hedley Wiggan - shark tooth sculpture(images from divephotoguide.com)

However painstaking these are to make, Wiggan finds that the enormous amount of concentration required is akin to meditation; he genuinely enjoys creating his art and is pleased that people are enjoying it in turn, even though he's not sure exactly what they find so appealing about it. "I feel like art chose me. I find it so relaxing and it makes you more aware of things. You just take so much in...I feel really blessed that people like my work.  I think my art has tapped in to something — I am not sure what that is, but it is going well."  I just wish he'd get back to lipsticks...I wonder how much it would cost to have a mermaid lipstick sculpture!

What do you think?  Which of these is your favorite?

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Makeup Museum 10-year anniversary giveaway!

10 years

Ten years ago today I wrote my first blog post.  While I haven't accomplished anything in the past decade and toyed with the idea of discontinuing the blog earlier this year, obviously I chose to keep going.  Well, "chose" may not be totally accurate - I just realized that I would be lost without my identity as a makeup blogger and couldn't figure out a way to officially make a clean break and say goodbye, so I'm continuing to muddle through.  I'll be doing a 10-year anniversary exhibition with more thoughts on blogging and the Museum later this year, but for now, I want to celebrate my loyal readers - all 2 of you - with a chance to win a 10-piece giveaway!  I feel quite ashamed I haven't done a giveaway since 2015, so I hope having 10 items makes up for the lack of free goodies over the past couple years.

Makeup Museum 10 year anniversary giveaway

One lucky winner will receive the following:

  1. Pat McGrath Lust 004 Lip Kit in Bloodwine
  2. Urban Decay Heavy Metals palette
  3. Chanel Lumieres de Kyoto
  4. Rodin Olio Lusso Mermaid Illuminating Powder
  5. Vaseline Lip Bubbly
  6. An adorable notebook by beauty illustrator/editor ByMinoue
  7. Republic Nail Frida Kahlo lipstick in Maravilla
  8. Republic Nail Frida Kahlo lipstick in Clavel
  9. Chantecaille Les Paillettes
  10. NARS Andy Warhol Flower Palette no. 1  (I know I gave this away before, but I came across yet another extra I had and given that's one of my all-time favorite collections I thought it would be perfect to include.)

And of course, a choice of samples...or all of the ones I currently have on hand, whatever you'd like.  :) 

There are lots of ways to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.  Please note that for all of the Instagram entry options, you must be following me there for them to count.  Yes, it's open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be announced next Tuesday, August 14th.  Good luck and thank you!  

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Curator's Corner, July 2018

CC logoHere's the monthly rewind for July 2018. 

- Allure had an interesting history of Armenia's beauty industry, while Racked has yet another piece on makeup for incarcerated women.

- Lots of somewhat unsurprising industry news but still worth a mention:  fast beauty suffers the same problems as fast fashion; Sephora continues to dominate sales even in more niche categories once cornered by smaller, indie brands; and if companies won't stop animal testing for the animals' sake, they should at least do it to meet consumer demand.  Finally, congrats are in order for Mother, whose company's value has surpassed that of "self-made" (LOL, nope) billionaire Kylie Jenner.

- Despite this report, I highly doubt mascara is going anywhere...especially for those of us who don't have the time/money to regularly splurge on lash extensions or tinting.  This sort of privilege goes hand in hand with the no-makeup trend.  Who needs foundation when your skin is flawless from expensive dermatological treatments?

- On the manicure front, '80s-inspired jelly nails are, like, totally rad.  And if your mom won't let you have press-ons, you can DIY them with clay like this 10 year old.

The random:

- Doesn't get any more '90s than 311 and the Offspring covering each other's songs, or explaining all the lyrics to Barenaked Ladies' 1998 irritating but admittedly catchy hit "One Week".  Plus, make way for a Spice Girls exhibition.

- Ooh, here's another fun way for me to pretend to be a curator besides blogging. 

- If we ever find a house, I will definitely be using this wallpaper in some capacity.

- Bawling.

- As for my summer vacation, unfortunately my annual 3-day trip to the Jersey Shore got rained out so I missed having any beach time, but I did have fun hanging with my parents at their house.  The plushies were very content as my dad always fully stocks cookies and other sweets.

Dessert feast!

Polishing off some brookies and brownies

How did July treat you? 

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Oodles of doodles: Burberry spring/summer 2018

While I'm not Burberry's biggest fan at the moment, I did want to share their spring/summer 2018 blush (leftover inventory of which I'm hoping doesn't go up in flames).  As with previous releases the design is a makeup version of one of Burberry's seasonal pieces.  In this case, the blush borrows one of the patterns from the Doodle collection, an illustration-based lineup created by British artist/director Danny Sangra.  I like that they chose the artist collaboration from their spring collection rather than blindly using an in-house design.  Lovely though they can be, using the work of an outside artist is a nice change of pace. 

