Makeup as Muse

Makeup as Muse: Karen Shapiro's ceramic makeup

I thought I'd keep it light and breezy for today with these delightful ceramics by artist Karen Shapiro.  Shapiro found her true calling in ceramic sculpture after spending 30 years as a pastry chef.  As for subject matter, she is drawn to popular household brands; her objects are inspired by her fascination with the textures, colors and shapes of everyday items as well as the Pop Art tradition.  Shapiro tackles many common goods in ceramic form, but obviously what I want to focus on is her rendering of beauty products. 

Karen Shapiro, Clinique lipstick, 2013

Shapiro's preferred artistic method is based on a Japanese technique known as raku, which was historically used to create tea ceremony pottery and involves removing the pieces from the kiln while still red hot and allowing them to cool in open air.  Unlike the traditional raku, however, the Western/American raku that Shapiro uses maintains the removal of the pieces while still glowing, but rather than cooling in an open space, the pieces are then "subjected to post-firing reduction (or smoking) by placing in containers of combustible materials, which blackens raw clay and creates cracks in glaze."  The crackling has the effect of making the products seem older and/or more fragile than we might think of them otherwise, which provides an interesting contrast against these everyday, seemingly plain objects. Says one reviewer, "The crackle glaze does give Shapiro’s sculptures a very different vibe from that of 1960’s Pop Art. It tends to legitimize their claim as valuable objects deserving permanent counter space—as opposed to disposable packages."  Perhaps if makeup items are viewed through a ceramic lens, people might be more accepting of the idea of them belonging in a museum, yes?

Karen Shapiro - Clinique lotion and lipstick

Karen Shapiro - Clinique lipstick, 2014

Karen Shapiro - Great Lash, 2009

Most of the beauty products appear to be older versions from the '70s through the '90s.   Along with Clinique's lipsticks in the old green tubes, there are others like this L'Oreal nail polish bottle, which looks to be from the '80s or '90s to my eye.  (Speaking of nail polish and crackling, wouldn't it be cool if she made one of those crackle nail polishes that were all the rage circa 2011 or so?)

Karen Shapiro - L'oreal nail polish
(images from winfieldgallery.com)

Can you identify what time period this Cutex bottle is from?  I couldn't at first and thought for sure it had to be around the 1930s or so, given the Art Deco-esque font.  But I searched and searched and searched and everything I saw indicated that Cutex bottles simply weren't shaped like that back then.  Low and behold, the December 1995 issue of Sassy magazine (yes, I'm becoming a vintage magazine hoarder - that's a problem for another day) contained a photo of a nearly identical bottle!  Much to my embarrassment I never would have guessed this is from the '90s.  I like to think of myself an expert on the decade, especially on beauty and makeup, but this is one item I don't recall.

Karen Shapiro - Cutex nail polish(image from williamzimmergallery.com)

Sassy magazine, December 1995

This Revlon Charlie Nail Gleamer dates to the late '70s/early '80s, based on a 1978 ad I found.

Karen Shapiro - Revlon Charlie nail polish

Revlon charlie nail gleamer ad, 1978(image from theguardian.com)

But Shapiro goes all the way back to the '50s and even earlier for some truly vintage pieces.  I love this '50s era version of the Revlon polish.

Karen Shapiro - vintage Revlon nail polish

The Outdoor Girl powder dates to about 1931. 

Karen Shapiro - Outdoor Girl vintage face powder

Some other favorites:

Karen Shapiro - Bourjois Evening in Paris talc bottle

Karen Shapiro - Bourjois Evening in Paris talc bottle

Karen Shapiro - vintage Lyon's Cold Cream

Too bad I didn't know this talc box existed - it would have been perfect for the summer exhibition.  Oh well.  I couldn't find any for sale anyway.

