It has taken ages for me to post this up because I have been so time poor and with study, work and other life things - but here it is. A short review on my entry into the 2014 Battle of the Brushes competition at IMATS Sydney.
I wanted to blog about this because when I was searching on the net I could hardly find anything to set my nerves at ease! Hardly any other stories told by other competitors, IMATS, or anyone else! So hopefully this will help other aspiring MUA's during their Google searches in the future.
So here is my brief tale.
In February 2014 I went with a pipe dream and decided to submit my entry for the comp. I chose the Beauty/Fantasy theme which was "Art Through the Ages" (broad subject brief or what hey?). This required 8 - 10 different looks, on different face shapes and skin tones, not necessarily representing the theme, but showing versatility. I looked into my pictures... Hmmmm I had about one cool look I'd done on myself, a couple of other decent ideas (also done on myself), and about 10,000,000,000,000 selfies of utter CRAP. I was shit outta luck for pre-existing material to send to Makeup Artist Magazine.
Thankfully I had just enrolled in a Diploma of Specialist Make-up Services at CMA Training Group in the ACT. I thought this would be the chance for me to network, learn, branch out and work on different face shapes and skin types and create some really original and awesome stuff for my entry. I was correct in my assumption. Throughout the first half of 2014 I busted my ass studying, working and networking with the creative scene in Canberra, and with the help of some amazing models, photographers and hairstylists I created some stuff that I am now, and will always be really proud of.
These were a few of the final entries I had printed and posted off to Makeup Artist Magazine as my entry for the competition.
There were plenty of freak out moments leading up to the entry deadline. I wasn't sure if I was allowed to have more than one image of a look, what size the images had to be (all print and snail mail mind you, not allowed to submit digitally!) and many other factors. I'm not sure if every entrant to this competition goes through such distress, but I am cursed with perfectionism and the occasional obsessive attack!
Once the entry was done and dusted I knew I needed to start refining my ideas just in case I was selected to compete. we were notified on the second week in August, which gave us pretty much 5 weeks to nail the design and have everything ready to apply in just 2 hours on the day.
When I found out via email that I had been chosen as one of 8 out of about 40 applications I was pretty amazed. Couldn't believe it! I'd searched and searched for how applicants are notified and if there were any hints but nope! It's all secret squirrel until they email the contestants!
My design was based pretty much solely on one piece of art. An illustration by artist Norman Duenas.
You can see my original mood-board on Pinterest, here.
There were a few other inspirations - deconstructed fashion and art was a big one, and also watercolour.
My main concept was to demonstrate a picture of two outcomes of a timeline. In one the subject is rich, beautiful and flourishing with life, and in the other she is decayed, dying and finished.
I used the concept of deconstructed art and the idea from Chaos Theory of The Butterfly Effect - where the tiniest change could alter the greatest events in history. The clothing was inspired by Atelier Versace (but omg - nowhere even relatively NEAR as amazing). The hair was designed on the fly, but was loosely based on a royal appearance.
The arm and leg on the dying side were airbrushed to appear as if they were decayed/fading away, and the makeup was displaying a beautiful butterfly on the living side, and a melting one on the dying side.
Here are some trial images of the makeup:
Creating the outfit was very challenging for me. I came up with the idea of hooking tulle onto thick elastic to create a huge, full tulle skirt - which I think worked for the most part, although it was hard to control the thinly cut strips of tulle on the day, which appeared to have a mind of their own and wanted to stray over to places they didn't belong. I was constantly adjusting the outfit on the day. The mini-petti was made by my Mum, and was amazing - this was just for volume. The opaque skirt was made by me and my Mum, and generally served its purpose (to make the skirt opaque!).
The most challenging thing was the glitter tulle over skirt, with which I wanted to give the appearance of decay and damage fading into the dead half - but I feel like I failed terribly there. This all leads back to my inexperience with fabric selection, construction and sewing. All the more to learn in the future.
I used scrapbooking embellishments to attach the butterflies to the skirt - which was a much better idea than the original of sewing them on one at a time.
Here are some of my design sketches (including makeup):
And a gallery of images from the construction process of the dress:
The wig was a tricky thing. I purchased an enormous anime wig from China, which turned out to be amazing quality. It was pre-waved and was very full - perfect. After some much appreciated advice from Jeanice from Guerilla Hair, I braided out the fringe, and sewed it in, securing a butterfly to hide the end of the braid.
The fullness in the hair was created with a hell of a lot of backcombing (being careful not to create a fizzy mess with no texture) and about 5 pieces of padding - secured with white bobby pins. I used a hair chain from Lovisa to accentuate the bouffant at the back, and managed to shape the hair around the headpiece.
The headpiece was crazy hard to make. I used two cheapo headbands from the local variety store, and secured them with wire ties. I then used a strange bike/clock thing I got from Homeart - angle ground by my brother into the shape I wanted to create the clock.
I used Plastimake to create the dripping effect, and a bushy thing from Homeart for the grassy stuff - which I weaved around the clock until it was set in place..
Here are the images I remembered to take of the wig construction:
The fingernails were also custom made prior. I painted these and sponged over the colour transition. Added glitter and white dots to marry up with the detail on the makeup.
In decided in the end to use Sugarpill eyeshadows for the alive side of the makeup, highlighting them with Beautifully Addictive pigments, and Skin Illustrator inks for the melting side. Many other products were also used. I'm not sure now that I made the right product choices, but it was all a learning experience.
I pushed and pushed it up to the last minute getting everything ready, and did one last full makeup on my model on Sydney the night before the event.
On the day it was a fairly calm environment which was nice. I didn't know what to expect, but everyone was really kind and supportive - including my competitors which was a nice surprise. We all had a good time and a laugh, and I think that after so many months of preparation - we were all just damn keen to into it, get that makeup done and be finished!
On the day we were required to present a document with our description of our makeup, and how it was relative to the brief. It was hard to condense...
If you'd like to see some more pictures from the application and from the day, head over to my Facebook page Mysdesign Hair and Makeup. Here are the finished pictures of my beautiful butterfly, Nolita. She was the best and most amazing model and friend I could've wished for on the day <3
I was not EVER happy with my design. I felt that it was flawed, and way too advanced for my level of skill in construction, sewing and makeup design. It seems that my assumptions were not too off the mark - according to some of the judges scores. I wish they had left me some written feedback - but honestly I feel like I agree with their opinions.
In summary, I feel so privileged to have been given the chance to participate in such a prestigious event in my industry, and to show people what I can do. Even with my limited and still-developing skill-set.
I feel like I learnt so much about design, even though it didn't feel like it at the time, and that over-thinking things is one of my greatest downfalls. It will take a lot of effort to overcome that hurdle - but at least I am now aware of it.
I feel like the most important lessons I should take out of the whole experience are:
In short - if you are a makeup student and you're wondering if you have the chops to go for this competition, stop wondering and GO FOR IT! I'm so glad I did!
Thanks for reading my IMATS story, I hope you enjoyed it! Mysdesign signing off for now xxoo