Joanne Gair is an uuber-talented, fabulous woman whom I feel doesn’t get NEARLY enough credit in New Zealand for her incredible career. She is a world-renowned makeup artist; she’s acknowledged as the world’s leading body paint artist and she’s also a fine artist who dabbles successfully in painting, sculpting and etching – amongst a million other talents! Over the years she has counted Heidi Klum, Rachel Hunter, Madonna, Steven Tyler, Demi Moore, Lady Gaga and countless other megastars amongst her clients, and she is the lady responsible for the incredible body painting you see on the Sports Illustrated calendars. While Joanne is probably best known for her pioneering work on Demi Moore (think the pregnant Demi and the “birthday suit” Demi), the picture below (The Disappearing Model) is acknowledged by the art world as perhaps the finest example of body paint by the world’s finest body painter.
I first got in touch with Joanne when I approached her to do an interview for Makeup Obsessives ( you can read this interview in two parts below.)
Joanne was incredibly generous with her time and her knowledge and since then we have built an online, and now an IRL, friendship that I very much treasure.
Anyway … Kiwi Jo, as she likes to be called, recently returned to New Zealand to visit her beloved family. And this time, I got the chance to meet her as she invited me to her exhibition opening night at Blikfang Art & Antiques in Northcote, Auckland. The photo up there ^^ is one taken at the exhibition, and as seems to be generally the way with me when a photo is important to me, it was rubbish – of me anyway, not of Joanne and my daughter! Oh well! If you are wondering why the star; that is because we don’t put our daughter online; and she is our little star – so yep!
Anyway … I have never really been to an exhibition of this type before; only exhibitions in museums or galleries where there are stark white walls and you wander around appreciating the art but not really “feeling it.”
May I just say at this juncture, that I am most certainly not an art aficionado and do not claim to know much about it! However, Blikfang’s philosophy is to present art as it would be presented in your own home – i.e. with furniture around it, and wallpaper and just, you know – stuff. And that seems clever to me, because after all, that’s how we live with the art we purchase right?
If I were an art aficionado, I would have written something like this, which is great and worth the read to find out a bit more about Joanne and the background behind her work. In summary though, the ink drawings Joanne is currently exhibiting at Blikfang are an extension of her body painting, in which she explores how bodies can portray emotion, convey intimate moments and engage in provocative movement. Joanne told me most of these works were done with live models in front of her, who were moving constantly, so she could capture that feeling of movement and vibrancy in her portraits. The “loose style” of these works is in contrast to the fine detail required for her makeup and body paint work and she said she just loves the freedom to work in that manner.
And again – more of Joanne’s work in situ at Blikfang below … this one is called “Big Bird” and was painted in 2014.
Joanne’s work is showing at Blikfang until the 30th of April so I would highly recommend you pop in and see it if you get a chance.
And there’s one final thing I wanted to mention (OK two – the next paragraph details the second!) … Joanne has two books; the first being Paint A ‘Licious (see below) and the second being Body Painting Masterpieces (with foreword by Heidi Klum.) I am now the proud owner of Paint A ‘Licious with a beautiful personal message written in big, sprawly artistic writing on the inside cover. Joanne talked us through the “back stories” to some of the images in Paint A ‘Licious and suffice to say, I would love to steal her away for a weekend so she can tell me the rest of them! It is truly a labour of love that celebrates family, friends and Joanne’s journey.
The other thing I wanted to mention; Joanne introduced me to a lovely lady at the exhibition by the name of Michele Whitecliffe, of Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design fame … she has two incredibly talented children – both of whom earned high praise from Joanne. Check them out on Instagram; @lakenwhitecliffe (an insanely talented artist) and @amberwhitecliffe ( a fashion designer.) You will be impressed.
This enthusiasm for new talent is yet another thing I love about Joanne – she is all about supporting new and upcoming artists and does not let her lofty position in the art and body paint world affect her genuine Kiwi down-to-earth generosity of spirit.