Burberry Doodle blush

Burberry Doodle blush

Burberry Doodle blush

Burberry Doodle blush detail

Burberry Doodle blush detail

The particular "doodle" on the palette appeared on this trench coat and sweatshirt.  It may have been on other pieces but I didn't spot any.

Burberry Doodle trench coat
(image from bergdorfgoodman)

Burberry Doodle sweatshirt
(image from farfetch.com)

As usual, I felt the need to show the exact part of the pattern used.  I believe the eye on the right was moved down from where it was in the original pattern so as to fill some blank space.  It's an incredibly strange design that looks almost surreal or psychedelic to my eye.  Between the hand that appears to have a pinky finger with teeth, the square made up of tiny x's, the arrow shapes and the words "oh" and "England", there's some weird stuff going on here.  However, that's par for the course with this artist.

Burberry Doodle palette detail

So as not to leave you in the dark about the style of the artist who created this very odd pattern, let's take a peek at Danny Sangra's illustrations and his collaboration with Burberry.  I have to give them credit for seeking out a young, fresh artist who was able to infuse this venerable brand with a little cheekiness.  Sangra, who studied graphic design at London's prestigious Central St. Martin's, has been drawing approximately since he was 8 years old, when he took a tumble off a chair at his mother's hair salon.  "I was a little shaken so to calm me down, my mum’s assistant got me to draw some cartoons. That is literally the day I started to draw with enthusiasm," he says.  Most of his images consist of vintage magazine pages covered in offbeat phrases and words - sometimes surreal, sometimes hilarious (or both), but always visually compelling.  They remind me a little of drawing in your junior high textbook or passing funny notes during class; there's something a bit juvenile about marking up these images that makes me giggle.

Danny Sangra

Danny Sangra

I cracked up at this one, since it reminded me of the time I left a magazine out on the kitchen counter only to come home and find that my husband had blacked out the cover girl's teeth and gave her a mustache.  I can't for the life of me remember who it was (maybe Katy Perry), but it was just one of those moments that made me hysterical laughing.  Nothing like coming home from work and being unexpectedly confronted with a graffitied magazine.  (I asked him why he did it and he said he was just bored and thought it would be funny.  Fair enough.)

Danny Sangra

Scribbling random words and images in fashion magazines may have gotten Sangra in trouble with his parents when he was a kid, but proved to be worthwhile long-term:  in the summer of 2017, his "doodles" caught the attention of Burberry, who gave Sangra free reign to re-imagine some of their campaign images from their archives with his signature humorous style in a project called "Now Then".  Phrases are scattered across the photos in an almost stream-of-consciousness manner, infused with British silliness that doesn't fall into stereotypical traps.  He explains, "I tend to play with colloquialisms, surreal thoughts and kitchen sink-esque observations...it feels like a very British commentary.  [T]ypically, I write things that need to be deciphered. However, for the Burberry project, from the beginning it was meant to be very British – but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just 'Big Ben’ and ’London Bus' British! I was born in Yorkshire, but have lived in London almost half my life; I wanted a lot of colloquialisms which I knew would bring a humour to the project." 

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This one was my favorite.  "I'll put the kettle on." 

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 12.55.12 PM

The advertising project led to more work with Burberry - an augmented reality app*, a Snapchat takeover, and of course, Sangra's work appearing on Burberry's clothing and accessories. The color schemes for both the app and fashion items were coordinated due to, ironically, Sangra's colorblindness.  "I've always been very specific about colour – because I have to be!...For the bag collection, it was actually dictated by the Augmented Reality project I did previously with Burberry. Because I was painting in Virtual Reality, and the colour had to pop against whatever real-life situation people chose to use the app, I went for primary colours. Then, when it came to designing the bags, we felt it would be good to keep the world cohesive, which is why I made the bags bright unlike the archive illustration pieces."  Sangra kept the primary colors as well as Burberry's traditional brown check pattern, but also added a healthy dose of vibrant shades.

Burberry Doodle tote bags

Burberry Doodle tote bag
(image from juice.com.sg)

Burberry Doodle wallet
(image from tradesy)

Some of the clothing even bordered on neon.  (And I swear the pink on this dress is the same shade as the blush palette.)

