M.A.C stands for Make-up Art Cosmetics and last Tuesday, I knew why. It was the first time I assisted to a live body painting exhibit and can I just say how impressive it was! Starting by the fact that putting makeup on is an art in itself, M.A.C artists showed another extent of makeup artistry through body painting. Visual Art. Live paintings on alive canvas. A confluence of theatre, fashion, beauty and believe me, if some models didn’t wink, I’d swear they were sculptures. I wanted to know more, so I met Romero Jennings – a senior Artist at M.A.C who is based in New York and who came to Montreal especially for the show. On his portfolio, we can find celebrity clients such as Daphne Guinness, Dita Von Teese, David Schwimmer (Ross in friends) and many editorials for numerous magazines.
Fati Zed: Thank you for your time ! What’s your story with Body Painting?
Romero Jennings: I Love beauty makeup but also interesting makeup where it’s innovative, creative and out of the ordinary. When you work for M.A.C cosmetics, they will always push you to do different types of makeup and one of them is body painting. It’s not a type of make-up I learned at the beginning of my career, but M.A.C challenged me to learn how to do it. Few years later, each time I do it, I learn something new. The most important part in all of this now is the products, because they have the ingredients that model right there can sit hours, with no-air conditionning, he is eating lunch but the make-up doesn’t crack. It’s acrylic paint that we sell in M.A.C PRO Shop. Incredible what it does!
F.Z: What’s the process exactly ? I guess you used an airbrush ?
R.J: Before, yes, we’d use an airbrush gun. But today the technology of the products improved so well, it’s very easy to apply. So what we did, we prepped the skin with a primer and applied the paint with a regular brush directly on the skin. It took me 2 hours to do the arms, neck and face of a model.
F.Z : How do you think visual art and beauty make-up get along together ?
R.J: It’s interesting because I feel now both worlds cross each others – Just like it comes hand in hand with music and fashion. They are all a form of expression that becomes more powerful when they are put together. In Fashion for example – which is a form of visual art, we do so many fashion weeks in Paris, New york and Milan. So when we come back, we know what the trends are because we know what the designers are making, what the colors are… so with the fashion industry, we create a palette that complements the collections and this is when I feel make-up and art becomes one.
F.Z: How do you think this show reflects the M.A.C Fall collection?
R.J: Well, you noticed for example the bright blue painting on the model right there, so you know there is a huge colors trend that’s happening for this season. We just saw Paris collection for Men and it was all about these neon suits and shoes. So not only, I think colors will be important for Fall 2012 but also for Spring 2013. I actually love colors, I find women who wear bright colors stand out of the crowd. Also, we’re going to mix colorful shades with metallic and neutral because we still want sparkles, and something shiny.
F.Z: So you’ve been working for M.A.C 21 years now, how did you witness the evolution of the brand ?
R.J: So incredible to see how it evolved. It was a small company but every year, it grew bigger and bigger. I feel so proud that after 21 years working with this company, I can wake up every day, be motivated and feel that I am doing a good job. M.A.C is innovative. There is always a new product I can work with and this makes me more in love with my job. I live and work in New york. But wherever I travel, I see how the company is loved and how people appreciate the products, the pigments, the lasting power. It also makes me proud to see how M.A.C adjusted their products to their worldwide diversified clientage, they suit the need of their clients.
F.Z: What would be the top 3 M.A.C must-products a fashionista has to have on her make-up bag?
R.J: I love this question, I am so ready! I already know what it’s going to be !
1- Prep + Prime Skin Refined Zone:. It’s a prime product that comes in a tube so you can keep it in your pocket. If your skin gets very oily troughout the day or your skin is textured, this is something you can put under or on the top of your make-up. It completely mats the face down. I use it all the time for celebrity clients because they get photographed a lot on the red carpets or in the parties, so I try to make their skin look as matt as possible.
2- The second is a New cleanser from M.A.C: the lightful cleanser. I was just tweeting about this yesterday. I was so happy to find one here because it’s sold out on M.A.C’s in NYC. Most amazing face wash! It’s a bit soapy but it makes the face look clean with a bit of tightness.
3- False Lash Mascara! Astonishing ! It comes with a new formula that has the carbon black in it. the blackest black you can have. I love using it backstage on models, it always made their eyes look ravishing whether they are black or white. It works on every skin tone and shows up on the lightest girl and the darkest girl.
And I’ll also add another product to try which is Prep + Prime Press Powder. It’s a translucid white powder and any skin tone can wear it. You can wear as much you want, it doesn’t build up and it lasts very long. It’s a good powder to keep on your bag. It also comes with a mirror. You can powder, powder, powder … it never gets tick.
F.Z: A-ma-zing! Thank you so much for the suggestions, I got a last question before letting you go! How did you find Montreal?
R.J : I have to tell you – I came here a couple of times but this times, I fell in love! Montreal is incredible, there is a life in this city. I think if I can have a house here and commute to new york for my work everyday, I’ll do it. I am happy because we find less of places for tourists.. For example, yesterday I ate at Alexandre et fils. The food was great, the french decor was amazing. And look at this place where we are right now ( café des Eclusiers), see how beautiful it is. Just near the water and very industrial. Great people, great setting, great drinks, I am happy we did this here.
All Photo Credit : Dominic Lafond