Last year I was lucky enough to do an interview with the world’s leading body paint artist, Joanne Gair. Joanne (aka Kiwi Jo) is an amazing Kiwi woman at the pinnacle of her field as a trompe l’oeil and makeup artist – we did a two-part interview – read part one here and part two here. She also does some incredible fine art – check out her Instagram details at the bottom of this post.
Anyway … I thought I would just highlight a few of things I learned about body painting in this edition of “five quick facts.”
1)Sports Illustrated is perhaps the most famous publicity vehicle for body painting – Joanne did her first campaign with Sports Illustrated in 1999 and has been working with them ever since.
2) A full body paint generally takes anywhere between 8 and 12 hours – leaning toward twelve, particularly if there’s hair and (face) makeup involved as well.
Body painting is also known as trompe l’oeil.
3)M.A.C has a good aqua line that you can use for body painting – it’s available in pancake and liquid colours. They also have a colourful grease stick and a silicon-based line you can airbrush to achieve different looks (try their Auckland store.) Kryolan also does some excellent products as well – they opened in Auckland last year as well.
4) Joanne says you don’t have to have all the expensive products to attempt body painting – essentially if you can use a product on your face, you can use it on your body – it’s all skin and there’s no right or wrong, particularly when you’re colouring in. The most important feature of a product is its ability to mix and to stay on the skin without slipping or fading.
Fun fact: sometimes models get to sleep while they’re being painted! Initially, Joanne says they need to be standing vertically while she’s drawing the image up, but once she’s working on the fine detail, the model can often sleep for a couple of hours on a beanbag, or propped up in some way. Considering most of her sessions start at 1.00am (to ensure the 12 hour window allows for models to be ready by the “magic light” time photographers need) that’s definitely a good thing!
5) Preparation for body painting? The body is the canvas, and it simply cannot be slippery! Hair follicles must be removed as best you can before a body paint; otherwise it will be done on the day. Hair follicles show up when you start airbrushing – they stand up and they get coated with colour. If you’re going to be body painted you need to be shaved or waxed and there can be no moisture on the body at all. Also, if you’re getting a spray tan it needs to be a few days before you get painted as there can’t be any residue on the skin.
I love this disappearing models shot! Sooo clever.
Nine Q&A’s with the world’s premier body painter and makeup artist, Joanne Gair …
Today’s post is part two of an amazing interview with world-renowned makeup artist and body painter, Joanne Gair. Click here for part one. Q5.Joanne, you are, and have worked with some of the greatest names in the business in terms of hair stylists, photographers and the like. Do you have any special tips or tricks you’ve learned along the way you could share with us?
A. I’m going to answer this from the perspective of someone wanting to get into the business of makeup artistry.The most important tip I can give you here is to know your place in the team. The photographer and the client are the leaders. Come prepared– do your homework and research, research, research. Don’t assume you’ve got everything in your kit just because you were successful with it on your last job. If at all possible, have a conversation with everyone involved beforehandand make sure you know what their expectations are with regard to the makeup component of the shoot.
Nails– nails are a big thing now and I see salons popping up everywhere in New Zealand. Don’t just assume nails will be done; ask! If a manicurist is going to be onsite, great; but if not, make sure you know whether you are expected to deal with nails. Hands are extremely important; particularly when you’re doing wedding shoots or beauty of any kind. If there is no manicurist on set, make sure the model comes with nails manicured/pedicured to save time. You then would need to apply the colour. Timeframes – you need to know when the model is required to be “camera-ready” and work back from there. You are part of a team; you are not the only person. If a stylist needs to take the model away for a fitting, make sure you allow them to do that; they have often been working on their part of the shoot for weeks – you are just coming in at the end. Of course no one wants to be the last one and have to be hurried, but you all need to work in together. Often you can do your skin prep at the start and then when the model’s hair is set and off her face, that is when you can really go all out on makeup.Photographs – it is EXTREMELY important that you don’t take photographs on set; this is very intrusive and it’s not your place to do so … that is the job of the photographer. Do not Instagram photographs or mention things on social media unless you’ve been given permission to do so; often a makeup artist won’t see photographs of their work, or even be able to talk about it, until the shoot has gone to print and this could be months. Don’t make the mistake of overstepping the boundaries on this one. I’ve seen people lose excellent opportunities and promotions through this type of poor judgement. Knowing your place is the biggest lesson to learn.
