With a client list that includes Madonna, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Cindy Crawford, Demi Moore and Heidi Klum, Joanne Gair is an EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY big deal in the makeup and body paint world and we are so proud to have her featured here on Makeup Obsessives.
“Kiwi Jo’s” work is absolutely incredible; so incredible in fact, she’s been featured on “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” Honestly ladies and gentlemen, there’s just not enough time or space here to even touch on the amazing work Joanne has done (and yes, she did THAT body paint on Demi Moore for Vanity Fair- click here to see!) Unfortunately, we are not able to embed photos of much of the work Joanne has done in this Q&A due to copyright issues with Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair and other little companies like that (haha!) so you’ll just have to get clicking! A great place to start is Pinterest – type Joanne Gair into the search function and prepare to be amazed! Click here for a painted Heidi Klum; here for Rachel Hunter and here for Madonna.
You should also go to her website (www.joannegair.com) and just bathe in her glory – it really will blow you away! And guess what – she is the NICEST lady too – triple bonus. Joanne took over an hour out of her busy schedule to talk with me, not to mention several follow-ups and e-mails, and for that I am incredibly grateful. Joanne would love to connect with you all on Instagram too, so pop in here and check her out!
So get clicking ladies and gentleman; but in the meantime, MUO’s … meet Joanne Gair.
Joanne, thank you so much for doing this Q&A for us ... as I’ve mentioned, your work is incredible and the attention to detail is phenomenal. We hope this article will help inspire one (or more!) of our MUO’s to achieve greatness too!
The Vanity Fair body paint shoot was actually a follow up story on Demi Moore from the previous year where she was featured pregnant on the cover of the August 1991 issue. I had done the makeup for that shoot too. Annie Leibovitz, who photographed both stories, had us in Hawaii and Los Angeles for different photo sessions during 1992. Eventually, it was decided one of the shoots would be body painting. Demi and I had discussed having her painted over previous years of working together with me only doing beauty makeup on her. This was her first of many painting sessions with me.
A lot has changed since that shoot with Demi. I originally only used Aqua Colours which are water-based. The brand is called Kryolan which is a German product – it is readily available everywhere now. Aqua products can be applied with a brush; sponge or with your fingers – the work I did on Demi utilised all of these techniques. Makeup through body painting has become more of an art form and the products are numerous in choice and so sophisticated. I’m very lucky that people send me products to try all the time. I love knowing what is new on the market!
Essentially nowadays body painting is a layering process. In addition to water based products, I work with alcohol-based, latex, silicon and acrylic products, and because of this the process has become more involved. The downside is there is more to sort and carry in my kit! For Sports Illustrated I tend to start with an alcohol-based product and then layer over painting with other products as I get to achieve the look and texture I’m after. There are innate requirements for each job and I adapt the products and processes I use each time to suit.
One thing I’d like to point out for anyone getting started is that you don’t have to have all the expensive products in order to do this type of work. Essentially, if you can use a product on your face, you can use it on your body; it’s all skin and there’s no right or wrong, particularly when you are colouring in. The most important feature of a product is its ability to mix and to stay on the skin without slipping or fading. M.A.C has a wonderful aqua line both in pancake and liquid colours. They also have a colourful grease stick and a silicon-based line that you can airbrush to achieve different looks. M.A.C’s Auckland store is excellent; their staff are very helpful and knowledgeable – it’s a great place to go for someone wanting to start out in body painting and in makeup in general.
Q.2: With the massive attention to detail that is synonymous with your work, how long on average, would a full body paint take to complete?
Aaaahh – this is the question I get asked most often! It is really totally dependent on the detail involved in the job. Generally though it varies between 8 and 12 hours; 12 being more realistic as normally there is hair and makeup involved as well.
In order to estimate a time frame, I ask the following types of questions:
· How are you intending to crop the image – i.e. head and shoulders, waist up, full length etc?
· Do you expect to be able to view the full body all the way around?
· How many colours are being used, pattern, detail, etc. - all these add to the time it takes.
· Are you going to be shooting on location?
The day’s weather also has a lot to do with time frames. You also need to add at least 45 minutes if any areas of the body need to be covered with latex for privacy.
Q.3: Joanne, you’re not just a body painter (and I say “just” as a huge understatement!) you are an extremely accomplished makeup artist as well. What “new trends” have you noticed (or started!) lately that we MUO’s should be aware of? Is there a trend you think should be banned (I’m thinking something like bleached eyebrows here!)?
