Makeup Artist Showcase: Nay Denise of TBG Artistry / by Erin Baynham

Our showcase of artists continues! Let's meet Shawn of TBG Artistry!


How Did you Get Started Doing Makeup?

I started doing makeup back in 2009 during my freshman year of college. I was never the type of girl to care for makeup throughout my high school days because I did not like how many of the girls would apply it. I remember browsing through the internet and I actually came across two videos, your blending video and a video by Leina. I really got into watching both videos so I began subscribing to multiple channels and began to really sit and watch these videos for HOURS as if it were my own private makeup class. During that time I started going to the drugstores and purchasing makeup and brushes and really learning each tip and trick by practicing on myself and my roommate. On April 28th, 2010 I got my first gig doing a photo-shoot for a girl I met through model-mayhem and from then on it was history. Now I do makeup for fashion shows, photo-shoots, brides, special events and much more.
Did you go to makeup school? Was this a benefit to you? If so, how?
No, I'm actually completely self-taught. I've never been to a makeup school or even a workshop due to funds, so I read tons of makeup books, magazines, runway shows and just learn from them as well as trail and error. I do plan on going though in either 2012 or 2013.
Did you work at any makeup counters? Was this a benefit to you?
No I have not as of yet, but hopefully one day I will.
Do you do bridal work?
Yes I do bridal work and I absolutely love it! The joy of seeing a bride along with the groom is something that I live for.
Rates! This is the question people ask about most. How do you deal?
When I first started out back in 2009 and 2010 my rates were well below the average because I was trying to get myself known and out there, but now my rates are a little “even” to other MUA’s in my area. The average rate for an event that includes one person (makeover, lesson, shopping spree, special occasion, photo-shoot, etc) is about $50 per look which includes the basics of makeup and extras such as jewels, lashes, feathers or whatever else they request. Bridal rates are on average $250 -- on average, but of course I have package deals which changes the price on all the services I offer.
People always have crazy stories about doing makeup in the worst places! Where's the most unfitting place you've worked?
The most unfitting place I've worked at is a small car full of six people. I had to do makeup on 3 models in a small car at night and the lighting was by far the worst ever. It was hot in the car, the models were changing, getting their hair done, makeup done -- it was definitely unbelievable, but I got through it.
What are the things you wish you knew before becoming an MUA?
I wish I knew that my kit would never be complete as a makeup artist no matter how far in the industry I get. There's always something new you need, something a client will request or something you ran out of and need to get back-ups of. I also wish I knew that spending my money on high-end products wouldn't “make” me as a makeup artist. I've come across a ton of people that look at my kit and laugh, but when they see the final results they are just surprised and in love with the work. I believe that a product doesn't make the artist, the techniques and skills do and I learned that from a few amazing artists; Kevyn Aucoin, Pat McGrath, Troy Jensen and a few others.
How do you keep your makeup skills fresh?
I apply makeup everyday whether it's just lipstick and liner, lashes and blushes or I make tutorials. I read my makeup books that I have in my mini library, I apply makeup to my roommate and friends and I continuously watch YouTube videos. There’s not one day that goes by that I’m not reading up on makeup techniques, tips and tricks or applying makeup.
How do you market yourself?
I first started using Facebook as a means to get myself out there until I found out about Model Mayhem which got me a lot of my jobs or gigs and still does. Now I use a combination of Facebook, Model Mayhem, Tumblr and YouTube to get myself out there. I still make myself known at underground industry events, get known through word-of-mouth and email different people in the industry from time to time to always be ahead and have my foot at the door in case of opportunity arising.
How did you go about creating your kit? Did you go for pricey and drugstore items? How long did it take you? Did you over-purchase? Do you have things there that you rarely use? What do you use to carry your makeup?
Creating my kit was a drag at first...I started to create my kit using a combination of drugstore items and middle-end brands. I found that buying palettes was easier for me to have a bunch of eye-shadows and blushes instead of having a ton of singles and duos. It took me about 8 months to obtain a “full” working kit that I could use for a shoot. I did find myself over-purchasing products at times which had me stuck with too much makeup and no where to really put it all, but I always managed to find a “home” for the extras. One thing I can proudly say is that everything in my kit I’ve used at every job or gig I’ve done. As far as high-end items, I haven’t really gotten into them as of yet because even though I am a freelance makeup artist I am also a fulltime college student with no “steady” job so I do struggle with getting the pricey items. I do however plan to purchase a bundle package from Graftobian and do a little splurging at Sephora and possibly MAC sometime soon. I carry my makeup in a Pro Rolling Pink Croc Makeup Case from Yazmo, but it’s been a year and it’s starting to break down on me so I’m thinking of getting a Zuca or just getting the Tas Merah Soft Sided Rolling Makeup Case from Yazmo.
Do you have a professional portfolio? Has this helped you?
Yes, I do have a professional portfolio – both online and a book (that’s still in the building process). It has helped me out tenfold in getting more clients and work because I get contacted a lot after people go to my website and check out my work that I’ve done for shows and shoots. When I go to casting calls having my book is always helpful because I’m never too sure if the casting directors would have immediate access to a computer or laptop to view my online portfolio or electronic press kit, so to be on the safe side I always take my portfolio book with me.
Do you have any makeup artist role models? If so, who?
I definitely have a few makeup artist role models! The late Kevyn Aucoin for one is my main role model. His work is simply amazing, he uses less for more and he’s not afraid to use his hands and get “down and dirty.” I’ve learned so much from watching his old videos and reading all of his books. People often compare the way I do my work to him and I always love to credit him as my inspiration. Another role model is Pat McGrath because she isn’t afraid to take risk and go all out. I absolutely love her work on and off the runway. Sam Fine is another role model; he knows how to accentuate a women of color. He loves neutrals, but plays with colors in the slightest way that changes a look from okay to outstanding. Iman is another role model – after reading her book I just fell in love with her techniques and seeing the work she has done for Eve and a few other celebrities. Another role model is Troy Jensen; his work with Kim Kardashian and Mary J. Blige is more than outstanding...There are a ton of makeup artists I can list, but there just wouldn’t be enough space.
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