artists I admire: Kevyn Aucoin

26 Jan

I owned Kevyn’s books, Face Forward and Making Faces, years ago, when I was back in Australia and first becoming obsessed with makeup.  I’d taught myself a lot from practice, trial and error, and reading magazines.  But I was at a stage when I was acutely aware of how much I didn’t know, and I was hungry for more technical knowledge and inspiration.

I can’t remember how I first came across the name Kevyn Aucoin.  Probably at the library.  I would have read every makeup book they had, but I couldn’t tell you now about any of the others.  Kevyn’s were all I needed at the time, and there was a lot I liked about those books.  His philosophy and attitude to life, not just to makeup, came across as incredibly positive, inclusive, open-minded and altogether exciting.  He seemed to see the value and beauty in everyone and everything, and his books generously share all he knows.

These two books have so much in them; incredible transformations, technical tips and tricks that are so well illustrated and explained.  Even though I read these books years ago, so much from their pages has stayed with me.  I remember Kevyn writing something about running a mile if you’re hearing the words “always” and “never” being used in a beauty-facist kind of way.  I like the idea that absolutely anything goes, and being open to all of it will teach you how to do things you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.  Even if something is a mistake or doesn’t work the way you want it to, in another scenario it’s just the look you’re going for.

gweneth as james dean

Hell’s bells, he’s only gone and made Gweneth Paltrow look exactly like James Dean.  Nice work, Kev.  That picture first appeared in FaceForward (published in 2000 by Little, Brown & Co.) – does it further blow your mind to know that it took him 15 minutes to create that portrait?

Like me, Kevyn was completely self-taught, and unlike me he was seriously amazing at what he did.  Now I’m at the stage where I’m looking seriously at gaining a qualification, because once again I’m feeling like there’s so much I don’t know I don’t know.  Seriously.

Oh Kevyn, not a day goes by without me putting eyeliner underneath my top lash line, thanks to you.  Try it for yourself; once you get used to it, it’ll revolutionise mascara for you.

I also highly recommend getting on Amazon where you can pick these books up for a song, second hand.  Even though I have copies of them back home in Australia I justified buying them again the other day because they were only a few bucks each.  And I’m falling in love all over again.  As Gena Rowlands says in the foreword of Making Faces (published 1997 by Little, Brown & Co.)…

“There are so many things in the world that you have to face that aren’t so pleasant, that being able to learning something and have a little fun and feel better about yourself, all in the time it takes to get from one page to the next, is a special and wonderful combination.”

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One Response to “artists I admire: Kevyn Aucoin”

  1. hörsam May 31, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

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