Q6:Great makeup, and I’m sure great body painting, starts with great skin. Do you have a specific skincare line that you recommend your clients, or do you “pick and mix” your recommendations based on individual requirements?
A: I really mix and match products to be honest. Here are some of my current picks …
♥Le Mieux – You would be well advised to try it! I particularly like the TGS-V eye serum masks. I actually can’t believe how brilliant they are. They are absolutely magical for reducing the appearance of fine lines. The product comes in a pack of four and would be an excellent treat for a client; simply pop them on and leave them for 15 minutes minimum but preferably up to 30 minutes; bliss!
♥ Le Mieux Derma Relief Serum and TGS-V booster – I find this product brilliant to mix with the Skindinavia The Make Up Primer spray I mentioned earlier. I put a drop of each on the back of my hand and apply it to the skin. It’s a water-based moisturiser and your foundation simply glides over the top.
♥ Mario Badescu Skincare line – I’ve used this range myself for a long, long time. It’s not expensive and they’ve managed to keep the price point reasonable by packaging it in plastic; it’s not flash, but the product inside is wonderful. My favourites in this line are the Cucumber Cleansing Lotion and the Glycolic Eye Creams.
♥ Embryolisse Body Lotion – Lait-Crème Fluid Multi-function Nourishing Moisturiser this one’s not cheap but I particularly love it. I’ve heard people refer to it as gold! It’s a light-weight body moisturiser, but you can certainly use it on the face as well. It’s not greasy and works well in humidity. Actually, this one is a really good one to use on shoots when fabrics can be problematic with getting product marks. Say for example a model was wearing a very fine silk fabric, you wouldn’t be popular with the stylist if you applied a moisturising product that left greasy marks all over the fabric! These are things makeup artists need to be aware of when working as part of a team!
♥ Nivea Intensive Care Moisturiser – this is an inexpensive product that comes in a large bottle from your local drug store. It’s great for when the body needs a shiny look and you want a lovely natural glow to the skin.
♥Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray – this is an oil-free spray that is pretty new. Skindinavia currently has only two sprays. Order them both! If you can’t afford both, get the primer spray first and then save for the finishing spray. Some people set their makeup with a mist of aerosol; I find this gives a bit of a plastic feel which I don’t like. The Skindinavia spray doesn’t give you that feeling and it’s full of lovely nutrients as well!
♥ Lucas Paw Paw Ointment – I’ve travelled for over thirty years and this is the product I used to bring back to the USA as gifts for everyone, however it’s readily available now. It’s an essential for a makeup artist’s kit; I always apply it on my model’s lips as part of the skin prep process and it makes lipstick application a dream. This is my gold! My sister puts it all over her face once a week and goes to bed with it, she completely believes in its skin repairing powers. The plus side is a little goes a long way and it’s not expensive.
♥ Aloe Vera gel – I believe the aloe vera plant is the most underrated plant ever! The gel has almost magical properties; you can use it straight from the plant by simply scraping the gel out and applying it directly – it can be a bit sticky and has a slightly unusual smell though, so you probably wouldn’t use it on a client. This is where the Epicuren Aloe Vera Gel comes in! This is aloe vera gel in its most pure form; it doesn’t flake or roll and I use it every day – my foundation goes over the top of it. I like it because it calms the skin and tightens the pores. I also use it after I’ve cleansed my skin and before my creams. It comes with a pump dispenser.
Q7.Do you have a favourite fragrance or “Holy Grail” product?
A:I love perfumes and I try different ones all the time as I travel through airports on a regular basis. I must admit though that I am rather attracted to the traditional perfumes – my mother uses one by Elizabeth Arden which I love called Beautiful. I’m initially attracted to the bottles to be honest, and I mix and layer different perfumes a lot too, which is fun. Two perfumes I love are Serge Lutens 5 o’clock (Au Gingemvre) and Givenchy’s Amarige.
