Ever tried to emulate the signature beauty looks of Beyoncé, Karlie Kloss, or Naomi Campbell and thought, “Wait! I need professional help!”? Well, here’s your chance, young scholars. Sir John, the dynamo makeup artist who works with all of the above (as well as Serena Williams, Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, and Margot Robbie), will be teaching a master class during New York Fashion Week and tickets are on sale now.
In announcing the event, Sir John says he wants to give aspiring makeup artists and everyday women some insight into the transformational power of beauty. So on Sept. 14, he will introduce the Sir John Beauty Gallery, an interactive seminar with videos demonstrating his many techniques, as well as “virtual makeup mirrors,” artworks inspired by his work, and, naturally, beauty lessons.
Anyone who has encountered Sir John in his meteoric rise in the industry (he’s a brand ambassador for L’Oreal Paris, no less) knows that in addition to being a great artist, he is also one of the most inspiring and engaging people to talk to. Tickets to his seminar range from $250 to $400, and the numbers are limited, but to give a little preview for everyone, I asked him to respond to a few questions about his life lessons:
Why did you decide to create this class for makeup techniques?
If you're a woman doing your makeup every day, at some point it can become a mundane experience. If you're a young makeup artist, there is so much information to sift through. I would like to provide the everyday woman and the young beauty professional an experience that provides an orthodox view of how to approach beauty and all that it can encompass. The beauty gallery brings in some of my biggest influences from the art world and shows how the two worlds are intertwined. For example, seeing a master painter approach the canvas the same way you or I would approach a winged liner or a wash of color on the cheeks run parallel to each other. To my knowledge, this is the only event aligning beauty insiders (and soccer moms!) with art enthusiasts for a shared source of inspiration.
What inspires you every day?
The everyday woman. For example, I met a cancer survivor who, by teaching her how to properly line her eyes, regained the confidence that transformed her to her former self, full of vitality and vigor. These are the moments that are career defining and make it all worth it.
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made, and how did you learn from it?
Missing a flight to the Grammys this year, LOL. I'll never miss another flight again!
What is the power of beauty?
Beauty ultimately is an optical illusion, whether you're putting on mascara or contouring your cheekbones. Since the beginning of civilization, women have used cosmetics and beauty to cast a spell onto the onlooker. Ultimately, the inner confidence it gives you is what proves most powerful.
What’s a tip you’ve learned from creating makeup designs for specific needs of celebrities (performing on stage, being photographed, etc) that can be applied to everyday life for anyone?
Cooler matte shades are best to sculpt or contour the bone structure. These tones seem to absorb light and slim down unflattering features. Strobing is a great way to increase brilliance into the complexion. However, keep shimmery products away from the center of the face, as it appears oily and unkempt. Stay away from SPF foundations and moisturizers when you’re being photographed. The titanium dioxide flashes back at the camera and makes skin appear white.
What’s the best piece of advice you received when you were beginning your career, and what is one piece of advice you would pass on to students who are dreaming of becoming makeup artists today?
The best advice Charlotte Tilbury once gave me backstage at Etro in Milan was “Don’t try to fit in or dim your light.” Typically, assistants are supposed to be seen and not heard, so I thought, if I’m not going to be heard, I’m going to be the most intuitive, diligent, and impactful person in the background, making myself indispensable to not only the artist I’m assisting, but to the entire room.