Bleached eyebrows! It’s not really an everyday thing you would do for the public – it’s more of an artistic expression that a MUA might use for runway or photographic magazine looks. You don’t have to go so far as to actually bleach the eyebrows; if you dip an eyebrow wand into a reasonably thick foundation and comb it through the brow, you’ve made the brow a lot more subtle and given the illusion of being bleached; it’s a quick fix. Actually, I’m not against bleached eyebrows – it makes a much bigger canvas for the eye which can be fun.
I’d rather see eyebrows bleached than plucked though; plucking inevitably damages the follicles and not only do they not always grow back; if they do, they often grow back in the wrong direction! If you’re going to pluck them, always pluck in the direction the hair is growing.
Trends – I think trends are very much seasonally dependent. In New York we are currently in summer. The other thing I would say regarding trends is that there is actually nothing new; they’re simply things that have been seen before that are being interpreted and applied in a new and different way. For example right now eyeliner is big again and has been for a while, particularly the application of the cat eye. Eyeliner has been around for years and years of course (a smoky eye with cat eye liner is the trademark for Guess for example) but it’s being interpreted in a different way on the catwalks right now; they’re playing with bold colours on the eyes; greens and blues; they’re taking the colours into areas they’ve previously not done before – up to the brow for example and others are playing with it under the eyes etc; they’re using iridescents and geometric shapes. That type of look is definitely high fashion/artistic expression rather than an everyday look – it’s about making a new statement, making a trend!
Anybody can set a trend – it’s really just using your imagination to create something that’s outside our normal use; it’s doing something different. Coming up with a new trend pushes your imagination – that’s why makeup artists are often sent new products; they’re hoping you’ll use your imagination to push the boundaries with their products. It’s fun and it’s what keeps things exciting!
Trends are also evident in the way new products are marketed now; their packaging; the hype surrounding them – it’s a way of differentiating them from the “normal” and going above and beyond.
Note from Karen: this was an extremely difficult question for Joanne to answer! She said she has her “regular old favourites” but she is constantly being exposed to new products; some of which have blown her away. These ones are ones she loves at the moment, but she did mention we could interview her again in six months time and she’d have a new list for us!
1) Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray – this is an oil-free spray. I am really impressed with this product. I know they worked hard on the dispensing mechanism. The spray nozzle is the best one I’ve ever used; it gives a really nice, even spray. It brightens and nourishes the skin. Makeup sits smoothly on top with no product rolling or any build-up happening. If I had to choose one primer to use, this would be the one I would suggest. It’s an absolute must for your kit. Skindinavia is relatively new on the market and is rapidly becoming very popular amongst makeup artists.
2) By Terry foundation – E’clat Opulence - By Terry have many foundations but this is the one I always have in my kit. It comes in a glass pot and the colour I use personally is Nude Radiance. Its creamy, silky texture can be blended out quite sheer and it can be warmed up with blushers, bronzers etc. You can also have it quite thick if you want more coverage and it can even be used as a concealer.
Most people only have one foundation. Remember you will need to alter it depending on the season and if the skin colour has changed due to tanning, etc. I don’t believe it’s really necessary for a consumer to have more than two different foundations as long as they know how to warm up the foundation they have by dusting a warmer powder or bronzer over the application where needed.
3) AMAZING Cosmetics Powderset setting powder – even though it’s white in the compact, this product is so translucent it can go on any skin tone. It’s velvety, matte and very sheer. You can apply it with a brush, however I find it works really well if you just press it into your skin with a latex sponge – use it only on the areas you need – t-zone, eyelids, forehead etc. I like the fact that it comes in a slim-line compact with a good-sized mirror as I love a good two-in-one product – this one will last you forever.
4) A good mascara – I go through gazillions of them! I’d like to make the point here that you don’t need expensive mascaras – a good mascara is really all about the wand to be honest; there are multitudes of them out there so keep playing and experimenting with different ones! Having said that, I am loving M.A.C Extended Play Gigablack mascara – the bristles on this wand are quite far apart and they coat your lashes individually without clumping. Because they don’t clump you can achieve a natural look with a single application or go for something much more dramatic by building layers. It comes in a smaller container than most mascaras which I love as I find bulky mascaras are horrible to pack in my makeup bag.
