Wednesday, April 10, 2013

VAL GARLAND: M.A.C. Cosmetics Masterclass Sydney by Thom Kerr and Becca Gilmartin

Last week on Thursday evening the 4th of April, M.A.C. Cosmetics brought in iconic makeup artist and creative director Val Garland to facilitate a Masterclass to select media and M.A.C Pro members. As Black Australian editor in Sydney I was lucky enough to attend the event alongside some of my industry peers. As a photographer it was a fascinating process to hear how these concepts and beauty approaches are brought to life. That said, I asked top Sydney makeup artist Becca Gilmartin, who is just as well known for her body art as her beauty, to write a piece about the event as I think it's appropriate to learn about the night from a makeup artist's perspective.

Val Garland addresses the audience

Val Garland’s visionary makeup work has graced covers of publications such as Dazed & Confused, i-D and Visionaire. She has worked internationally with Mario Testino, Nick Knight, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen… let’s just say there would be no makeup artist in the world who hasn’t been inspired by Val’s work. On April 4th, Val Garland indulged an audience in Sydney to a Master Class thanks to M.A.C. cosmetics. 

Live screens allow the audience to see the magic unfolding
“Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary” one of Val’s quotes lights up the big screen as myself and date for the evening, photographer extraordinaire Thom Kerr, enter the packed room. A makeup buddy of mine, Amelia Axton and I discuss what the next quote “Playing it safe can cause a lot of damage in the long run” actually means to us.

The lights fade and we are swept into the world of Val Garland - a runway collection of Val’s makeup designs from W Magazine, British Vogue, Jeremy Scott, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Lady Gaga. The stage is then reset with chairs and models prepped with half complete faces …and so begins our delicious time with Val Garland.

Val certainly didn’t bring ‘ordinary’ to her Master Class. Her warm and open presence filled the stage as she demonstrated five looks from shows from past high profile shows. There were some ‘how to’s… however, as we were all absorbed in Val’s honest and entertaining stories, I knew this was a master class that was going to make a contribution not only for new ways of using a brush and product… but of what’s possible as a makeup artist. Val spoke of her career to date, how she was responsible for Lady Gaga’s  prosthetic makeup design and what designers such as Vivienne Westwood are like to work with. The love Val has for her work and the industry was palpable. The ease and grace of her brush strokes was inspiring and as a makeup artist, I was left with the feeling of being validated in my own aspirations. Val is a master who also possesses deep respect for her fellow artists.

The finished result of Val's demonstration - PHOTO: SONNY VANDEVELDE
 Witnessing Val Garland at work made a lasting impression on me, and I dare say the whole room. I was left with the acknowledgement that being bonkers is useful, and the exploration of what beauty is to each person, creatively or not, is a worthy way to spend a career.
You can follow Becca Gilmartin on Instagram @beccagilmartin if you'd like to see more pictures from the evening.