Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Field Trip; "MAC Greenwich Village part deux: Drag Makeup Workshop"

When last I was introduced to the "smallest MAC store in the world" my eyes couldn't believe the clever use of negative space and a staff that was prompt to accomodate. Upon my return, I found that even in a lack of square footage, there were no lack of big ideas.

Tim Pearson is part of the MAC management at 353 Bleecker Street but has a history of drag excellence that he's opted to share with his staff. Having conquered the world of competitive drag competitions as his counterpart "Cookie Von Douche'e", Tim drew on multiple inspirations and tricks learned in the field to translate into a basic understanding of drag makeup application... using me as his model.

With a captive audience, he first discussed the evolution of drag providing images of past and present stars of the scene including nightlife staples Hedda Lettuce, Drag Race stars Nina Flowers and Bebe Zahara Benet and, of course, the original MAC girl and drag icon, RuPaul. After pointing out differing interpretations of drag, he shared revelations about repurposing found items to create drag looks and unorthodox inspirations for accessories as well as drag names. Once a course syllabus was distributed, outlining the step-by-step process, each participant watched an example of application then was asked to duplicate on one another.

The first step was covering eyebrows using, of all things, a glue stick, then creating a base all around the face using Studio Sculpt Foundation and color-correcting areas where facial hair would show through with Studio Finish Concealer and setting with Select Sheer Loose Powder.

After creating a clean base, Tim used Full Coverage White Foundation to mimic the kind of highlights that would show under stage lighting to recreate the face in a more feminine shape. After that, multiple tricks with bronzers and eyeshadows to contour cheeks, eyes and chins then the introduction of vivid colors to add warmth and vibrancy. Detailed application advice for each brush stroke was relayed to the artists with occasional check-ins to ensure consistency but always nurturing their own personal spin; where one artist would highlight lids, another would black them out completely.

Fostering an individual perspective, every artist was able to create looks that express their own interpretation within the parameters that were laid out for them. Moving about the small "classroom", he could guide each of them through tricky steps and flicks of the brush while recommending small alterations for more efficient results. After we all had a chance to check out the finished faces, no one could deny that this little shop held some pretty big talent.

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