Q8: Table of eight for dinner; you and seven other people (living or dead) … who would they be?
A: I’m homesick at the moment, so I’m going to take the easy option here and say“my family!” I’m a Kiwi girl at heart and I adore the chance to sit around the table, have hilarious conversations, laugh out loud and share memories. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I have travelled a great deal in my life but I still believe New Zealand is one of the most beautiful and special places in the world. It is an absolute pleasure for me to come home and spend time here with my beloved family.
Q9.If there was a “makeup time capsule” to be opened by a makeup obsessed girl or guy in 50 years time, what product would you put in it and why?
A. One product, one word … sunblock. Particularly for those of you in New Zealand and Australia. The one I love and use the most is the Banana Boat Ultra Defence Sheer Protect SPF50 – it’s lightweight, not greasy, inexpensive, somewhat water-resistant and full of antioxidants. The thing I love about it is that I can put it on under my foundation and I don’t have to reapply it all day. Whichever sunblock you choose, just make sure that you have the appropriate SPF!
Joanne, thanks so much for your wonderful answers – I’m sure they will inspire my readers to “stalk your work!” I’d like to thank you again personally – I’ve so enjoyed working with you on this Q&A; you are a true professional and a generous and beautiful soul.
If you’d like to find out more about Joanne Gair and her AMAZING work you can (and you must!) find her at the following social haunts:
Nine Q&A’s with the world’s premier body painter and makeup artist, Joanne Gair …
With a client list that includes Madonna, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Cindy Crawford, Demi Moore and Heidi Klum, Joanne Gair is an EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY big deal in the makeup and body paint world and I am so proud to feature her here on MumptyStyle! And wow – she’s from New Zealand!
“Kiwi Jo’s” work is absolutely incredible; so incredible in fact, she’s been featured on “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” Honestly, there’s just not enough time or space here to even touch on the amazing work Joanne has done (and yes, she did THAT body paint on Demi Moore for Vanity Fair- click here to see!) Unfortunately, I am are not able to embed photos of much of the work Joanne has done in this Q&A due to copyright issues with Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair and other little companies like that (haha!) so you’ll just have to get clicking! A great place to start is Pinterest – type Joanne Gair into the search function and prepare to be amazed! Click here for a painted Heidi Klum; here for Rachel Hunter and here for Madonna.
You should also go to her website – www.joannegair.com – and just bathe in her glory – it really will blow you away! And guess what – she is the NICEST lady too – triple bonus. Joanne took over an hour out of her busy schedule to talk with me, not to mention several follow-ups and e-mails, and for that I am incredibly grateful. Joanne would love to connect with you all on Instagram too, so check her out – @joannegair
So get clicking ladies and gentleman; but in the meantime … meet Joanne Gair.
Joanne, thank you so much for doing this Q&A (which was originally written for www.makeupobsessives.com) As I’ve mentioned, your work is incredible and the attention to detail is phenomenal. We hope this article will help inspire other makeup artists to achieve greatness too!
Because Joanne shared such a wealth of information in this Q&A, I have decided to publish it in two parts. But don’t worry – you won’t have to wait long – I’ll post them on consecutive days!
So – here goes with part one …
Q1.The August 1992 cover for Vanity Fair featuring Demi Moore catapulted both you and the art of body painting to fame. What products do you use for body painting and have they, or your artistic process, changed much since that defining work?
A. The Vanity Fair body paint shoot was actually a follow up story on Demi Moore from the previous year where she was featured pregnant on the cover of the August 1991 issue. I had done the makeup for that shoot too. Annie Leibovitz, who photographed both stories, had us in Hawaii and Los Angeles for different photo sessions during 1992. Eventually, it was decided one of the shoots would be body painting. Demi and I had discussed having her painted over previous years of working together with me only doing beauty makeup on her. This was her first of many painting sessions with me.
