Makeup artist Madrona Redhawk watches “the enchanting flickering lights” of Las Vegas as she artistically roams her subconscious through surrealism, all started by Native American face painting and a mum’s good idea.
Let’s begin by you telling me a bit about yourself
I’m seventeen years old, I am a senior in high school, I am a Gemini sun (I love astrology!), and I really enjoy making art. I spend most of my time biking and hiking around Vegas, watching TV, spending time with my dog and cat (both rescued from shelters), hanging out with my parents, or reading. I have been vegan since my freshman year of high school and am very passionate about animal rights. I love learning and am particularly talented in English, although I am very interested in science, especially physics and quantum physics (even though I am a sub-par math student!).
I’m fascinated by Las Vegas. How does being based there influence your work or you as a creative?
Where I live, I have always had a great view of the strip. In actuality, the strip is a bit of a nightmare with all the throngs of drunk tourists, but from afar, and especially at night, it’s a magical sight. I will often just stand and stare at the strip. It is colourful and the way the lights flicker is enchanting. Living in Las Vegas has given me a lust for life, an appreciation for glitz and glamor and a hyper-fixation on skylines.
Your style, especially in your creative process, is so individual. Do you have any rituals to allow you to maintain or nurture this uniqueness?
I think that my makeup is unique because when I started doing [it], I had zero influence from the beauty community online. I didn’t research how to do it, I just did whatever I felt like without being worried about what other people would think, and my style developed very naturally. I keep my art pure by not getting influenced by other people’s art, and I never do inspired or recreated looks, something I have seen people base their entire accounts on. That being said, it makes me uncomfortable when people recreate my looks, because they are using my ideas.
How did you arrive at these?
My videos of applying makeup came about completely by accident! It started out with my handprint videos - something developed from researching Native American face paint (I am ⅓ Native). My mom had an idea of me putting makeup on a sheet and applying that to my face, and it grew from there.
What draws you to surrealism? Why do you think this has such a strong influence on your work and creativity?
Surrealism is all about the subconscious mind, so with that in mind, it would be difficult to explain why I like it! My art has no conscious message, but everything has a subconscious meaning and I would like to know what mine is. I never went into art seeking out surrealism, I didn't really go into art at all, it found me. I was not classically trained, I have a great art teacher who provided me with supplies and a space to find my artistic skill myself, so everything I do has been self-taught. Surrealism just happened to be the style I naturally am drawn too.
Do you have any other key influence(r)s on your work?
Considering (and I know this sounds ostentatious) I am my favourite makeup artist, I don’t get inspiration from my peers, or even artists of different mediums. I never spend my time looking at art. I never see something and think ‘oh I need to do makeup like that!’ When I feel like doing makeup, I just do it. What really makes me inspired is watching a good movie, and they almost never involve art or makeup. I try, and succeed, in getting almost all my ideas from my own brain, which I consider true creativity.
Do you perceive yourself as part of the beauty industry? I ask this because although you work in makeup, it is not in a way that resembles mainstream makeup culture, which made you so compelling to me.
My friend recently described me as the reluctant member of the beauty community, and I agree. While I do makeup, it’s nothing like I have seen anyone else do before. Even considering the “avant-garde” makeup artists on Instagram, to me I just don’t seem to fit into the same slot. It’s hard to compare me to other makeup artists because what I do is so different from what other artists do.
Creative industries are in transit, moving into a new dimension. The world and the way it functions is engrossed in developing social, cultural, environmental and political mechanisms (be it for the better or the worse). How strong of an impact do you think external factors have and will have in the future on your creative practice?
This is a thinker! What I do know is that I had less than one thousand followers for about three years, and I never stopped doing makeup all that time. While getting a following has certainly affected me and my art, as people really enjoy the videos I make so I started making more of them, I know that whether people are paying attention to me or not I will still make art. Society may change, how I share my art with the world my change, and my art will even change, but the fact that I am making it will not.
What is your utopia for your creative sphere?
My utopia is complete freedom from other people's opinions. I am extremely sensitive to criticism. I love people’s support of me online [and] I do not mind people suggesting ways for me to apply makeup in my videos but try to change anything and I immediately get defensive. I do what I do because I like it that way, and I will not stand for other people opinions on how I execute my art. Art is far too personal a thing for me to let external sources dictate how I do anything at all, no matter how small.
courtesy MADRONA REDHAWK
interview KATE BISHOP
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