5) A great eyeliner – Rapid Black Penultimate eyeliner by M.A.C - this one is perfect for both the everyday person and for the makeup artists out there. It’s a loaded felt tip pen that gives you an almost fool-proof line that lasts a long time. I find liquid eyeliners that are applied with a brush can be problematic; the bristles inevitably get damaged and it makes it very hard to achieve a good, clean line. With M.A.C’s felt pen eyeliner you will get a very proficient line; it’s very gentle to the eye and doesn’t poke you in between your eyelashes.
6) Lipstick – I adore lipsticks – they’re an absolute must! Here’s a little trick I’ve always done with my lipstick and I find it works with almost every colour … once I’ve applied my lipstick I tap, tap, tap on my painted lip with my middle finger and then rub the excess lipstick onto my cheeks; it becomes your cream blush. It gives a complimentary, tone-on-tone warmth to your face and creates a lovely healthy glow.
When it comes to lipstick, again I don’t believe you need to spend a lot. One brand I find its consistency is good is NYX. They have an extensive colour range and are lovely and creamy in texture. I find they stay on well on the lips without becoming dry. You can always make a matte lipstick have a satin finish by simply adding a lubricant of some kind.
Q.5: Joanne, you are, and have worked with some of the greatest names in the business in terms of hair stylists, photographers and the like. Do you have any special tips or tricks you’ve learned along the way you could share with us?
I’m going to answer this from the perspective of someone wanting to get into the business of makeup artistry.
The most important tip I can give you here is to know your place in the team. The photographer and the client are the leaders.
Come prepared – do your homework and research, research, research. Don’t assume you’ve got everything in your kit just because you were successful with it on your last job. If at all possible, have a conversation with everyone involved beforehand and make sure you know what their expectations are with regard to the makeup component of the shoot.
Nails – nails are a big thing now and I see salons popping up everywhere in New Zealand. Don’t just assume nails will be done; ask! If a manicurist is going to be onsite, great; but if not, make sure you know whether you are expected to deal with nails. Hands are extremely important; particularly when you’re doing wedding shoots or beauty of any kind. If there is no manicurist on set, make sure the model comes with nails manicured/pedicured to save time. You then would need to apply the colour.
Timeframes – you need to know when the model is required to be “camera-ready” and work back from there. You are part of a team; you are not the only person. If a stylist needs to take the model away for a fitting, make sure you allow them to do that; they have often been working on their part of the shoot for weeks – you are just coming in at the end. Of course no one wants to be the last one and have to be hurried, but you all need to work in together. Often you can do your skin prep at the start and then when the model’s hair is set and off her face, that is when you can really go all out on makeup.
Photographs – it is EXTREMELY important that you don’t take photographs on set; this is very intrusive and it’s not your place to do so … that is the job of the photographer. Do not Instagram photographs or mention things on social media unless you’ve been given permission to do so; often a makeup artist won’t see photographs of their work, or even be able to talk about it, until the shoot has gone to print and this could be months. Don’t make the mistake of overstepping the boundaries on this one. I’ve seen people lose excellent opportunities and promotions through this type of poor judgement. Knowing your place is the biggest lesson to learn.
Q.6: Great makeup, and I’m sure great body painting, starts with great skin. Do you have a specific skincare line that you recommend your clients, or do you “pick and mix” your recommendations based on individual requirements?
I really mix and match products to be honest. Here are some of my current picks …
1) Le Mieux – You would be well advised to try it! I particularly like the TGS-V eye serum masks. I actually can’t believe how brilliant they are. They are absolutely magical for reducing the appearance of fine lines. The product comes in a pack of four and would be an excellent treat for a client; simply pop them on and leave them for 15 minutes minimum but preferably up to 30 minutes; bliss!
2) Le Mieux Derma Relief Serum and TGS-V booster – I find this product brilliant to mix with the Skindinavia The Make Up Primer spray I mentioned earlier. I put a drop of each on the back of my hand and apply it to the skin. It’s a water-based moisturiser and your foundation simply glides over the top.
3) Mario Badescu Skincare line – I’ve used this range myself for a long, long time. It’s not expensive and they’ve managed to keep the price point reasonable by packaging it in plastic; it’s not flash, but the product inside is wonderful. My favourites in this line are the Cucumber Cleansing Lotion and theGlycolic Eye Creams.
