MEET CELEBRITY MAKEUP ARTIST ANTHONY GORDON!
One of my objectives is to allow everyday women to get to know the real working makeup artists of the world.
The makeup artists I am featuring on our feature “Beauty up Close” are the true working makeup artists of our industry.
Most of these makeup artists you will meet don’t have millions of followers or corporate sponsors, but they should. What they do have is some of the most beautiful talent on the face of the planet.
I am super honored to have our first guest be someone who I have known personally for the last year. His name is Anthony Gordon, also known as “The Makeup Man.” And he is SUPER yanked.
I knew his passion for life was deep. From the love of his partner Roger, that I had the honor to meet a few months later (and whom he cares for with such a warm heart) to his passion of his art and raising the bar in the beauty industry.
Anthony truly loves his work and it shows in EVERYTHING he does. Even this interview to a brand new beauty mag. I am proud to call him a friend and colleague. He is humble. He is real. He isn’t the least bit arrogant. But he is confident in his work. And that is something to love in an artist.
I hope you enjoy our interview together.
CELEBRITY MAKEUP ARTIST/ LOS ANGELES
S: Have you always been a makeup artist? Did you have another career(s) before doing makeup full time?
A: I started doing makeup and hair around 1980. I left high school in the 10th grade, got my GED and went to cosmetology school. It’s pretty much all I’ve done or wanted to do.
I did have a short stint as a dancer on a TV show called MV3 but my real love has always been behind the camera and creating transformations.
S: Holy shit! You were a stint dancer! I need photos NOW!
A: NEVER. LOL!
S: Fine. But I did find this on your Facebook page. I friggin’ LOVE this. HA!
A: Oh. God. LOL!
S: When did you discover that you could earn an actual living as a makeup artist?
A: I always knew it was possible to make a living doing what I love, I always believed if you love what you do for a living , you’ll make it.
S: What do you struggle with as a makeup artist in terms of your actual craft? Brows? Skin? Lips?
A: It’s not one feature that I ever struggle with, it’s all the choices, and most importantly learning to edit myself. I think this is where most artists have problems, making the strongest choices and learning to edit themselves.
I see a lot of work that is, for a lack of a better word, overworked. I feel that most of my strongest bodies of works- I’ve exercised a lot of restraint.
S: So in other words, you may not be using all of the colors in your eyeshadow palette in one fell swoop! LOL!
S: What technique do you think you do well as an artist?
A: Technique really depends on the desired outcome of the job and what its for. I think I’m pretty well rounded as I work in so many different areas in makeup, film, print, runway, red carpet, you name it. I’ve been working long enough and have worked with so many different people. I have a lot of experience to pull from.
I know early in my career, I was really known for my skin work in print and in film. I had a great reputation as a character artist
S: When you decide to approach a face, what things do you take into consideration before you ever lift a brush?
A: Generally I’m thinking about the job, the client , and the finished result….. I try to picture what I’m going for before ever lifting a brush , then I’m thinking about what is the best way to get where I want to be.
I always try to leave room for it to happen organically as well, meaning as I’m creating “The Look ” I can switch gears to get the strongest choice.
S: So in other words, you really think a lot before you pick up a brush, and you listen.
THE BUSINESS OF BEAUTY
S: Do you like the business side of beauty? What are your struggles?
A: I don’t really consider myself a business man , but I do know my value as an artist .
I have an agent that’s handles most of my business.
I think my personal struggles are people who undervalue our work and what we do, especially with all these makeup schools pumping out tons of artists every month who will always underbid jobs because they don’t know any better.
S: So who is your agent?
S: How do you get most of your paying jobs?
A: I get most of my jobs by word of mouth, your reputation is the best marketing tool.
S: What do you do to market yourself?
A: I keep my work up to date and valid by testing. Yes. I still test. I am never too good to NOT test. It’s also a time I can try something interesting. I test with photographers I feel will add value to my book and always “test up” when I can.
The other thing I do is post my works on social networks to show people I’m current.
Probably the MOST important thing I do every month at the beginning of the month, I check in with my directors, photographers and celebrity clients to see if they have any hold dates for the month. As a courtesy, I give them first shot at booking me. This way I stay ” On Their Radar ” so even if they don’t have any jobs at that moment, if something comes up I’ll be first on their mind to book. It’s all about staying on people’s radar!!!!!!!
S: Dude. That’s really fucking brilliant. It’s old school but it’s effective. As technically connected as we are, we forget about the old fashion marketing practice of “pounding the pavement.” I wonder if anyone under the age of 30 even understands that terminology? HA!
A: Keep it simple and work hard.
S: What do you think of the beauty industry today as you see it on social media?
S: So I take it you don’t watch the “Beauty Influencers” on Youtube? LOL
A: It frightens me. I see so many “FAKE-UP “ artists, giving bad advice or thinking because they have a kaboodle of makeup they can do makeup on themselves and that they are pros……it takes years and years of experience to really learn this craft and continued education.
A: NO!!!!!!!! Youtube scares me. It’s like anyone with a video camera and a box of makeup are doing youtube videos.
S: What is the one piece of art you have really been proud of?
S: What kind of work do you find you get booked for the most
A: I do tons of commercials. But this last year I’ve been doing a lot of red carpet work and film.
S: What are some of the important etiquette’s to follow when on the set of a movie or production?
A: Great question !!!!!!!
You are no more important that anyone else on set . Everyone has their job and everyone has to do their job. If you fuck up or production suffers it can cost thousands of dollars to the project. And if it’s your fuck up, you may never work again! HA!