Karen Shapiro - vintage Sweetheart talcum powder
(images from rakukaren.com)

Much like seeing actual vintage makeup items, all of these made me smile and ponder bygone eras.  Says gallery owner Chris Winfield, "I call them pop icons, except they have a little surface development and a patina that gives them a friendly, used quality...some pieces, many of which are from the '30s, '40s and '50s, are quite nostalgic. They have an historical element but are still around, which gives them popular appeal.  Collectors tend to buy two and three pieces and then put them on a kitchen counter or vanity, places where the actual items would go."  Whereas traditional Pop Art could be seen as a somewhat negative commentary on mass production and consumption, Shapiro's items exist without any sort of pointed critique directed at our current cultural climate; there's no sharp irony or parody here, just a sentimental quality that elicits pleasant feelings and memories.  While the items can evoke some powerful nostalgia, due to the fact that they're also imitations of everyday items, they lack the pretension of "high art" and seem right at home...in, well, your home.  The artist herself summarizes her work nicely:  "My work is fun, it's whimsical...I feel lucky I can make a living at it. It's not conceptual; it's literal. People don't have to understand it; it's already understood."

What do you think?  I'd love to own one of these so I may have to reach out to one of the galleries for pricing.  There is a Noxema jar on 1stdibs but of course I'd prefer makeup to skincare.  ;)


Makeup as Muse: Nail edition

I'm excited to share some pretty innovative works of art that use nail products for this installment of Makeup as Muse.  First up we have South African artist Frances Goodman, who has been creating elaborate, organic-looking sculptures using fake nails since 2013.

Because I'm feeling lazy and also because I think this description captures her work well, here it is in a nutshell:  "In her nail sculptures Goodman uses one of fashion’s ultimate feminine accessories – the false nail, which she layers and overlaps to create form, movement, pattern, and structure. False nails, for Goodman, signify a culture of excess and transience. The artist is interested in false nails as an expendable extension of the body – and has counteracted this by using the nails not to extend the body, but through emphasising size and shape to create bodily forms. The artist states: 'Some of the sculptures are abstract and consider ideas of oozing, spreading, and writhing.  Others suggest snakes and scaled creatures.' These enigmatic works are threatening and foreboding--their shape and scale emulate predators, which smother and overwhelm, yet are simultaneously impotent. The layering and positioning of the nails insinuates movement, yet these works are ostensibly static and, on closer inspection, fragile."

I am still curious to know how she attaches the nails together, approximately how many are used for each sculpture, and whether she sketches them out first.  I know I could have a thousand loose fake nails piled in front of me and not have a clue how to mold them into sculptures like this - it's truly impressive.

Frances Goodman, Come Hither, 2013

Frances Goodman, Below the Belt, 2013

Frances Goodman, Medusa, 2013

Frances Goodman, Ophiaphilia, 2014

Frances Goodman, Lick-It, 2015

Frances Goodman, Lilith, 2015

Frances Goodman, Succubus, 2016

Frances Goodman, Violaceous, 2015

This dress was produced in 2014 and I can't help but wonder whether Anna Goswami, a fashion student in the UK who created evening dresses out of fake nails for her final project in 2015, was influenced in any way by it. (I mentioned these briefly last year.)

Frances Goodman, Melusina, 2014(images from francesgoodman.com)

These nail sculptures are not the only beauty-related items in Goodman's oeuvre:  she also makes giant nails and eyelash drawings (both are exactly what they sound like).  Combined with the nail sculptures, they reflect a distinct feminist perspective.  Goodman says, “Women are often asked to make media-influenced choices about our bodies...fake nails and false eyelashes, though, go against that. You’re able to become expressive, to become someone else. You don’t become the idea of who a woman should be. You become the antithesis.”  Working with these materials to create some rather grotesque-looking pieces, Goodman turns the traditional idea of using beauty paraphernalia to look pretty completely upside down, especially in the case of the Medusa - a mythical creature so hideous she turned people to stone with one look.  And in the case of her gigantic, talon-like sculptures of single nails, they become downright menacing.  Naturally I'm drawn to these, as I love any beauty/fashion items that double as weapons. ;)

Next up, we have an update from Lithuanian artist Agne Kisonaite.  You might remember her Giant Lipstick sculpture from 2013, which, while I liked the general idea behind it, I disagreed with her notion that consumers bear most of the responsibility for making "green" beauty purchases.  In any case, Kisonaite is back with another beauty-related piece entitled Glass Blowing, this time using old nail polish bottles. 