4) Embryolisse Body Lotion – Lait-Crème Fluid Multi-function Nourishing Moisturiser this one’s not cheap but I particularly love it. I’ve heard people refer to it as gold! It’s a light-weight body moisturiser, but you can certainly use it on the face as well. It’s not greasy and works well in humidity. Actually, this one is a really good one to use on shoots when fabrics can be problematic with getting product marks. Say for example a model was wearing a very fine silk fabric, you wouldn’t be popular with the stylist if you applied a moisturising product that left greasy marks all over the fabric! These are things makeup artists need to be aware of when working as part of a team!
5) Nivea Intensive Care Moisturiser – this is an inexpensive product that comes in a large bottle from your local drug store. It’s great for when the body needs a shiny look and you want a lovely natural glow to the skin.
6) Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray – this is an oil-free spray that is pretty new. Skindinavia currently has only two sprays. Order them both! If you can’t afford both, get the primer spray first and then save for the finishing spray. Some people set their makeup with a mist of aerosol; I find this gives a bit of a plastic feel which I don’t like. The Skindinavia spray doesn’t give you that feeling and it’s full of lovely nutrients as well!
7) Lucas Paw Paw Ointment – I’ve travelled for over thirty years and this is the product I used to bring back to the USA as gifts for everyone, however it’s readily available now. It’s an essential for a makeup artist’s kit; I always apply it on my model’s lips as part of the skin prep process and it makes lipstick application a dream. This is my gold! My sister puts it all over her face once a week and goes to bed with it, she completely believes in its skin repairing powers. The plus side is a little goes a long way and it’s not expensive.
8) Aloe Vera gel – I believe the aloe vera plant is the most underrated plant ever! The gel has almost magical properties; you can use it straight from the plant by simply scraping the gel out and applying it directly – it can be a bit sticky and has a slightly unusual smell though, so you probably wouldn’t use it on a client. This is where the Epicuren Aloe Vera Gel comes in! This is aloe vera gel in its most pure form; it doesn’t flake or roll and I use it every day – my foundation goes over the top of it. I like it because it calms the skin and tightens the pores. I also use it after I’ve cleansed my skin and before my creams. It comes with a pump dispenser.
I love perfumes and I try different ones all the time as I travel through airports on a regular basis. I must admit though that I am rather attracted to the traditional perfumes – my mother uses one by Elizabeth Arden which I love called Beautiful. I’m initially attracted to the bottles to be honest, and I mix and layer different perfumes a lot too, which is fun. Two perfumes I love are Serge Lutens 5 o’clock (Au Gingemvre) and Givenchy’s Amarige.
Q.8: Table of eight for dinner; you and seven other people (living or dead) … who would they be?
I’m homesick at the moment, so I’m going to take the easy option here and say“my family!” I’m a Kiwi girl at heart and I adore the chance to sit around the table, have hilarious conversations, laugh out loud and share memories. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I have travelled a great deal in my life but I still believe New Zealand is one of the most beautiful and special places in the world. It is an absolute pleasure for me to come home and spend time here with my beloved family.
Q.9: If there was a “makeup time capsule” to be opened by a Makeup Obsessive in 50 years time, what product would you put in it and why?
One product, one word … sunblock. Particularly for those of you in New Zealand and Australia. The one I love and use the most is the Banana Boat Ultra Defence Sheer Protect SPF50 – it’s lightweight, not greasy, inexpensive, somewhat water-resistant and full of antioxidants. The thing I love about it is that I can put it on under my foundation and I don’t have to reapply it all day. Whichever sunblock you choose, just make sure that you have the appropriate SPF!
Joanne, thanks so much for your wonderful answers – I’m sure they will inspire our MUOs to “stalk your work!” I’d like to thank you again personally – I’ve so enjoyed working with you on this Q&A; you are a true professional and a generous soul.
By Terry www.meccacosmetica.co.nz
NYX www.makeup.co.nz; www.beautybliss.co.nz
Mario Badescu www.glamourpusscosmetics.co.nz
Embryolesse www.strawberrynet.com; www.trademe.co.nz
Kryolan www.theatreshop.co.nz; www.minifies.co.nz
M.A.C www.maccosmetics.co.nz – Auckland store (there is a store-finder on the site)
Extra for experts:
(A Q&A with Joanne detailing the body painting process)