Art on skin: Valary Mdeizi

Self-taught makeup artist Valary Mdeizi has made her art more than just about making her clients -her canvases- prettier. She went pro in 2013 for a music video shoot, and that train has been chugging ever since.

Her art is inspired by nature, cultures, poetry, paintings and people; among many other things.

😍 Photo courtesy of Valary Mdeizi

Here is a quick Q&A with her.

Who are the people and/or brands that have inspired you in the course of your career?

Pat McGrath

What do you like most about your job?

I love that I get to do what I enjoy the most which is create art, and also experience the feelings it evokes on clients after I work on them. Pure joy.

If you weren’t a makeup artist, what else would you be?

I would be a musician, art curator or an economist.

Do you have a style that sets your work apart from other makeup artists?

I feel like I’m still discovering a lot about myself- including my artistic style. However, people tell me that they can distinguish something that I’ve worked on [so I might have a style or technique that screams -or whispers- my name🙂].

Valary Mdeizi’s makeup magic on a model’s face. Photo courtesy of Valary Mdeizi.

Do you do special effects make-up?

Yes, I do.

How often do you find yourself creating special effects, and what’s the most memorable special effects look you ever created?

Not so often. I usually do it when working on films or commercials requiring it. My first special effects make-up job was really special to me. It was for an infomercial about bombings that had previously happened and so I created a burn on an actress. I remember meeting the actress afterwards and she told me of how people had called her after seeing the ‘burn’, asking if she was okay.

What’s the biggest project that you’ve worked on; solo or collaborative?

I’ve been blessed to have worked on a number of projects that became big so it’s hard for me to pin point just one. It’s never a solo project even when I create concepts. It’s always collaborative as everyone involved brings out their A-game to ensure the project is a success: photographers, stylists, hair stylists…

Tell me about the experience of working with Osborne Macharia on his ILGELUNOT project.

Black Panther ‘Ilgelunot’ was one epic project that I worked on. It was revolutionary especially on its relevance at this time and age.

We’ve worked together (with Osborne) for years and it’s always been the same from day one. He’s the kind that respects your input to a project as an artist and is very professional.

When you work with the same people for a long time, trust me, it ceases to be work and becomes like a creative convention. Always fun.

-Valary Mdeizi

Which are some the monumental makeup jobs that you’ve had in your career?

I would say working on the film Watu Wote; it being based on a true story and being nominated for the Oscars, first Kenyan film to ever get a nomination. It also won the student Oscars.

What’s the most important beauty tip that you’d give to both men and women?

It would be to moisturize and to use sunscreen!

Do you do your models’ photoshoots and shoot setups on your own? If not, which other professionals do you collaborate with to produce your work?

I love working with other amazing artists who are exceptional with things that I’m not great at like  photography,  fashion styling,  hair styling,  set design  etc.
I have worked with: Lyra  Aoko,  Victor Ndalo,  Joseph Kiragu -­ photographers, Richard Kinyua  &  Corrine  Muthoni‐ hair  stylists, Kevo  Abbra  &  Lydia  Omolo – fashion  stylists
… to mention but a few.

What’s your favorite makeup brush? Which is the one product that you can’t work without?

The flat top kabuki brush.

Product I can’t work without: clear lip gloss. Always comes in handy.

Do you have a make-up pet peeve?

I have quite a number but let me just say dirty makeup and dirty makeup applicators: brushes & sponges.

Favorite local makeup product brands and stores?

Suzie Beauty  (dark  foundation  shades  only), Canvas Cosmetics for liquid
lipsticks (Mara, Rumba, Smooch, Hatari, Dolce) and Uturi (for  hair 🙂 )

What’s the best lesson that you’ve learned from your years as a makeup artist?

Learning never stops, to always work on my art and to never be content.

Does self-doubt ever kick in? If yes, how do you fight it?

It used  to, but one thing I learnt  early when starting out is that self-doubt  has killed more  dreams than failure ever will, so I’d rather do  something and fail as it’ll be a lesson.

Is being a makeup artist your full-time job?

Yes, it is.

What’s the one thing that you wished you had when starting out?

A mentor.

Do you have a mentor? Are you someone’s mentor?

I don’t have one.  However, I mentor a number of artists.

Since I didn’t have one when I needed them makes me want to be there for someone else; to help them avoid the mistakes I made while starting out, and to guide them whenever necessary.

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