EVERY FASHION DESIGNER knows the challenge of styling their own collection. The work of creating a fully realized lookbook, runway show, or photo shoot is an equal collaboration between photographers, designers, stylists, and hair and makeup artists. Here at Sold Out, we seek to cast light on each of these elements, and learn more about Portland's biggest wave-makers. In the realm of makeup artistry, Gina Campbell of Gina Campbell Beauty (popularly known on Instagram as @thebirdbones) has caught the attention of many companies eager to pair their products with her artful use of makeup.
Gaining traction as an Instagram sensation, Campbell's feed is primarily a mix of experimental makeup tests and the finished products of her artistic visions. Her aesthetic is highly imaginative and unafraid of vibrancy or color. She can recreate the contours of a face through careful attention to eyebrows, bone structure, and complementary color blocking. Her work is unbridled by the some of the conventions of makeup—it's simultaneously adventurous, notably balanced, and romantically delicate.
I started following Campbell's work a number of months ago, and soon found myself dreaming up a Hedwig-esque glam-rock-meets-forest-elf-princess-meets-tattooed-rocker-babe look for my next collection. Campbell's expressive use of the medium is an inspiration for design concepts, or for anyone interested in being slightly more ambitious with personal styling.
I couldn't wait to write an article highlighting her as a major mover and shaker in Portland's fashion scene. I talked to Campbell about how she started a professional career using makeup as an art form.
MERCURY: How did you get your start as a professional makeup artist?
GINA CAMPBELL: I started in the beauty industry working for Benefit Cosmetics at the local mall, while getting my bachelor's degree in psychology. I was very good at sales because of my belief in the products, but discovered my passion was doing makeovers for customers. I found it amazing that with a little makeup I could transform someone's day or help improve their self-esteem. Empowering the client became my favorite part of my job.
When did you discover your love of makeup?
I fell in love with makeup in high school. My best friend and I used to dress up and do each other's makeup and hair for "photo shoots" using a cheap disposable camera. It was our favorite way to spend an afternoon! We'd be asked to do makeup and hair for school friends, too—for dances, Halloween, and special occasions.
What sets you apart as a makeup artist?
I think my passion for makeup and my ability to connect with others sets me apart as an artist. I'm always trying new products and new methods of application, searching for creative and different techniques. For example, I love to go to an art store and buy paintbrushes—especially fine-detail brushes, or my latest obsession, watercolor brushes! I collaborate and connect with my clients. I love helping women try new things with their makeup, or show them how to use things they purchased but were never shown how to use. I've worked with many clients who own a lot of makeup, but aren't exactly sure what to do with it. I take a lot of time to listen to my clients so I can maximize our time together. I want them to leave an appointment feeling beautiful and that they learned a thing or two.
What are the most recent inspirations for your work?
I find inspiration everywhere! Most recently I've been working on a series of makeup looks inspired by watercolor artist Marion Bolognesi.
When you shoot with a designer or company, how do you put together a creative concept for makeup?
There's usually a lot of Pinterest involved. The photographer, model, or designer sets up a mood board with inspirational images for hair, makeup, and styling. It's been a really helpful tool, especially with some of the more elaborate shoots I've worked on.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
I have quite a few! I just finished a shoot with Michelle Lesniak, involving chocolate jewelry, and it was a blast! I love the amount of creativity in Portland!
Who are your favorite makeup artists?
I love Alex Box and Roshar. I admire them for their artistic play with tradition and fantasy. If someone can arrange for me to meet either one, I would die happy.
Check out ginacampbellbeauty.com and look for Gina Campbell's work in upcoming lookbooks by photographers Myles Katherine and Ashley Marie Photography.