Friday, May 23, 2008

9 Questions with Jon Hennessey

When you were a young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think for a lot of kids, there tend to be leanings toward “hero” jobs…firefighters, policemen/women, I wanted to be a baker. I have a 4 year old son who wants to be a T. Rex, but he’s more likely to be IN T. Rex. He’s a creative little boy.

How did that transpose into makeup artistry?
My motivation for wanting to be a baker was that I really liked cakes and I wanted to eat a lot of them. It’s tricky to draw that connection to makeup artistry. I still like cakes and now I can afford to buy them from nicer places.

What are the things about working in makeup that you love?
Even on the most simple, straightforward projects, there is a way to approach the creative process in a different way.
I travel for work.
My clients often become friends.
I make a living as a painter.
I’m fortunate enough to be able to share my experience with other artists.
I learn something new every day.
My job is to participate in the creation of beautiful and/or thought provoking images.
The answers to this question could be pages long. I love what I do for a living.

What are the challenges you face working as a freelance artist?
Any time that you place the word “freelance” in front of anything, the potential is there for your anxiety level to rise exponentially. There is a popular misconception relating to and glamorization of the title “makeup artist”, but I suppose “makeup artist, promoter, marketer, accountant, cold caller, researcher, teacher-student” is a bit too long for a business card. I’ve met a lot of talented artists who didn’t know the first thing about marketing their businesses, or even see it as a necessity and ultimately wonder why things haven’t evolved for them professionally. ART&COMMERCE said it best….with the whole art and commerce thing. This also applies to when you’re represented by an agency. The relationship with your agent should work as a partnership, with both parties working actively to promote the business. Just because you’re rep’d doesn’t mean that you put your feet up and wait for the phone to ring. It’s a nice thought though.

Do you have a signature style?
I think so, but I often think that it’s easier for someone else to identify what that is. It’s easier to see in a visual than to write about, but generally, I lean toward something that’s very simple in appearance even if it takes me 2 hours to arrive at it. I approach each job with ideas, not plans.

Do you have a project that you’ve done that you are especially proud of?
Hands down, the project that I’m most proud of is NOBASURA. In January of this year, I opened NOBASURA Artist Management Inc. in order to be able to bring together the most talented group of individuals that I could find. We rep a small group of artists working in the categories of hair, makeup, styling and photography and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have all of these friends and collaborators in my life. NOBASURA is a tree with deep roots and long branches, we officially rep 8, but have a flow team and network of hundreds.

How do you continue to grow your career as an artist?
If you always consider yourself a student, then you never plateau.

What should someone who is looking to develop a career in makeup know before getting into the business?
Art is the hardest way to make an easy living.

Jon Hennessey is a Vancouver based makeup artist, the owner of Nobasura agenc, ywas profiled in the Winter 2008 issue of On Makeup Magazine, a special guest artist at Evolution Spring 2008, workshop presenter at The Makeup Show NYC and will be a featured presenter at the soon to be announced The Artist Summit program produced by The Powder Group.

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