Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Artist Series with Jon Hennessey

How have you kept your career growing in a challenging economy?The economy is fine. Line's that weren't struggling before, aren't struggling now. Lines that were, are dying off or scrambling. This is prime time for emerging businesses to stake their claim in an industry that's looking for alternatives and fresh perspectives. At present, "sure bets" are losing their hold on the business, leaving opportunities for new competitive talent. Take advantage of that opportunity to create a presence.

What three traits does a great makeup artist need to have?
humility, focus, perseverance

What makes a good assistant?
pay attention, anticipate, respect

Is there a project you have worked on that you are especially proud of?
i'm proud of every project that I work on, it's profile doesn't matter.

What are you working on today?
as always, I'm working on angles to promote the business of "Jon Hennessey-Makeup Artist" and NOBASURA Artist that order.

How did you get started in makeup?
a talented girlfriend, an article on Stephane Marais in Vogue, the introduction to M.A.C as a creative entity prior to it taking over the cosmetics industry....these things together I owe a great deal to.

Why did you start your makeup line?
This line is in existence because the demand was there, first and foremost. Artists and clients have been soliciting my advice in regards to narrowing the focus when it comes to the selection of product. Every individual has a unique identity and creative's time to explore and define it....and when necessary, assist in it's evolution.

What is the biggest mistake a makeup artist can make?
Confidence and arrogance lay together in the same bed. Don't wake up on the wrong side of that bed.

How did you know that you wanted to be a makeup artist?
I initiated a career in this industry when i was 19 years old. I liked the idea of working behind the scenes in the entertainment and visual communication industries because I was too shy to be in front of the camera...and to be honest, I needed to hustle to generate a revenue stream to support myself rather than patiently working toward an end-game.
As far as being a makeup artist is concerned, it came from watching a 17 year old girl (when I was 19) painting her face in a way that blew my mind....technical and transformative...I owe a lot to Stacey Thomas.

What does "community" mean to you?
Community is about acknowledging that none of us do this alone. This is not an isolated experience, it's a collaborative one. Big business or independent, we need each other to survive and to drive the industry forward. As independents, we need each other to share knowledge, create game plans and define the future of the industry.

Can you tell us about a change you have made in your career?
Every day is a change in my career. As artists unless we continue to evolve, we run the risk of becoming irrelevant. Embrace change.

Is it important to do both hair and makeup in the industry?
No. Ask Pat to do a finger wave. Ask Guido to create a smoky eye. As artists we need to have a perspective and opinion on the overall visual. If as a make up artist, you can't provide an opinion on styling or hair, you're not doing your job. Focus, specialize, raise the caliber of the work, but keep your eyes on the big picture.
The "recession" is a great opportunity for clients to try to package both disciplines into one rate, but as we all know, each is an unique art form. Painting and Sculpture are individual mediums.
Having said that, as a makeup artist, I'm capable of creating a few beautiful hairstyles, but I have too much respect for friends that are accomplished hairstylists to call myself one.
There's a small part of me that says "the more tools that you have in your arsenal, the more marketable you become" and then there's the majority of me. Diversification = Dilution

Jon Hennessey will be teaching hands on workshops Sunday Feb 28th and Monday March 1st at The Makeup Show LA. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit
Considered to be one of the “industry’s best”, Jon's 15-year make up career is a globe-spanning trek and a who’s-who in the worlds of Fashion, Entertainment and Advertising. His work can be found on the pages of ELLE, A4, VOGUE HOMME, IN STYLE, MAXIM, NYLON and countless others, and he continues to travel between NY, MILAN and PARIS to add to his already extensive list of runway show credits. Jon’s work has appeared on red carpets from CANNES to THE ACADEMY AWARDS working with clients that include LILY ALLEN, ALICIA KEYS, INXS, KIM CATRALL, CYNTHIA NIXON, JULIA ORMOND and MARCIA GAY HARDEN to name a few. Jon is also the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Nobasura Agency and one of the most respected educators in the Makeup Industry.

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