ILLAMASQUA CATCH UP WITH EXPRESS YOURSELF STUDENT COMPETITION WINNER KEZIAH SAUNDERS, AKA @ARTBEAUTYCHAOS, AS SHE TALKS TO US ABOUT FINDING INSPIRATION, TAKING THE PERFECT INSTAGRAM SELFIE AND HER FAVOURITE ILLAMASQUA PRODUCTS.
What inspired you to study make-up?
I first became really interested in makeup around halfway through college when I was studying fine art. I was doing a project on how makeup can be used as an art form and suddenly thought ‘hey, I could do this!’. I experimented a bit and absolutely fell in love with makeup and knew it was something I’d like to learn more about.
Where do you find inspiration for the looks you create?
Everywhere! I really enjoy looking through drawers and cupboards in my house searching for random objects that could inspire a look. I got the idea for one of my favourite looks when I was tidying my room, found some bubble wrap, and decided to see what it’d look like wrapped around my head. It’s usually something pretty spontaneous like that!
Who do you admire at the moment in the beauty/make-up industry? Which makeup influencers do you follow?
The first makeup artist I really admired, and still look up to now, is Pat McGrath. I discovered her work when I was in college and became kind of obsessed with how creative it was. She was the first artist to inspire me to really think outside of the box with my makeup. More recently, I’ve been inspired by lots of amazing artists on Instagram – some of my favourites at the minute are @kimberleymargarita_ , @rtist_ as well as @the_wigs_and_makeup_manager. I’m constantly finding new artists though and couldn’t possibly list them all!
Do you have any advice for aspiring make-up artists?
Yes! Keep trying no matter how you feel it’s going at the minute. Even if you’re in a bit of a creative rut or feeling down because of criticism, it’s important to not let this get in the way of what you want to achieve. Use it as motivation to improve and show yourself and others how good you really are. Make sure you keep creating what you enjoy though, rather than force yourself to make what you think others will like. If it’s not fun you’re doing it wrong.
How do you take the perfect make-up picture for Instagram?
I don’t know loads about the photography side of it, but I found that my photos got a lot better as soon as I started thinking more about the lighting – I used to use natural light, which was great, but now I have a ring light which I love because it means I can do a look at 2am if I feel like it. As for how I model for my photos, I’ve figured out a couple of poses that show off most makeup looks well, and I usually use those, but I also really enjoy experimenting with poses and doing something a bit different. Sometimes I’ll have an idea in my head for a story or character to go with the makeup look, and I try to portray those in my photos.
Who would you love to collaborate with to create a make-up look?
I guess in an ideal world, I’d love to have the chance to collaborate with any of the artists I mentioned earlier, but they’re all quite a bit more successful than me so that probably won’t happen! One day though, I’d like to be as good as them and maybe even work with them.
How long does it take you to complete your more creative looks?
Usually about 2-3 hours, but if I’m making something like a crown or headpiece that can take longer. The most time I’ve ever spent on a look is about 5 hours when I made a headpiece out of those glow in the dark stars people used to stick on their walls – it was the most difficult look I’ve ever done, but also one of the most fun!
What is your favourite look you have created?
Definitely the one I did for the Express Yourself competition; that one holds a special place in my heart. I’d spent about a month trying to come up with a look I thought was perfect for it but wasn’t completely happy with anything I created. So I decided I’d really go all out for my next look. I had so much fun experimenting with it and not thinking too hard about what I was doing. It was the most fun I’d ever had doing a look and I ended up with something I loved and thought really represented me as an artist.
What was your first makeup item you remember using/ever bought?
Ooh, I have a story about this! The first products I bought were the MUA Matte Foundation and the Barry M 3 in 1 mascara. They weren’t anything too special, but I was about 13 at the time and all my friends had already started wearing makeup, so I was really excited to start too. I got up an hour early for school the next morning, applied it as well as I knew how to, and hurried off. When I got to school though, one of my friends told me I looked orange, so I got back in my mum’s car and cried whilst taking it off. Later that day, my mum surprised me by taking me to one of those in-store makeovers at The Body Shop. They taught me lots of tips and I bought a basic makeup kit and from then on it kind of just spiralled out of control. I still used the mascara for a while too – I remember it being pretty good!
What’s one thing you would change about the beauty industry?
I’d love for more people to see makeup as an art form rather than just something to use to look prettier. I see lots of companies focusing on people’s insecurities to sell products and I think this gives off the wrong idea of what makeup is. I don’t think there’s any difference between a makeup artist buying an eyeshadow palette and a painter buying a set of paints. Social media is really helping to change what people think of makeup though, and I’m glad that more brands are coming out with more unique products.
At Illamasqua we see beauty in everyone & everything, celebrating individuality, diversity & self-expression. How does this resonate with you?
I definitely agree with this! One of my favourite things about the makeup community is how diverse and accepting of everyone it is. I also agree that beauty can be found in lots of places, and it’s always interesting when I see a look that may not be conventionally ‘pretty’, but has a lot of emotion and obviously means a lot to the artist. For me, makeup has always been about self-expression, a way to explain my thoughts when I can’t find the words, and I love seeing the endless ways other people can express themselves with it too.
What are your favourite Illamasqua products?
The Beyond Powder in Dynasty is probably one of my favourite products full stop. I love using it along with a really warm contour colour to give an amazing golden glow. I also love mixing the sealing gel with other products to make custom eyeliners, and Hydra Veil Primer and Skin Base Foundation 05 are my go-to combo to create the perfect skin.
If you could talk to everyone in the world for 5 minutes, what would you say?
Eek, thats a lot of people and I’m not very good at public speaking! If I could though, I’d want to encourage everyone to do what makes them happy and not waste too much time on things they don’t enjoy. I think a lot of people have things about their lives they’d change if they could and I’d want to let them know it’s possible as long as they choose to work towards what they want themselves. I’d also love to tell everyone to chill out a bit and try to understand each other rather than hating each other based on their differences.
If you could choose to have a superpower for the day, which power would you choose?
I mean, I can basically already shapeshift. I wouldn’t want that as a power though as I enjoy the process of doing my makeup too much! I think I’d want the power to grant immortality to myself and anyone else I wanted, assuming it’d last after the day’s up. Then I’d never run out of time to do all the things I want to do, and I’d still have time to figure out how to do all the other things I could have done if I’d had a different power!
What is one thing you love about being you?
It’s fun! I think having fun and being happy is important for everyone and I try to make everything I do as fun as possible, whether it’s makeup or something completely different! I’m always coming up with new ideas for stuff I want to create or things I want to do. I suppose it can make me a bit disorganised at times but I think it’s more exciting that way. That’s where the word ‘Chaos’ in my username came from!
Thank you so much to Keziah for speaking to us! Follow Keziah on Instagram at @artbeautychaos