Burberry Doodle dress

Burberry Doodle sweatshirt
(image from nordstrom)

Sangra also did live illustration at several Burberry flagships across the globe, decorating customers' bags as well as the store windows.  “It's always an entertaining way to connect with the people passing by...Kinda like if the store was talking to you. That seems an over the top way of describing what I'm doing -- essentially it's Burberry letting a tall bloke paint random things on their windows,” he says.  This sort of hands-on artist involvement with a brand isn't new - see OB for Shu Uemura and Donald Robertson - but Sangra brought his unique brand of irreverence and wit to the concept.  Unsurprisingly, he didn't want the run-of-the-mill "pretty" window displays:  "I knew I would write “How do you say roast beef Yorkshire pudding” in the Tokyo store window, but I didn't know I was going to lay down and pretend I was asleep! I've kept every window on the tour 'internationally local' – but once I'm in the window, who knows! I've been getting away with more and more as this tour progresses. I want people on the street to stop and take it in. I don't just want some pretty windows."  

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As to be expected, Sangra also had a field day with customizing the bags at these events. 

Danny Sangra for Burberry

Danny Sangra for Burberry

It was a fruitful collaboration to be sure, but the key to its success was Burberry giving more or less carte blanche for Sangra to do as he pleased, which is quite refreshing in the land of artist collaborations.  He explains, "[W]hat surprised me was how much freedom they have given me. Usually, with companies of that size, there's tons of restrictions – but Christopher [Bailey] and the team have just let me get on with what I do. Obviously, I reacted to the fact it's an illustrious British brand that is so ingrained in the culture. Whatever I did, it had to feel honest."  Sangra clearly enjoyed this freedom, even poking gentle fun at the Burberry brand.

Danny Sangra for Burberry

Danny Sangra for Burberry

Danny Sangra for Burberry

What I like most about Sangra is obviously his sense of humor; the fact that he doesn't take himself or art in general all that seriously makes his work easily accessible.  His approach:  "I think you need humour across the board in general. Humour allows for more interaction. It seeks to unify rather than segregate (most of the time). I have a difficult time when I see people taking art too seriously. Art shouldn't be elitist, it should inspire. Humour is just another tool to create a response. I tend to use humour as a cloaking device...I think the humour [in my work] comes from me not trying to sell the work; I'm just writing whatever is on my mind, from either my own points of view or my characters’ points of view. I don't really try make stuff funny, it's just the way it comes out. There's an awkwardness to the way I present it that adds to it – you either relate to my work or you don’t, I’m not trying to hook you in!"  

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 12.56.00 PM

Additionally, Sangra's clever use of text, whether alone or scrawled over magazine images, is the key ingredient in making his work come alive.  While Sangra is also a film director, reading and writing serve as the foundation for his creative process.  "I'm not a heavy reader as I lack the patience, but I'm trying! I find reading gives me the most inspiration...I write more than anything else these days. I constantly write notes. Words, conversations etc. Those tend to ignite a project. I'll hear a phrase and then I'll either think of a film I can make with it or how it could become a series of images."  Jotting down a few phrases on a slip of paper seems overly simple - I can see how some wouldn't consider it "real" art - but keep in mind that the written word is essential to the work of tons of "real" artists (i.e., Basquiat, Barbara Kruger).  The process is slightly more complex than you'd think.  Having said that, I don't believe Sangra's scribbles are incredibly high-brow or overly conceptual pieces (although his in-store antics could certainly serve as performance art), but sometimes it's nice not to be confronted with anything that could be remotely construed as pretentious.  With Sangra, what you see is what you get; there's no affectation here.

Danny Sangra
(images from instagram unless otherwise noted)

Getting back to the Burberry palette, I'm so curious to know whether Sangra is aware that one of his illustrations appeared on a makeup item.  While I think it would have been incredibly fun to present him with an empty palette and have him come up with something just for the makeup line, I still appreciate that Burberry used one of his existing designs rather than relying on their usual seasonal collection.  As for the design itself, the fact that it's such an odd jumble of images makes it memorable and takes away the haute couture formality and seriousness that can sometimes plague makeup releases from high-fashion houses.  By choosing possibly the strangest illustration Sangra had created for Burberry, the blush perfectly represents not only his work but also a more playful, casual side of the brand that we don't often see.  I must add, however, that I think it would have been hilarious to have one of the Now Then images on the outer packaging.  ;)

What do you think? 

 

*I had no idea what an AR app was.  Fortunately this article explains it in a nutshell:  "The augmented-reality feature interacts with users’ camera feeds to digitally redecorate their surroundings with Burberry-inspired drawings by the artist Danny Sangra...The new augmented-reality feature allows users to export the images they create, enhanced with graffiti-like doodles, to social media in a Burberry frame."