By Kevin St James
The first thing that I remember being obsessed with when I was really young was monster makeup. There was a book at my neighborhood library about old Hollywood movie stars like Bela Legosi and Lon Chaney, two actors who portrayed Dracula, Frankenstein and the Werewolf. The book focused on the makeup techniques and even had directions to do a Frankenstein makeup with a brown paper bag and paper maché. I made several attempts to do this makeup in the bathroom, much to my mother’s dismay. I was quiet messy with it.
But my makeup journey really began over 20 years ago when I enrolled in a theatre program in college. The curriculum including costuming and makeup, and I once again discovered my love for transformation through makeup. Today, many years later, I now share this love and knowledge with students at the Academy of Make Up Arts in Nashville, TN.
I came to Nashville after college to pursue a career in performance, but soon found my time and energy taken away by the daily grind of day jobs. That is, until I realized makeup could be a lucrative and fulfilling living. That is at the heart of why I love teaching makeup.
It is deeply satisfying for me to show creative minded people a career path that isn’t soul sucking. Often budding artists find themselves in unsatisfying careers because they can’t envision any other option. Now my career is both doing makeup and sharing the path with others. If an artist can see the path and combine that with the knowledge and skills, anything is possible.