Agne Kisonaite, Glass Blowing, 2016

The artist gathered over 5,000 (!) used bottles of nail polish and divided them into 21 color categories.  The finished piece was whittled down to a mere 1,969 bottles.

Agne Kisonaite, Glass Blowing, 2016

Kisonaite doesn't say where she got the old bottles, but I'm wondering if Avon was behind gathering them the way they were with Giant Lipstick.  Judging from the boxes in the photo below, it's very likely.  I also wonder what she did with the roughly 3,000 bottles that didn't make the cut.

Agne Kisonaite, Glass Blowing, 2016

Agne Kisonaite, Glass Blowing, 2016(images from agneart.com)

Once again, the goal was to bring attention to the problematic lack of recycling in the beauty world.  Kisonaite says,  "[M]akeup goods are often non-recyclable. This is why 'Glass Blowing' project seemed meaningful to me – these 1969 nail polish bottles didn’t end up as a waste: now they grace our home with their lively presence."  I was heartened to see that she wasn't preachy about it this time and putting the burden of recycling squarely on consumers.  I absolutely agree that the industry really needs to overhaul its packaging to make recycling more feasible, especially nail polish - with the exception of Zoya, most companies do not make it easy.  And given that nail polish is considered hazardous waste, it has to go to a dedicated facility.  So, overall I must conclude that it's good an artist is calling attention to the issue.

What do you think of both these artists?  As with nearly all Makeup as Muse artists, I would commission them in a heartbeat to create unique pieces for the Makeup Museum if it occupied a real space.  :)

 


Makeup as Muse: Jason Mecier's makeup portraits

These aren't exactly new, but they are way too cool not to share.  San Francisco-based, self-taught artist Jason Mecier creates celebrity portraits out of unconventional materials.  From Jerry Seinfeld rendered in cereal to Hugh Hefner made out of old Playboy magazines, Mecier seems to have something for everyone. Each portrait takes at least 50 hours, and much longer for larger, more detailed images. Mecier gathers materials from thrift stores and sometimes even from the celebrities themselves.  As for his background and using celebrities as his primary subject matter, Mecier explains, "Though I have no formal art training, I did have an excellent mentor in my grandmother, Anita Tollefson. When I was young, I remember being mesmerized by her paintings, weavings, mosaics, sculptures, collages, and stained glass work that filled my grandparents' house and yard. If Anita was working on an art project, she would set me up at a nearby table with a project of my own to work on. One of my earliest pieces, is a mosaic made from beans, noodles, rocks, and cut bamboo sticks glued on a piece of wood. My grandmother encouraged me to create masterpieces using materials readily available to me. She would rather paint on the back of her cigarette cartons than buy a canvas. I learned from her that I can make art out of anything I want to, and that there are no rules...As a kid I remember obsessively clipping and scrap-booking pictures from the TV Guide of my favorite shows. In high school I did pencil drawings of my favorite record covers like The Rolling Stones, Olivia Newton-John and Pat Benatar. Later I did a series of psychedelic collages using Charlie's Angels trading cards and picture of Florence Henderson from the Wesson Oil coupons and ads. Soon I was arranging beans and noodles into larger portraits of these icons. It just exploded from there!"

Don't worry about Mecier's food-based portraits getting bug infestations or mold - he uses an acrylic sealant for edible materials.

Jason Mecier, Jerry Seinfeld

There was actually a short documentary on the construction of this portrait of Amy Sedaris.

Jason Mecier, Amy Sedaris, 2011

Jason Mecier, Hugh Hefner

Apparently there was $1500 worth of weed on the canvas for Snoop Dogg's portrait.

