Makeup: The Art of Transformation Professional makeup – or greasepaint – is a real art of transformation. This is not just the usual makeup for the dinner. This is what allows men to play women roles and vice versa, to transform the thin into the thick, a young actor – into an old one, to change the person’s face and body beyond recognition. Sometimes to such an extent that you may not notice the trick until you see the titles. This is what takes you to another epoch without words. This is what can be discussed for hours. This is what has been awarded with “Oscar” for a long time already.
About the intricacies of working with greasepaint, we have talked with Hanna Chervinskaya, a professional makeup artist of various TV channels (1+1, New Cannel, STB), production studios (Radioaktive Film, Electric Sheep Film, 120 Seconds Productions, AdShot Creative etc.) and fashion magazines (Lashmaker Magazine, Pink, Enviable Brides, Gothic Amazing Magazine).
For the actor good makeup is as important as acting itself. Historically things have developed the way that we make first impression non-verbally, and only then our image is complete by what we say and how. This is an unbreakable rule for television programs, short films and feature films as well. The makeup artist’s work means a lot, as greasepaint is a complex element of an image and it stays in spectators’ memory for long. That is why I always read the screenplay carefully and ask many questions about the character because I want every makeup detail to help the actor express this or that state, get used to the role quicker. This is not only a big industry – this is the whole world developing so actively that it is almost impossible to keep up with all novelties. New tools and materials appear every day.
For me as for the artist the most interesting starts with makeup materials for special effects – various means for changing skin volume and texture, pastes and silicones. Also the substances, which look in frame like sweat, unshaven skin, blood and dirt. All these tools for creating the effect of fresh wounds, burns, abrasions and scars. I love to work on the set with opportunity of “spreading” imagination.
The process of changing the face and body is very laborious. To achieve the desirable effect it is not always enough to use makeup paints. In such cases, I turn to prosthetic makeup – special pads and stickers made via complex but very interesting technology.
Before this, I make a cast of the actor’s face or the needed body part and the sculpture is created after a pre-designed sketch. The FX prosthesis is produced from silicones, latex foam and prosthetic gelatin that allows the actor to express all his gestures to the full during the acting. Application and taking such makeup off may require several hours.
“City of Suicides” – a film written and directed by Stas Kapralov where I plunged into the world of prosthetic makeup and special effects. The film tells a story about a whole city, where people “live” after committing suicide.
This is a very interesting mystic story, which carries a deep philosophical message that we should never despair and give up because everything can be changed while we are alive. It was extremely responsible as it depended on my work whether the viewer would feel the pain and sufferings of the characters through their images. There is not much time for explanations in a short film, we should make contact with viewers from the first minutes.
The film got into the program of such international festivals as New York Long Island FF, Toronto IFF, Palm Springs ISF and Manhattan SFF. This year I was also given a wonderful opportunity to participate in shooting the ad video »Shadow of War» for Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment. I was lucky to work on the set with amazing prosthetic makeup artists from Holland, whose work you may observe in “The Lord of the Rings”. In result of almost round-the-clock work, our team of makeup artists transformed the English stuntmen into real orcs. The shooting took place in Ukraine in Kamianets-Podilskyi and literally flew in one go despite the harsh February weather. For me it was marvelous experience where I got plenty of pleasure and inspiration.
When I create images, I dive into work completely and the rest of the world stops existing for some time – there is only me and the object of my creation. You are always short of time on the set, and it stimulates your finding new solutions to create makeup faster but to get wow-effect anyway. This, from my point of view, is the whole essence of creativity: I often get tasks that look very hard to carry out but during the working process, I find solutions, which help to do everything planned and even a bit more.