So it’s Halloween yet again. I hate Halloween. Yep you read that correctly. In fact I have never particularly liked Halloween, even as a kid. I do not have a problem with the holiday itself, or with other people celebrating, that’s not where I’m coming from at all. I’m just saying that Tania does not like Halloween. I do not like horror, I do not like macabre, I do not like being scared, and I’m indifferent about dressing up. All of my social media streams drive me insane as my fellow makeup artists posts photos of zombies and mummies and all other manner of Yucky McYuck that I don’t want to see. Every year I have to scroll quick and brace myself for what I might see for a good solid month, and every year I cannot WAIT for Halloween to Just. Be. Over.*
This all pretty much rules me out of the Halloween spirit, doesn’t it? LOL! At this point you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Wow. That’s really strange for a makeup artist to not love Halloween and dressing up.” Yes it probably is. And that brings me to the point of this edition of biz talk: staying true as an artist.
Here’s the thing; I don’t care if every other makeup artist in the universe loves Halloween and they all look forward to it every year. In fact it feels like that’s the case. That said I feel absolutely no pressure whatsoever to participate in Halloween, and I have declined any and all Halloween makeup requests and I have done so for years. I don’t like it, I’m not doing it. Period.
That pretty much sums up the way I approach every facet of my makeup artistry these days. In order to be a makeup artist and not just a makeup applier or the like, my makeup has to come from within me. And if I am trying to do something that is not authentic to my aesthetic – a.k.a. if I’m trying to do something I don’t really like – then it’s never going to be an authentic representation of myself as an artist. As we know I also teach makeup and whenever I start with a new group I always ask them what do they want to do. More often than not I will get some kind of non-committal “Oh, I’m not sure” or “I love everything”.
That’s like folks who say they like “all kinds” of music. No they don’t. No one likes “everything”. Further – and maybe this is just me – but I wanted to get into makeup because I LOVE MAKEUP. And I could tell anyone exactly what I loved about it, what got me excited, and what I hoped to do in a career. When people say “I’m not sure” or “I love everything”, where’s the passion, where’s the excitement, where’s the fire? I’ll tell you where: The passion, excitement, and fire are all buried underneath fears, manifesting themselves in people doing what they think they OUGHT to do vs. pursuing what it is they really WANT to do. Case in point, when I first started my career, Los Angeles being the Film/FX town that it is, I got shuffled into doing film even though that was not at all what I loved or what got me excited about makeup. After attending University, I was told I should go to makeup school in order to pursue a career in makeup. So that’s what I did, studying film makeup with emphasis on character and FX makeup. Short version: Hated. It. With the fire of 10,000 suns. I. Hated. It. And when I started doing indie films and trying to get the ball rolling on a career I hated it so badly that I quit doing makeup altogether. Had I not been introduced to the print/photography creative community in Los Angeles I would never have stayed a makeup artist. Once I got my foot in the door with makeup for photography, there was no stopping me whatsoever. THIS is the world I wanted to be a part of! THIS is the world I dreamed of!!
Deep down inside you know what lights you up. When you close your eyes you know what kinds of projects are exciting to you. This does not mean you cannot like or do other things: If you like FX you can still do a runway show, etc. What I am saying is if you do dream of FX (or High Fashion, or Stage or what have you), all the Bridal in the world is not going to quench that thirst. And it does not matter if every other makeup artist you know does Bridal. YOU do not have to do Bridal, if you do not want to. Conversely, if you were the one who grew up coveting all the Bridal mags you could get your hands on and working within the Bridal industry is your dream, go for it! Building a successful bridal business is an art and skill unto itself. If media makeup is not what you’re trying to do, don’t feel pressured to do it.
I have always been a proponent of the belief that your personality will guide you to the aspect of the ‘biz that’s right for you. Over the years that of course may – and likely will – change, but generally speaking you cannot go wrong by letting your artistic passion be your guide. I’m not given to much new-agey speak but when I found my proper zone it really does seem as though things fell in place… I won’t say easily, but they fell into place organically. My career has progressed naturally AND I’ve been happy overall in my career and my artistry. No sugar skulls (actually called Calavera, and actually having nothing to do with Halloween but that’s a story for another time), Zombies or fake Roy Lichtenstein faces required.
*Now that I’m an According to Hoyle, official, certified, grown-up, I really enjoy giving candy out to kids.
© 2014 – 2015, Tania. All rights reserved.