makeup monday: tribute + transformation

The recent death of creative legend and pop-culture icon David Bowie has sparked a beautiful wave of fan art inspired by his body of work and his persona. His impact across several decades of prolific artistic endeavors has no doubt been a catalyst for growth and transformation in people all over the world.

I was fortunate enough to be part of one such collaborative tribute with a small, talented team of Austin-based artists last week, each of whom have been influenced in both work and life by David Bowie, and I am so stoked to show off what we’ve created in the star’s honor.

Photographer Naomi Loghry of Loghry Photography shot the images and coordinated the session. Model, actress, cosplayer, and all-around artistic whirlwind Jennifer Lynn Larsen (Mayhem’s Muse) was the subject. I provided makeup and assisted with hair styling to help bring the looks to life. Our vision was to recreate a few of actress Tilda Swinton’s many Bowie-inspired portraits.

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“For this project,” says model Jen Larsen, “I drew inspiration and mood from one of this generations GREATEST muses-David Bowie himself. A gentleman who knew intimately that act is only limited by our perception, and believed that we should always make statements which help those around us feel more comfortable in their own skins. No matter gender, sexuality, or station in life, art and music speak to us all. All are obtainable.”

Of course, Bowie was well known as a chameleon who regularly reinvented himself. This means there are a plethora of options for style and direction, but I think this one is a perfect fit for Larsen’s physical look, as well as her personal philosophies.

Jen goes on to explain, “This collaboration is done in the style of Tilda Swinton and her iconic tribute to Bowie. She has an amazing ability to transform herself from concept to concept, which is an ability I have always attempted to manifest in my work. It is her chameleon-Esque ability to blend into her setting which drew her to Bowie, and in turn inspired me to reach inside for a more powerful, androgynous self.

It is when we throw caution and boundaries to the wind that we discover our true potential. When we look deep inside and let go of pre-conceived notions and limitations, we are free to be exactly who we dream. We will always dream. We will always Strive for the Highest.”

I think we totally captured that power with this photo set, don’t you?

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When asked about her overall motivation for the collaboration, Jen told me the following: “It has always been important to me to have artistic freedom. To be able to work with people who have beautiful creative freedom, and to trust each other enough to let their muses fly free. Creating art that makes people feel inspired and empowered has always been one of my highest ambitions as a creator.”

Loghry, our masterful photographer, is also thrilled with the outcome. “This was such an inspiring session and I couldn’t be happier with the results! The makeup and hair; Jen’s amazing posing, all resulted in 100% success in creating Tilda and Bowie’s lovechild character.”

I agree completely!

To achieve the bright blues in two of the makeup looks, I used Kat Von D’s Synth eyeshadow, blended with Skulls and Lyric, all from the Mi Vida Loca palette. For the third, darker look, I transitioned to a smokier eye by smudging Dark Wave on the upper eyelid just above the lash line, and blending with Hyperballad, both from the same eyeshadow palette.

We kept Jen’s skin and lips pale, and used concealer to minimize her eyebrow color in a couple of the looks.

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All wardrobe came from the model’s personal collection.

While we’re certainly not alone in our sadness over the loss of this incredibly talented human being, it’s amazing to see the outpouring of residual art being made, and it’s healing to take part in some of that as a participant. I hope you love these photos as much as we do!

“So I turned myself to face me but I’ve never caught a glimpse of how the others must see the faker… Turn and face the strange. Don’t want to be a richer man. Just gonna have to be a different man.” -David Bowie, “Changes”



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