Lizzie Sharp - The Art of Beauty
Melbourne based Visual Artist/ Make up and Special Effects Artist Lizzie Sharp gives us her insights on defining beauty and the art of seamlessly fusing creative disciplines.
1. Tell us how you got into the Make up artistry industry?
I was 16 years old when I was accepted into the Art & Technology of makeup College (3 Arts Makeup Centre), reputed to be the foremost school of its kind at the time for Film/TV Special FX makeup. I can thank my bro for planting the seed when he brought home a brochure for the school a year earlier, knowing this was a dream career I had since we were kids.
At the same time I was accepted into the school, I received a scholarship to KVB in Sydney for Photography, but chose 3 Arts.
My pursuit of photography and painting / fine art came later. First photography at Tafe, then painting at Canberra Art School A.N.U – Visual Art’s Degree
These steps I believe were the foundation to allowing me to take the leap and open my own Business offering Make-up and Special FX services.
My first shop & studio for several years was in the Industrial Estate in Byron Bay.
2.What drives you to go beyond the commercial realm of your profession and into more conceptual work?
First and foremost, I am a Visual Artist, and this is the starting point for any creative work I do, whether its Painting, Make Up, Special FX, Film & TV, Theatre, Photography, etc.
Really the way I see it is, as a Visual artist I am using makeup as my medium, and as a makeup artist I am exploring concepts and techniques that are challenging makeup.
I’m driven by the buzz I get from not only seeing the finished product, but also the journey to get there, which often involves developing new techniques and pushing those boundaries.
3. What is something people should know about your profession?
Like everything, it’s not for everyone. Speaking from my own personal experience it all depends what sector of the industry you want to enter Eg, TV Film, Theatre, High Fashion, Weddings, Retail, Training etc
If you’re entering any of the different sectors of our industry for the glamour, know it’s a hard graft and mostly un-glamourous!
We at times work for free like any artist. Hard long hours! There are always people who complain about the sweat and tears we put in for long hours and no money working on projects. I explain to them and even myself sometimes, that you just need to look at past visual artists and how their careers unfolded. Nothing’s easy. The simple key is not quitting and market yourself wisely to where you see yourself fitting.
It’s a saturated market, like all creative markets these days.
In short, the road to (financial) success is sort of like a long rollercoaster.
4. What is something in your kit you cannot live without?
Body paint & prosthetic adhesive.
5. Do you have favorite part of a face?
Orbital Bone - I love a wild exotic bone structure to work on.
6. Tell us what beauty means to you?
For my Visual Arts Degree, I studied ‘What is Beauty?' Shit! What an amazing subject to delve into... beauty to me is a magical sublime emotion that conjures up when you connect visually to your (beautiful) subject matter (model).
7. What do you do when you aren’t working?
Spending time with family, however, being workaholics ourselves, ironically we are often caught still working.
My current personal projects are - writing a book about makeup on eyes, and preparing to launch my first make up product in 2014
I’m also getting ready to film two stories I have written for my films.
8. Can you describe your style or signature make up look for us?
The ability to deliver truly transformative character or artistic out of kit looks for clients to the point where they are often un-recognizable; even when my work is relatively minor, but with such attention to detail it’s hard to determine what’s changed (e.g., blocking brows).
9.What do you love most about what you do?
It’s a way of life for me, and the journey is long with an abundance of new experiences.
The work is varied and changes and sometimes at short notice, so you can sometimes find yourself in the position where you don’t know what work is around the corner, with whom, what emotions and what learning’s will be gained.
Personally I love how this level of uncertainty fuels my adrenalin, often bringing the best out of me.
10.What places and things inspire you?
Things: Colour, light, textures, spiritual experiences, people’s energy, sacred geometry, old worlds and other dimensions.
Places: Our beautiful planet and all the wonderful places it has to offer. Since infancy I saw the world, living in Australia, America, England, Asia, & Slovenia recently. Those worldly experiences, observing the range of social conditioning, inspire me to explore more within my artwork.
11.If you could do anyone’s make up who would it be and why?
Bjork and Matthew Barney. These two are in my eyes brilliant artists. They are a true example of what you get when you collaborate /cross-pollinate art forms to deliver something magical.
12.What advice would you give to up and coming make up artists?
Follow your dreams. Your opinion is the only one that matters. So if you don’t believe in yourself ....start
13.You also are an apprentice tattoo artist tell us more about how you got into this?
As a teacher of Make-up here in Melbourne one of the subjects I teach is actually Tattooing with Make-up. It was naturally my next destiny to follow something I have wanted to do for many years, and I finally took the leap.
I am a big believer of sacred arts, and so to ornate someone with my art in this way is a privilege.
My partner Si being Samoan has been amazing & supported my dream. His father had the pe’a traditional tattoo, this being more reason to follow this path.
Si and myself believe giving someone something special like a tattoo and making that special design permanent for them is an honor not to be abused.
14.How does tattooing fit in with your make up artistry?
Using highlight and shade you create your “mark”, a skill transferrable across the disciplines. Indeed there are many parallels with the two art forms.
Personally I feel I am becoming a better make-up artist by keeping up my drawing and painting skills for tattooing.
15.Where do you see both these areas in your life growing?
Shooting for the stars & beyond.
I’ve been a make-up artist since 1996, however (coming back to the very first question) the turning point for me has only been in the last few years where I’ve made a conscious decision to make my art through make-up. I can’t wait to see what I create in the coming years!
By Maria Maung