Jason Mecier, Snoop Dogg, 2011

Jason Mecier, Lady Gaga, 2010

All of these are awesome, but obviously my favorites are the portraits from his makeup series. It's one thing to create a portrait out of makeup products, but it's quite another to form a mosaic by incorporating the outer packaging in addition to the makeup itself.

Jason Mecier, Missy Elliott, 2011

Jason Mecier, Mariah Carey, 2011

Jason Mecier, Rosario Dawson, 2011

Jason Mecier, Ashanti, 2011
(images from jasonmecier.com)

Mecier says that he "enjoy[s] trying to match the perfect items, colors, and themes with the essence of each unique subject."  To that end, might I suggest that he continue this series with some other modern iconic beauty looks?  I'd love to see Rihanna with her blue lipstick or Joan Smalls with violet lips.  He also takes commissions, so I'm seriously considering asking him to make me a portrait of Babo using various cookies.  ;)

What do you think of these?  And who would you like to see in makeup or other materials?


Makeup as Muse: Cosmetic "ink blot" tests

Be still my ink blot- and makeup-loving heart!  I came across these images at AnOther Magazine earlier this week and had to share.  I've always been fascinated by Rorschach tests and what people see in them, despite their serving no real scientific or diagnostic purpose.  As their value in terms of psychological evaluation has long been debunked since the height of their use in the 1960s, Rorschach-inspired prints are now mostly relegated to art and decor.  And I couldn't be happier about that - as of late I've been admiring everything ink blot, from rugs to tiles, plates and pillows.  So when AnOther married my love of ink blots and makeup for the magazine's dedicated beauty week I just about died.  The brains behind these wonderful creations are fashion photographer Agnes Lloyd-Pratt and set designer Victoria Spicer, who were partially inspired by Lloyd-Pratt's childhood experimentation with the process to make masks.

I think what I was most blown away by was the fact that they kindly included the exact products used to create the pictures, so beauty junkies may have fun seeing some of their favorite products in a totally new context.  Here we go!

NARS Nail Polish in Night Owl and MAC Nail Polish in Rain of Flowers:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

Instant Glow Bronzing Rocks in Pink Bronze by Seventeen, MAC Nail Varnish in Mean and Green, Stay Pout Lip Colour in Infrared by Seventeen:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

Maybelline Super Stay Gel Nail Color in Crystal Clear, Sleek Candy Tint Balm in Sherbet, Instant Glow Bronzing Rocks in Pink Bronze by Seventeen, Sleek Blush in Pink Lemonade

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

YSL Nail Polish in Jaune Babouche, NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser in Seychelles:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

MAC Nail Polish in Mean and Green, Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss in Rootbeer, Josie Maran Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Everlasting Honey, Fresh Gloss Lip Balm in Coral Glow Number 2 by Burberry:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

Super Lash Mascara in Brown/Black by Seventeen, Sleek i-Lust Eyeshadow in The Gold Standard, Maybelline Super Stay Gel Nail Color in Crystal Clear:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

MAC Lipmix in Cyan, Barry M Flawless Matte Finish Oil Free Foundation in Beige 532:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

I'm seeing Hungry Hungry Hippos in this one, ha!  Butter London Nail Polishes in Tramp Stamp and Brown Sugar, Maybelline Dream Touch Blush in Berry, OCC Lip Tar in NSFW:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

Same products as the one above:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

Super Lash Mascara in Brown/Black by Seventeen, Sleek i-Lust Eyeshadow in The Gold Standard, Maybelline Super Stay Gel Nail Color in Crystal Clear:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

These are wings, yes?  Instant Glow Bronzing Rocks in Pink Bronze by Seventeen, MAC Nail Varnish in Mean and Green, Stay Pout Lip Colour in Infrared by Seventeen:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

 Same products as the one above:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup

NARS Nail Polish in Purple Rain, OCC Lip Tar in Digitalis, Lip Couture Liquid Lipstick in Lollipop, Stay Pout Lip Colour in Infrared by Seventeen:

AnOther Magazine - Rorschach tests made with makeup
(images from anothermag.com)

Are any jumping out at you?  What do you see?

