Millennial Avant-Gardes | Phoebe Walters’ Makeup Artistry in the Digital Age
We are so excited to share our new article series titled “Millennial Avant-Gardes” in which we’ve asked some of the most inspiring women we’ve come across on social media to share their story and craft. This time we are sharing the work of Phoebe, aka @phoebewalters.
Thank you to all the NBGA girls for featuring me in this series, I’m really excited to be a part of it! I’m Phoebe Walters and I am a makeup artist currently living in London. Originally from Ipswich, I grew up in a home filled with creativity. My older sister is an illustrator and weaver and my mum runs her own online knitting business. Growing up surrounded by artists who constantly had a project on-the-go, I believe, played a massive part in what I do today.
“I always felt like a creative person but struggled to find a technical practice that felt right for me.”
I was always felt creative but struggled to find a technical practice that felt right for me. I was left feeling unsure of where I fit amongst the arts. It wasn’t until my art foundation course where I began to explore my interests in colours and faces, soon discovering it was possible to combine the two in the form of makeup artistry. I remember finding a beauty shoot in my sisters ‘POP’ magazine and feeling so inspired, I recreated every makeup look on myself! From there I went on to study at the London College of Fashion. Since graduating in 2016, I have been a freelance makeup artist ever since.
“As an artist in the digital age it’s difficult to fight the mentality that the quality of your work is defined by the number of likes you get.”
Social media has always played a prominent role in my career, I can’t remember one without the other. During my time at university I created an Instagram purely for my projects with the hopes that it would act as an easy-access portfolio; kind of the modern day business card. There are pros and cons to growing up in a digital age. As an artist it is really difficult to fight the mentality that the quality of your work is defined by the number of likes you get or that the value of your ‘brand’ is governed by the number of followers you have. That being said, it really is an amazing tool to ensure your work has a platform and to connect with others in the industry.
Diversity is integral when casting models for my projects and something I am extremely conscious of. I want the people I work with to feel comfortable and confident that I can do their makeup, regardless of race, gender or age. I believe social media is helping the beauty industry finally become more inclusive. Knowing that the work I create can be so accessible through social media, it is really important to me that those who view my work from all parts of the world feel represented.
Photos by @charlotteosheaphotogra
WHAT INSPIRES ME?
The colour choices within my work are seriously considered and very deliberate. I am fascinated by the way in which colour can be used as a tool to create an emotional connection between subject and spectator. An emotional reaction to colour can be different for everyone, therefore, the perception of the image is forever changing. In the book ‘On Colour’ by David Scott Kastan they discuss the idea that if a red rose is isolated and is never seen, is the rose still red? I try to apply this way of thinking to my work. When creating makeup, I’m intrigued to see how the colour will aid the way in which the image is perceived. I naturally gravitate to a much cooler toned palette. I like calming colours, such as greyish blues however I love a bright red, there’s rarely an in between for me. I tend to source colour inspiration from my surroundings, I try to always carry a disposable camera and document whenever I find beautiful colours in mundane environments.
“Makeup for me doesn’t equal beauty. I see it as a tool to express yourself and have fun!”
I really enjoy art directing shoots. I love to come up with concepts and put a team together; when planning for this I always refer back to the book I own full of Rothko’s abstract oil paintings. Rothko is my favorite artist and a constant source of inspiration for me. Coming from an art background has really helped with the way in which I approach makeup. Makeup for me doesn’t equal beauty. I see it as a tool to express yourself and have fun with!
PRODUCTS I USE
Since having a career in makeup, my personal makeup routine has become more and more minimal. I always curl my lashes and use brow gel to brush up my eyebrows. I rarely wear makeup day-to-day but if I’m feeling fancy I will use bronzer (Soleil Tan De CHANEL is my favorite), Max Factor mascara and Maybelline lipstick (which also doubles up as my blusher), then lip gloss!
I have a very relaxed attitude towards makeup on myself, however skincare is extremely important to me. I have hyper sensitive skin and a lot of allergies meaning, less is more for me. I don’t like to use a lot of products on my skin although the products I do use I prefer to have minimal ingredients. Awake Organics is an independent brand that I recently discovered and I absolutely love! The majority of the ingredients used in their products are organic and food grade. I use the Frankin-sense Brightening Serum and Sea Quartz Crystal + Algae Cleanser, it’s a daily micro polish which exfoliates without leaving my skin feeling sore. I also love the Australian brand MooGoo; the Irritable Skin Balm is really soothing if you suffer from eczema and The Soothing MSM Moisturiser really helps to calm my skin down after a reaction. I get asked a lot on how to achieve clear skin and it really is all about drinking water!!