Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Photoshop World 2013 Las Vegas: Makeup, Family, Flash Mobs and Book Deals

It's been a little over a week since my last blog post and as always when this happens... you know it's because this girl has once again been out of town and unable to blog on the spot, so instead of giving you some lame pre-written, no-heart-in-it blog post, I just refrained from it all together so I could come back and give you the real me, off the cuff as usual. Last week was my fourth year in Vegas for the Photoshop World Conference, and just as years before, it was a GREAT time... despite the smoke-filed air and low humidity that always makes my eyes water and nose run. I recall the first year I was hired as a makeup artist for this event. My client, Scott Kelby, shared with me the "KISS" inspired theme and asked me if I could do that kind of makeup. Without a hitch (and without ever doing that kind of makeup before) I said SURE, and quickly went home to research where to get that kind of product so I could order it and prove myself right!

You see, I have a Cosmetology background... and I graduated beauty school in 1991; long before "makeup schools" as we know them today existed so I did not learn makeup in a classroom as many of today's makeup artists have. In fact... there were only about 7-8 celebrity artists back then and the big "brands" were Max Factor, Maybelline and Cover Girl. Department store and independent brands were not the hype as they are today and makeup schools were predominantly California based schools geared for film and creature creations. Therefore in my day, a Cosmetology degree was the ticket to a makeup career if you lived outside of California, so that is what I chose to do. I always loved makeup and fashion and knew I wanted to make people feel good about themselves, so it seemed the right  path for me to take. I never knew what direction it would truly take me in exactly, I just knew I wanted to succeed no matter what.

After I graduated beauty school at the young age of 17, I quickly fell in love and became comfortable with cutting, coloring and styling hair. Makeup became a side note being that we did not really learn much about it beyond  face shapes, eye shapes and  how to highlight and contour. I do not even recall learning the chronological order of placing products on the skin, but I learned to apply makeup in the 80's... so I knew you used foundation first, powder, then blush; you applied a lot...and then a little more. We had foundation sponges which were typically thin, flat and rectangular used mostly for "pancake" makeup, a powder puff, a blush brush and an eye shadow pad glued to a plastic stick... THOSE were the essentials of my day. Brushes were not known by numbers, hair type or fancy names. Frankly, it seemed kind of boring, so I spent several years of my career focusing on becoming a platform artist doing hair while continuing doing makeup on the side. Then in 2002, just as I made it to "Platform Assistant", the company I worked for got bought out by L'oreal and I jumped ship. By then, the makeup industry had started to shift in my favor and I had jumped back on the wagon with very little "schooled" knowledge, lots of hands on  practical knowledge and a basic set of makeup brushes.

So... back to the initial story... (apologies...I was reliving a memorable time in my life and took you with me) Fast forward many years later to 2010, I was asked to do this "Kiss" inspired makeup on a bunch of Photoshop guys... (never saw that coming) and I said yes, and was introduced to this incredibly inspiring and creative event called Photoshop World. I was nervous the day I was called in to come create my magic on Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, Felix Nelson, and Dave Cross at the home headquarters. They were shooting their production and keynote videos for the event and I had to paint some faces; tackling something totally new for me... but I had the products I needed and the guts to give it a shot. That day... for the first time I did theatrical makeup, with products I had never used on people that had trusted in my talents for a few years already.  I successfully painted "KISS faces with "Photoshop tools" instead of the iconic stars and flames.

The feeling was amazing and I realized that not only could I do beauty and glamour makeup, which is what I had mainly done... but that I could do any kind of makeup that I wanted if I just put my mind to it; I felt like a real artist. That year I was able to attend both the Orlando and Vegas Photoshop Worlds as part of the Kelby team and I have traveled with them every year since! It has been truly amazing meeting and working with some of the best photographers in the world, and mingling with the fans... some of whom have become great friends. Every time I go it feels like a family reunion.

The highlights of this year include having my oldest daughter there as an attendee as she begins her photography and design career, being interviewed by well-known Netherlands Fashion Photographer Frank Doorhof, being a key part of Kevin Ames pre-con class, being asked by Scott to start a flash mob at the Adobe booth as a prank and having a pivotal meeting with Peach Pit about the new book I am writing for photographers. Overall Photoshop World Vegas 2013, was the best one yet.

As I close today, I want to say something that I say to you all of the time... Whatever you do, NEVER give up on your dreams. We all have circumstances, hiccups, hills, valleys and hurdles... but all of those things can be overcome with the right attitude. Always believe that you can do whatever you set your heart on, and never give up an opportunity to grow, learn and mold yourself into the best that you can be. In 1991, I had no idea where this career would lead me, there were times when people around me tried to get me to quit and get a "real" job with predictable income and normal hours, but I never gave up because there was simply too much to lose. I stuck with it, and here I am 22 years later still loving what I do. If I had listened, I can guarantee I would not be as fulfilled in my heart as I am today. I am not rich, wealthy, or financially free... but I am happy, fulfilled in my career and I never work a day in my life because I LOVE what I do for a living.

Keep those chins up and those hearts strong! Have an awesome week!

Here are some more pictures from my years at Photoshop World
The look I created for Daniel Presedo with Adobe

Me and Randy breaking it down PSW DC 2012 

                                                              Me and Daniel Presedo

                                                              Photoshop World 2012
                                                                Photoshop World  DC

                                                         Me, Corey and Joe Glyda 2012                                                                    
                                                            Me and Mike Kubeisy 2012


Me and my daughter PSW Vegas 2013
                           My work on the big screen in Frank Doorhof's Friday session 2013

                                              2013Another look for Kevin Ames' Friday Session