I was struck by the preponderance of self-proclaimed YouTube and Instagram makeup “gurus” at the International Makeup Trade Show this weekend. While I certainly have no problem with anyone achieving a following for their work (heck, that’s the point of being an artist), I do think that there should be actual work BEHIND any following. Slapping on makeup by the pound and calling yourself a makeup God is pretty incredible, especially when you’ve never done the work professionally. It’s insulting to the many hundreds of artists that attend these shows and actually know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about. I saw one clown who posed for shots, was followed by a sycophantic entourage (!), and generally behaved like they were the most important person on Earth. About ten feet away, multiple Academy Award-winner Ve Neill sat, ready to sign magazines at the IMATS booth. She was hardly inundated with the same kind of crowd that this “Mac Daffy” (or whatever he calls himself) was---and that’s horrific to me. In the very same room, brilliant makeup artists William Corso (also an Academy Award-winner, and nominated again this year for stunning work on ‘Foxcatcher’) was walking around, taking in all that the show had to offer. For someone that should, by all rights, be mobbed by fans, he appeared to walk unmolested through the show. Craig Reardon, Norman Cabrera, Kevin Haney--all amazing talents who have forgotten more than these internet sensations will ever know---milled around humbly, no entourage to be seen.
I have always felt that art should be about the work, NOT about one’s popularity. It’s perfectly fine if your work has made you into a household name, or garnered you an enormous amount of money. I draw the line rather sharply, however, at those that have gained a level of notoriety through pushing themselves in everyone’s faces via social networking with absolutely no talent or experience to back it up. There are far too many of these types in this industry, and it is disheartening and disrespectful. I doubt any of them care, but if one of you self-titled gurus is reading this---and you know who you are---try on some humility and learn your craft in a more thorough way before bellowing from the rooftops that you should be considered important. This is the only way you'll ever gain respect from the real makeup and special effects community---it has nothing to do with how many airheads follow you on Twitter.