A lot has changed since that shoot with Demi. I originally only used Aqua Colours which are water-based. The brand is called Kryolan which is a German product – it is readily available everywhere now. Aqua products can be applied with a brush; sponge or with your fingers – the work I did on Demi utilised all of these techniques. Makeup through body painting has become more of an art form and the products are numerous in choice and so sophisticated. I’m very lucky that people send me products to try all the time. I love knowing what is new on the market!
Essentially nowadays body painting is a layering process. In addition to water based products, I work with alcohol-based, latex, silicon and acrylic products, and because of this the process has become more involved. The downside is there is more to sort and carry in my kit! For Sports Illustrated I tend to start with an alcohol-based product and then layer over painting with other products as I get to achieve the look and texture I’m after. There are innate requirements for each job and I adapt the products and processes I use each time to suit.
One thing I’d like to point out for anyone getting started is that you don’t have to have all the expensive products in order to do this type of work. Essentially, if you can use a product on your face, you can use it on your body; it’s all skin and there’s no right or wrong, particularly when you are colouring in. The most important feature of a product is its ability to mix and to stay on the skin without slipping or fading. M.A.C has a wonderful aqua line both in pancake and liquid colours. They also have a colourful grease stick and a silicon-based line that you can airbrush to achieve different looks. M.A.C’s Auckland store is excellent; their staff are very helpful and knowledgeable – it’s a great place to go for someone wanting to start out in body painting and in makeup in general.
Q2:With the massive attention to detail that is synonymous with your work, how long on average, would a full body paint take to complete?
A: Aaaahh – this is the question I get asked most often! It is really totally dependent on the detail involved in the job. Generally though it varies between 8 and 12 hours; 12 being more realistic as normally there is hair and makeup involved as well.
In order to estimate a time frame, I ask the following types of questions: ♥ How are you intending to crop the image – i.e. head and shoulders, waist up, full length etc? ♥ Do you expect to be able to view the full body all the way around? ♥ How many colours are being used, pattern, detail, etc. – all these add to the time it takes. ♥ Are you going to be shooting on location? ♥ The day’s weather also has a lot to do with time frames. You also need to add at least 45 minutes if any areas of the body need to be covered with latex for privacy.
Q3.Joanne, you’re not just a body painter (and I say “just” as a huge understatement!) you are an extremely accomplished makeup artist as well. What “new trends” have you noticed (or started!) lately that we should be aware of? Is there a trend you think should be banned (I’m thinking something like bleached eyebrows here!)?
A:Bleached eyebrows! It’s not really an everyday thing you would do for the public – it’s more of an artistic expression that a MUA might use for runway or photographic magazine looks. You don’t have to go so far as to actually bleach the eyebrows; if you dip an eyebrow wand into a reasonably thick foundation and comb it through the brow, you’ve made the brow a lot more subtle and given the illusion of being bleached; it’s a quick fix. Actually, I’m not against bleached eyebrows – it makes a much bigger canvas for the eye which can be fun.
I’d rather see eyebrows bleached than plucked though; plucking inevitably damages the follicles and not only do they not always grow back; if they do, they often grow back in the wrong direction! If you’re going to pluck them, always pluck in the direction the hair is growing.
Trends – I think trends are very much seasonally dependent. In New York we are currently in summer. The other thing I would say regarding trends is that there is actually nothing new; they’re simply things that have been seen before that are being interpreted and applied in a new and different way. For example right now eyeliner is big again and has been for a while, particularly the application of the cat eye. Eyeliner has been around for years and years of course (a smoky eye with cat eye liner is the trademark for Guess for example) but it’s being interpreted in a different way on the catwalks right now; they’re playing with bold colours on the eyes; greens and blues; they’re taking the colours into areas they’ve previously not done before – up to the brow for example and others are playing with it under the eyes etc; they’re using iridescents and geometric shapes. That type of look is definitely high fashion/artistic expression rather than an everyday look – it’s about making a new statement, making a trend!
Anybody can set a trend – it’s really just using your imagination to create something that’s outside our normal use; it’s doing something different. Coming up with a new trend pushes your imagination – that’s why makeup artists are often sent new products; they’re hoping you’ll use your imagination to push the boundaries with their products. It’s fun and it’s what keeps things exciting!