Another thing I think is important is to keep your personal life to yourself. The makeup trailer is known to be a “sanctuary.” I try to keep the trailer a safe, calming place for the talent. They need to relax and get into their zone. Your skills keep the job but your personality and temperament will have them calling you back.
S: How do you set your prices as a makeup artist?
A: Depending on the job , depends on the rate.
I position myself and my rates with the top artists in the top pay tiers, and negotiate from there .
I always remember something my friend Mary Erickson at Camera Ready Cosmeticstold me, “yes people fly economy, but first class always sells out!”
I want to work in first class. Your rates represent who you are as an artist. I don’t ever want to be the known as the “Budget Artist.”
S: Dude. Mary is a smart lady! Pure poetry and pure #truth. So what’s the method to your madness?
A: I actually over bid jobs and negotiate jobs to their best rate within their budget. People will think your only worth what you charge regardless how great a job you do . This has been proven to me over and over again.
S: They always say you are as good as your last gig. Do you find yourself looking back on a shoot or job and saying “WTF” was I thinking? Or are you generally pretty happy with the way things turned out?
A: I’m hyper critical of my work. I always look at all my work and think, could I have made a stronger choice?
I’m so picky, but I find its rare that I’m not really happy with my choices. Even if I have decided in hindsight that maybe if I did something different, it would be something stronger. I just chalk it up for experience.
I’ve never had anyone leave my chair unhappy and I think its because I always really care about EVERY job , no matter how big or small.
S: I can honestly say I believe that about you Anthony. You have the most incredible work ethic. That’s the best marketing tool on the planet. When you do a makeup today, do you love everything you do?
A: Pretty much I love everything I do HAHA!
Of course their are jobs where the client wants something I don’t personally care for, but if they are happy and got the results they are looking for, I’m happy.
I do try to offer my experience and expertise on what may look better but ultimately its not always my choice. Some clients want what they want regardless, this is where you have to let go of your ego, it’s about them and not you.
S: It’s those types of experiences that happen to the best of us. But without those experiences, we never get our asses handed to us and learn the hard lessons. Dude, that sucks
A: It was a hard lesson to learn, that’s for sure.
I could have handled the conversion way better, so I chalk it up as experience, live and learn, but that was a costly lesson .
S: Ok so you have had one or two fuck up’s here and there, who doesn’t. Overall you are wildly successful. Why do you think your clients trust you?
A: I think my clients trust me because I genuinly care about each and every job, I dont take any of this for granted, every jobs a gift, I think that really translates. And I return phone calls, show up on time and I think I’m fun to work with.
I could have handled the conversion way better, so I chalk it up as experience, live and learn, but that was a costly lesson .
S: I would say without a doubt, YES you are absolutely a JOY to work with.
A: Thanks! :)
TRENDS & PRODUCTS
S: I remember when you and I were having breakfast when we first met, you said something that made me laugh hysterically. It had to do with “trends” and if makeup artist follow trends. Can you share with our readers? It was too hilarious NOT to share…
A: LOL! I do remember that conversation.
We were talking about if the top tier of makeup artists were having secret meetings behind closed doors, deciding what the trends for the season would be …….That’s just not what’s happening! LOL! ( There are no secrect beauty sessions happening with all of the various top artists ! Everyone has their take! )
S: Where do you think cosmetic companies have failed in the last several years?
A: Every line is lacking in one area or another. For example, they may have a GREAT foundation but then the shadows suck. Or lip sticks feel crummy.
I’d love to see a line be excellent to the point where I can have the choice of just using a single line. Some companies are close but still waiting on “the one”.
Where do you think cosmetic companies have succeeded in the last several year
A: In reaching out to pro artists. I’m very happy to see the gap between makeup lines and pro artists becoming increasingly easier to get products.
S: When it comes to having things in your kit, is your kit fully stocked and full of all types of things? Or do you find yourself mixing and creating concoctions of lotions and potions to get the job done, in order to save space in your kit?
A: I have an over abundance of makeup, my problem is always deciding which to pack. I try to work from pallettes as much as possible to have range and save space (and my makeup hauling arm LOL!).
S: Speaking of kit, I am always looking for the perfect “Mary Poppin’s” bag as my friend Vivian likes to say. I’m not a fan of Zucca bags, not because they aren’t fabulous, they don’t work with my “workflow” or style.
What do you use as your makeup kit? Do you have more than one?
A: I don’t really work out of a makeup box anymore, I bring a suitcase usually. I like to build small kits and fill the suitcase with them.
I have EVERY BOX probably ever made but in my evolution as an artist, I find working from a makeup box ineffective. Building kits and a suitcase works best for me now.
S: If you could give one no bullshit piece of advice to everyday women what would it be?
S: If you could give one no bullshit piece of advice to aspiring makeup artists what would it be?
A: I believe that one should choose becoming a makeup artist because that’s what one has to do in order to be happy ! There are easier ways to get a steady paycheck! Don’t decide to become a makeup artist because you think it’s glamorous. While it’s fun most days, it’s still work.
S: So, my precious boy….What are you working on in 2014? Do you have anything exciting coming up for 2015?
A: I department headed a horror film called OUIJA which releases around halloween 2014. I also worked on director Paul Thomas Anderson's film ” Inherent Vice” which comes out in 2015. I also worked on a TV series called “Hit the Floor ” which was an incredible experience creating the looks for the dancers.
S: Come on, tell me, did you bust out your “stint moves” on the dance floor with them? I bet you put them all to shame. LOL!
A: I’ll never tell.
Love you Anthony. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to support our new magazine.