 

 

 


Makeup as Muse: Donna Huanca's Cosmetic Paintings

Artforum recently featured a joint exhibition of Bolivian-American artist Donna Huanca and Polish artist Przemek Pyszczek.  While the latter's work is interesting, it's definitely Huanca's "cosmetic paintings" I want to focus on.  I'll be honest, I'm pretty brain-dead from work already this week so I'm going to take the easy way out and let a real art critic discuss the meaning of her work.

Huanca used Chanel eye shadow, liner and mascara onto stretched wool suits.  Combining the themes of male/female identity, socioeconomic power and body politics, the Cosmetic Paintings show an innovative take on using makeup as paint.  Art Viewer has an excellent description:  "Since the 1980s, the power suit and bold use of brand-name cosmetics have armored the female executive on the male-dominated battlefield of corporate life. On the one hand, these outward facing garments and war paint empower; on the other hand they represent a male ideal of the female form. In Donna Huanca’s Cosmetic Paintings, the routine female practice of applying makeup and dressing for success is transformed into a powerful, primal action, employing these loaded, normative symbols of feminine power by applying Chanel makeup onto woolen suit material. In the context of an exhibition, Huanca’s flat works act as backdrops to be experienced in conversation with the body. They are activated through a performance of painted female bodies glacially engaging with the works and space. The juxtaposition of the almost static live performance versus the remnants of intense action on canvas challenges the viewer to ask where social power is stored: is it in the body or in the garments that conceal it?" 

That last question is an interesting one, as it seems Huanca views physical bodies and clothing to be interchangeable in her art.  "Garments evoke bodies and carry their form and spirit,” she says.

Donna Huanca, Cosmetic Painting #6, 2015

Donna Huanca, Cosmetic Painting #8

Donna Huanca, Cosmetic Painting #10, 2015

Donna Huanca, Ego Medium, 2015

Donna Huanca, MiuMiu Coral, 2015

Donna Huanca, Scarring/Branding, 2015
(images from artsy.net)

Donna Huanca - performance for Muscle Memory show

Donna Huanca - performance for Muscle Memory show
(images from ruaminx.com)

I'm intrigued.  Creating abstract paintings with makeup isn't all that groundbreaking on its own.  But the use of a power suit as a canvas and the addition of painted live models takes a simple idea (using makeup as a medium) and transforms it into something more complex, illustrating the struggle to navigate a man's world without completely abandoning traditional markers of femininity, like cosmetics.  Rather, the raw, thick dabs of shadow and mascara on a wool suit canvas coupled with models wearing only paint as clothing demonstrate that cosmetics can be symbols of power rather than mere prettiness.  I would also argue there's a class/status angle here too, although I'm too out of it to properly articulate what that is.  I just think it's notable that Huanca opted to break out the Chanel rather than smearing on a less expensive makeup brand.  It could be yet another display of power - economic in this case - with the implication being that women high up on the corporate ladder (i.e., who wear suits regularly) can easily afford designer makeup.  Or perhaps it's an exaggeration of the idea of the makeup tax:  not only do women have to wear makeup to look presentable in professional situations, they require pricier cosmetics in sleek, fancy packaging to truly feel confident. And there might even be an unspoken expectation that they should spring for the "good" stuff in order to fully look the part of a high-powered executive.  

What do you think of these paintings?   


Makeup as Muse: a cycle of destruction, but also rebirth?

I have a simultaneously inspiring and saddening Makeup as Muse to share with you today. First, I'll focus on the artwork itself.  The city of Donetsk in Ukraine was almost completely destroyed by the German invasion during World War II.  But after the war, the city underwent a great renaissance thanks in large part to the women who went to work in Donetsk's newly created factories.  In 2012, nonprofit arts group Izolyatsia commissioned a public artwork to honor these women and chose Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou to create the piece.  Inspired by Claes Oldenburg's giant lipstick sculpture, Tayou produced an oversized lipstick tube, appropriately titled Make Up! to crown one of the city's industrial smokestacks and pay homage to the women who helped rebuild the city after the war.  She explains, "I noticed that, thanks to the courage of the Ukrainian women, Donetsk rose from the ashes after the war and wanted to make some of their own symbols of love and hope, because, from my personal point of view, Donetsk - is not only a city of mines and metal. It is also an island of dreams, ready to share its hidden treasures." What better way to express this sentiment than lipstick?

Makeup sculpture by Pascale Marthine Tayou
(image from news.artnet.com)

Makeup sculpture by Pascale Marthine Tayou
(image from next.liberation.fr)

Makeup sculpture by Pascale Marthine Tayou
(image from espoarte.net)

Makeup sculpture by Pascale Marthine Tayou - construction
(image from news.artnet.com)

Now here's the sad part.  In early June, Russian separatists from the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) blew up the sculpture, as shown in a video that surfaced on June 24.

Makeup sculpture by Pascale Marthine Tayou - destruction
(image from news.artnet.com)

This was not a random attack.  Roughly a year prior to the destruction of Make Up!, DPR took over Izolyatsia's exhibition space and foundation.  A DPR leader stated, "We had no choice but to occupy it, because the art, which they spread, was not an art at all. On the territory of Donetsk Republic this kind of art will be punished." Another official noted in an interview, "Considering what kind of art they have shown here, this center had to be seized...this is not art and it cannot be art. These people are sick, and they have demonstrated this art to other sick people...this has nothing to do with anything lofty or sublime, with anything Slavic. These people hate everything Slavic, everything Russian...they’ve brainwashed our youth with this pornography. Our youth, instead of growing, marrying, getting children and getting jobs, they degrade...here our population here hasn’t grown, but started dying out.”  The "pornography" that the official was referring to was a book of photographs that contained nude portraits.  Additionally, according to Hyperallergic, Izolyatsia also "earned the group’s ire by resisting the xenophobic nationalism that increased in Donetsk after the fall of the Soviet Union and promoting provocative international art — being an 'agent for change,' as Izolyatsia founder Luba Michailova told Hyperallergic last year."

Izolyatsia's entire space - offices, galleries, bookstore, library - was looted and is currently used as, among other things, a prison, training ground for militants, and *shudder* a place for executions.  Izolyatsia was forced to leave behind much of the art.  Most of what remained has been destroyed, in some cases used for target practice or sold for scrap metal. 

I'm still holding out for a happy ending to this.  The city was nearly obliterated during World War II but was later revitalized.  Maybe a similar renewal can happen after this latest attack.  The cycle has been destroy, rebuild, destroy...so the natural next step is to rebuild again, right?  It's just wishful thinking on my part, I suppose, but I have hope that Donetsk will reclaim its art someday.


Makeup as Muse: Hasan Kale

Via Design Crush I found these absolutely amazing teeny tiny paintings on just about any object you can think of, including, yes, makeup.  The Curator loves anything miniature so naturally I was quite smitten.  Actually, forget miniature - these are micro!  

For over 30 years, Turkish artist Hasan Kale has been creating "micro art" on a dizzying range of small objects.  His favorite subject is his native Istanbul, but occasionally he branches out with other motifs.  While I'm impressed with all of the things he perceives to be his canvas, I was especially interested in his venture into makeup and beauty.  Take a gander at this very intricate painting at the tip of a lipstick bullet.  I'm dying to know how he did this without nicking the lipstick and having the color mix in with the painting. 

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale

I think I want to hire him to do my next manicure...

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Hard to tell for sure, but this look like a cotton swab.  Again, I have no idea how he got such a precise, detailed scene onto this - I would think  the fibers would absorb the paint that's applied. 

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Here are some non-beauty-related but equally awesome pieces.  While these tiny paintings can seem like a novelty, there is serious effort involved.  Due to the miniscule size of the canvas, one wrong brushstroke can ruin the entire thing - Kale sometimes holds his breath to keep his hand steady.  And it can take up to three days to finish one of these micro paintings.  Three days doesn't seem like much, but it's actually a very long time when you consider that his canvases are only about half an inch wide.  Talk about patience!

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale
(images from instagram.com)

In this interview, Kale states the following about his work:  "These are objects from daily life that people hardly ever think about.  We don't pay much attention to them.  Through my art I want to stress how nice these things can be.  I deliberately choose difficult objects, though how small they are or how well they absorb paint is not so important.  What is important is that they come to life and bring joy to people."  That made me smile.  Also, based on his comment about absorbing paint, I'm guessing he doesn't prime trickier surfaces like lipstick or cotton swabs, making the level of detail all the more miraculous.  It seems unbelievable, so much so that the artist recorded several videos of himself at work to prove it's all done by hand.

What do you think?


Makeup as Muse follow up: May Sum's work revisited

Last week I noticed a huge spike in blog traffic - nearly 3,000 page views (or, sadly, roughly 14 times the usual amount of daily views).  Clearly the counter must be broken, I thought, there's probably some kind of glitch that's inflating the number.  As it turns out, it was actually correct as one of my posts was linked in one of those silly Buzzfeed lists so that's what was driving all the traffic.  Naturally I perused the list to see where the Makeup Museum was mentioned and saw that one of the items included was new work by May Sum.  You may remember this lipstick sculptor as being the first Makeup as Muse post I did back in 2013.  The Buzzfeed list highlighted some more recent and quite spectacular work of hers that I somehow missed, so I thought I'd talk about her latest makeup-as-art endeavor:  a collaboration with Make Up For Ever.

In the fall of 2014 Make Up For Ever celebrated their 30th anniversary by launching a new range of eye shadows that were showcased at an event at Club Lusitano in Hong Kong.  Five new eye shadow finishes were introduced in the new line and captured in a photoshoot, with each model wearing one of the finishes.  (I have to say I'm fuzzy on the details for this, as the Google translation was awful and I couldn't find any articles in English.)  In addition, May Sum created an "Artist Shadow Wonderland", an exhibition consisting of a more elaborate, forest/floral-themed take on her famous lipstick sculptures.  She also was behind the intricate flower garden sculptures that seem to sprout from the eye shadows themselves.

May Sum - floral lipstick sculptures

May Sum for Make Up For Ever

May Sum eye shadow "forest" for Makeup Forever

These objects in particular were very intriguing.  I'm not 100% sure because as I noted earlier, Google Translate made no sense, but I think the one on the far left is supposed to be a lipstick likeness of Make Up For Ever founder Dany Sanz.  I really have no idea what the others are, but they might be sculptures based on sketches by Sanz. 

May Sum - Make Up For Ever  eye shadows
(images from doublepworkshop.blogspot.com)

Be sure to check out some real-life photos here and here by people who were lucky enough to attend the event and accompanying exhibition.  The sculptures look even more amazing than they do in the stock photos.  And I liked the simple vitrines used to display the objects.  I'm also wondering what happened to the pieces she made, like if they ended up in the Make Up For Ever archives or if they were sold.

So what do you think of May Sum's latest work?  Do you like her Make Up For Ever creations more than her previous lipstick sculptures?  I think it's all amazing and I can't choose one over the other!  All I know is that the Makeup Museum is in desperate need of one of her works.


Makeup as Muse: Lancôme/Sephora contest

Via Beautezine, a few months ago I discovered that Sephora Canada was holding a nationwide contest for its makeup artists to create illustrations for Lancôme using only their products around the theme of their holiday collection, called Parisian Lights.  The winning image would adorn the packaging of three Canada Sephora-exclusive limited edition holiday sets, and the artist behind it would receive a trip to Paris.  I thought this was a great concept.  While makeup artists are accustomed to using one's face as their canvas, it's very interesting to see how their skills would translate to a traditional 2D surface. 

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme was announced in June and the 10 finalists were chosen in July.  Here are their drawings, all created with Lancôme makeup (mouse over the image to see the artists' names, where available - there were 10 finalists and now there only seem to be 8, so I don't have the names of 2 of the artists.)

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Alyssa Steinhubl, Kingsway store in Edmonton

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Ashley Creed, Upper Canada Mall

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Chrizta Tetangco, Bloor store

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Kaylyn Pshyk, Bloor store

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme: Sarah Ebisuzaki, Eaton Centre store

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Sandra Huynh, Markville store:

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme finalist

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Sharon Rodrigues, Sherway Gardens store in Toronto

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme: Whitney Herman, Mapleview Mall store
(images from beautezine.com)

While I thought some of these were really amazing, only one could be chosen as the winner.  Alyssa Steinhubl's drawing of a woman in a ball gown and gloves, hair back in a chic low chignon, gazing at a starry sky over the Eiffel Tower was the winning image.  This one was definitely one of my top three of the finalists so I was pleased with the outcome, although I'd love to know exactly which products she used.  Steinhubl's illustration appeared in 3 color variations on the Lancôme sets, which were revealed in October. 

Lancome Sephora Presents to Paris sets 2014
(image from beautezine.com)

After hearing about this contest I knew I had to get my hands on one of these sets, especially since the illustration fit so well within the holiday exhibition theme.  However, there were none available from my usual source (Ebay) and Sephora Canada won't ship to the States.  Fortunately, the husband has an old college friend who now resides in Toronto, and she very kindly agreed to pick up a set and mail it to me.  How awesome is that?!  Not only did she go out of her way to get this for me, she also refused to accept payment for the item or for mailing it, so it was truly a generous donation to the Museum.  I chose the Starry Eyes set since the blue coloring and starry title were perfect for the holiday exhibition.

Lancome Starry Eyes makeup set 2014

Lancome Starry Eyes makeup set 2014

(I didn't take pictures of the products inside, since they consisted of makeup remover, mascara and eye cream.)  Overall, I loved the idea of having a makeup artist create an illustration using cosmetics and putting it on the packaging.  I think Sephora and Lancôme should do another one of these contests in the States!

Which of the finalists was your favorite?  What do you think of the winning illustration?


Makeup as muse: Juan Sanchez Castillo

Neatorama had posted this a while back and I was immediately intrigued.  Makeup + miniatures = awesomeness.  Spanish photographer Juan Sánchez Castillo primarily works on high fashion campaigns, but a new series, Making It Up, shows a more playful side.  Making It Up combines close-ups of a model's face with miniatures to create visually appealing and whimsical vignettes, inspired by his wife's love of miniatures and his own passion for beauty photography.  He says, "My wife loves miniature figures. She used to have whole doll houses filled with little figurines and furniture. And I really love beauty and fashion photography. Whenever I find creative images of miniature figures on the internet I always have to show them to her. With our two hobbies combined, my collection of inspirational images became the beginning of this project.  I came across several creative photography projects with miniature figures placed into landscapes and photographed with female bodies. My own creative project idea was then born in my mind. I have been longing to shoot some beauty images, but make them look like landscapes and place miniature figures into them." 

Let's take a look.

Faceclimbers:

Juan-sanchez-castillo-faceclimbers

The Gardener:

Juan-sanchez-castillo-the-gardener

Painters at Work:

Juan-sanchez-castillo-painters-at-work

Painters at Work II:

Juan-sanchez-castillo-painters-at-work2

Playing in the Snow (my favorite):

Juan-sanchez-castillo-snow
(images from designboom.com)

The project took six months of planning, and they were shot all in one day.  You can read more about the painstaking process of arranging the miniatures here

I love this series because it captures the essence of what makeup application is about:  the art of understanding the contours and planes of one's face to strategically apply cosmetics, determining where the shadows and highlights should go - it's essentially thinking about faces as landscapes with their own unique topography.  Castillo's images express this concept literally in a fresh, fun way.

What do you think?  I love closeups of pretty makeup application and I love miniatures, so this was a total win for me.