I find inspiration everywhere. Usually I get ideas from music which leaves things wide open for me when it comes to creating a makeup. Sometimes I am inspired by the artwork of others though which can be fun when paying homage without out recreating it exactly. I can’t remember who posted it on Instagram but it was a cool line drawing on a pretty but creepy girl. The color pallet was limited and it looked like maybe they used water colors and the for the lines ink. I am a fan of creepy girls and limited pallets so I had to check out more of this artists work. Believe it or not but for a long time I fought against embracing the spookier side of beauty make for fear it would alienate. That said I have recently felt I have been watering my work down to be more palatable, and didn’t realize in doing so I may have been watering myself down.
The artist that caught my eye is Justin O’Neal (http://justinonealart.com/ - @justinonealart ) and before I knew it I had scrolled through all of his work. His art is amazing, macabre, simple and has an eerie beauty. They scream Halloween and horror but in an almost story book way. I came across two of his pieces that stood out to me because they were a different color pallet than the rest. Like me, I see O’Neal use a lot of black and red but in these two pieces he used Black and Orange. When I saw them I knew I wanted to translate them somehow into makeups.
The first photographer I thought of was Tate Chmielewski. Tate is a great photographer and like me has a love for all things creepy so I knew he would be the guy. In both drawings the subjects appear to be brunette to black hair. I didn’t want to copy the artwork exactly and I wanted to bring in more of that orange feel. Ali Garey is a model I have wanted to work with for a while. She has such a unique face and jawline. With her fiery red hair I knew she’d be perfect. I hadn’t seen her ever do anything spooky in her portfolio so I thought for sure she would turn this project down. I thought I would go ahead and ask and at least give her the opportunity to say “no”. I guess it was more a case that she had never been asked to do anything ghoulish before because she agreed without hesitation.
For the second model I wanted to stick closer to the art and have a dark haired model. With her strong features I knew Blessing Selby would be great. I have worked with Blessing before and knew she’d be game for weird stuff and her facial features were perfect. Blessing is also just awesome to work with and have in studio.
I do a lot of makeup shoots where we are only shooting head and bare shoulders. After casting the models and thinking I had everything in place I was working on another photo shoot with photographer Steve Squall and the amazing model Lauren Hughes. We were also working with stylist, Tia Kinser and the idea struck me. Tia and I get along well and have a lot of the same taste. It struck me that it may be good to have a stylist on this shoot. At first Tia didn’t think there was enough for her to style on a beauty shoot. That said by the end of the shoot we were working on she was already showing me ideas which were perfect. She picked up on the vibe immediately as I knew she would.
We decided to do two looks on both models with the first being the more subdued version. Basically I would be doing alternating Orange/Black eyes with the opposite color on the lips. Tia had this awesome Wednesday Adams style dress with Planchette and Black Cat pins she had put on the collar for Ali to wear. With the Orange shadow on Ali’s eye her natural blue eyes popped.
For Blessing’s first look Tia had this really cool pentagram bra top for blessing to wear which looked so fitting and cool on her. I did a heavy, sharp black shadowed eye lined in the same orange I had used on her lips. With Ali in the Wednesday dress looking like a Witch from “Sabrina” and Blessing in the Pentagram it looked like she was the demon that Ali was summoning which played perfectly into the second looks.
For the second look we wanted to really push things a bit. For the piece that inspired Blessing’s look the girl’s head is severed and is dripping with orange blood. I didn’t want to do a severed head but still wanted that feel so I dripped the orange down her throat. Not in this drawing but in several of O’Neal’s pieces the foreheads appear painted which I thought would look cool with the inverted cross and the flames raising from the eyes. To mimic the eyes Primal ( https://us.primalcontactlenses.com/ ) had sent me a pair of their Jurassic II-903 lenses. They looked really red in the packaging but once we got them in her eyes they were the perfect shade of orange. Since I dripped paint down her neck Tia couldn’t really put her in any clothes or anything. Inspired by the drawing Tia did bring these awesome pair of horns that she had gotten at a renaissance fair.
Ali’s second look wasn’t as out there as Blessings but it still left us some room to play. Tia actually made this amazing bat wing collar for her to wear. After I added a heavy orange blush on her cheeks and the tip of her nose I topped all of the orange with a tangerine Ben Nye Lumiere powder. This gave all of the orange a nice luminescence. I then drew an X on one cheek and little bats to elevate the look a bit. To really make her look like the drawing Primal sent us their Subzero – 933 Lenses. It was a shame covering up her beautiful blue eyes but the lenses looked so cool and her eyes almost seemed to glow. The lenses really helped complete the look.
I am so happy with the way these images turned out. Tate killed it as I knew he would. I know I say it every time but I am so lucky to be able to work with such talented people. It still blows me away that I am able to work with people at their level and that they were all my first choices. I think we were able to do our own think and still maintain the ideas that the original artwork was trying to convey. I hope that Justin O’Neal sees these and loves them as much as we do. If you like these go to his Etsy and buy a print!
"I think being able to inspire other artists, even if they don’t necessarily work in the same medium, is one of the most rewarding things about doing artwork." -Artist, Justin ONeal