I’ve always considered make-up artistry to be a true art form.
I’ve also always considered make-up to be a living art form, because it evolves with the fashions, times and tastes of culture, and spawns its own trends, reflecting the culture back onto itself via a multi-billion dollar industry. Hence the current social media/viral popularity of make-up vloggers and YouTubers with millions of subscribers inking equally big sponsorship deals. But true make-up artistry transcends digital media fads.
This was confirmed to me recently twofold: upon meeting Alfie Boe sans Jean Valjean/LesMis make-up/wardrobe post-performance, as he so gloriously embodies and personifies Jean Valjean in voice and “in costume”, and by observing the great Joe Dulude create Wicked’s Elphaba for an attentive audience at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Artistic Producer, Evan Leslie, moderated a conversation with Joe as he transformed actress Eden Espinosa during this inspired and inspiring “Make Me Elphaba” event…
Joe’s credits, creations and portfolio are as formidable as the characters he’s created. He has 1990’s MAC pedigree which made me like him all the more (Viva Glam lipstick forever, baby!) and he couldn’t have been more generous toward the topic at hand, sharing personal/professional anecdotes, taking questions from the audience (WHILE he applied!) and also with his time afterward chatting, allowing photos–and selfies!
To that point, Evan gave the audience a great, spontaneous moment of levity (in other words, a really funny moment of great comic timing) when he took his own phone out for a selfie with Joe after being made up by Joe improvisationally based upon audience prompts of a “bird-like, from-the-future, 50’s era” character. Voilà!
And Eden graciously posed with Acacia for a fun Elphaba selfie…
As I listened to Joe speak and describe his process and his experiences, I was so grateful to hear him emphasize the value of research toward his art form, as I often champion the concept of research in art, especially with our collective references currently in great flux. I once had a Media Studies student tell me the Kardashians “invented the smoky eye” during a unit on Advertising, to which I replied, “Google Max Factor”.
Traveling to this event with 10 young performing artists ages 12-13 in tow, as a special event for my daughter and her friends, I fainted on the train when one of our group was inadvertently left behind at the train station due to a Special-and-Unknown-Train-Construction-Schedule. She made it to the event and so did I, thankfully. Today, I had the pleasure of seeing Evan Leslie in person again as I returned to the library to tour an exhibition for my photography research. I shared the missed train and fainting spell stories with him. He wittily assessed that “a little drama” attended to us as we attended “Make Me Elphaba”. For sure. And when I slumped into the only empty seat on the train, which was luckily below me, three very lovely, concerned women en route to ComicCon immediately responded, one of whom handed me her own water bottle and then offered me a literally “Life-Saving” mint. When I was revived, we started to chat and it turns out, she’s a fellow Vassar “sista”. Drama?! Yep! And no better person to Victorian swoon near!
Carolyn NOT fainting as the driver helps everyone board a Sprinter for our Lincoln Center/Grand Central round trip—the heart peace-sign template is to obscure a fellow traveler looking back at me worried that I was about to again!
Eden Espinosa, Acacia & Joe Dulude photo by B. McDonough
Joe Dulude & Eden/Elphaba photo by A. McDonough
Joe Dulude & Evan Leslie photo by A. McDonough
Driver & Carolyn photo by B. McDonough