Trends are also evident in the way new products are marketed now; their packaging; the hype surrounding them – it’s a way of differentiating them from the “normal” and going above and beyond.
Q4: What are your top five favourite products (they could include hair, makeup, fragrance or supplements?)
A: Note from Mumpty: this was an extremely difficult question for Joanne to answer! She said she has her “regular old favourites” but she is constantly being exposed to new products; some of which have blown her away. These ones are ones she loves at the moment, but she did mention we could interview her again in six months time and she’d have a new list for us!
1) Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray – this is an oil-free spray. I am really impressed with this product. I know they worked hard on the dispensing mechanism. The spray nozzle is the best one I’ve ever used; it gives a really nice, even spray. It brightens and nourishes the skin. Makeup sits smoothly on top with no product rolling or any build-up happening. If I had to choose one primer to use, this would be the one I would suggest. It’s an absolute must for your kit. Skindinavia is relatively new on the market and is rapidly becoming very popular amongst makeup artists.
2) By Terry foundation –E’clat Opulence – By Terry have many foundations but this is the one I always have in my kit. It comes in a glass pot and the colour I use personally is Nude Radiance. Its creamy, silky texture can be blended out quite sheer and it can be warmed up with blushers, bronzers etc. You can also have it quite thick if you want more coverage and it can even be used as a concealer.
Most people only have one foundation. Remember you will need to alter it depending on the season and if the skin colour has changed due to tanning, etc. I don’t believe it’s really necessary for a consumer to have more than two different foundations as long as they know how to warm up the foundation they have by dusting a warmer powder or bronzer over the application where needed.
3) AMAZING Cosmetics Powderset setting powder – even though it’s white in the compact, this product is so translucent it can go on any skin tone. It’s velvety, matte and very sheer. You can apply it with a brush, however I find it works really well if you just press it into your skin with a latex sponge – use it only on the areas you need – t-zone, eyelids, forehead etc. I like the fact that it comes in a slim-line compact with a good-sized mirror as I love a good two-in-one product – this one will last you forever.
4) A good mascara – I go through gazillions of them! I’d like to make the point here that you don’t need expensive mascaras – a good mascara is really all about the wand to be honest; there are multitudes of them out there so keep playing and experimenting with different ones! Having said that, I am loving M.A.C Extended Play Gigablack mascara – the bristles on this wand are quite far apart and they coat your lashes individually without clumping. Because they don’t clump you can achieve a natural look with a single application or go for something much more dramatic by building layers. It comes in a smaller container than most mascaras which I love as I find bulky mascaras are horrible to pack in my makeup bag.
5) A great eyeliner –Rapid Black Penultimate eyeliner by M.A.C – this one is perfect for both the everyday person and for the makeup artists out there. It’s a loaded felt tip pen that gives you an almost fool-proof line that lasts a long time. I find liquid eyeliners that are applied with a brush can be problematic; the bristles inevitably get damaged and it makes it very hard to achieve a good, clean line. With M.A.C’s felt pen eyeliner you will get a very proficient line; it’s very gentle to the eye and doesn’t poke you in between your eyelashes.
6) Lipstick – I adore lipsticks – they’re an absolute must! Here’s a little trick I’ve always done with my lipstick and I find it works with almost every colour … once I’ve applied my lipstick I tap, tap, tap on my painted lip with my middle finger and then rub the excess lipstick onto my cheeks; it becomes your cream blush. It gives a complimentary, tone-on-tone warmth to your face and creates a lovely healthy glow.
When it comes to lipstick, again I don’t believe you need to spend a lot. One brand I find its consistency is good is NYX. They have an extensive colour range and are lovely and creamy in texture. I find they stay on well on the lips without becoming dry. You can always make a matte lipstick have a satin finish by simply adding a lubricant of some kind.
So there you have it … part one of this fabulous interview with a world-famous makeup artist. For part two, come back tomorrow! In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about Joanne Gair and her AMAZING work you can (and you must!) find her at the following social haunts: