For centuries, artists have painted faces on canvas. On Sunday, faces were the canvas.
So were necks and shoulders, as nearly 30 artists used everything from makeup and paint to glue and gemstones for their creations in the Inland Empire Cosmetology Association’s Fantasy Makeup competition.
As the name suggests, this is not the type of makeup one would wear to the office or a formal dinner party. There were other events, such as the “Elegant Evening Hair Style” competition, for more staid and subdued presentations.
Those might draw the Rembrandts among the makeup artists. The fantasy competition draws the Dalis.
Artist Brock Matthews, a student at Glen Dow Academy in Spokane, spent 40 minutes Sunday turning the face of fellow student Lindsay Wernecke into a collage of nature, complete with a glittery snowflake, colorful leaves and a flower petal on one eyelash and a golden sun ray on the other.
“I wanted to incorporate the four seasons into the four sections of her face,” Matthews said as Wernecke posed for the judges and the audience in the pavilion of the Northern Quest Casino.
Matthews studied art and did some painting in college – “But never on a human,” he was quick to add. He worked on the design for the past week, practicing it on Wernecke almost every day, to be able to get all of the colors and glittery elements applied in the allotted 40 minutes.
For those 40 minutes, the makeup artists worked furiously, painting and smearing colors into patterns, gluing faux gemstones, feathers and sequins into shapes, or dusting with powder and glitter. The only limit to what they can put on their models was their imaginations and what a face would hold – which, based on Sunday’s competition, can be quite a lot.
The cosmetology association has had hairstyling competitions “forever,” organizer Jeanette Brenner said, but the fantasy makeup event is fairly new. It drew contestants from as far away as Everett and Mount Vernon, Wash., and Moscow, Idaho.
Models can’t help apply their makeup, offer advice, or even talk to the artist. That last rule is particularly difficult, Wernecke said, because “it can get nerve-racking up there,” and the model can’t offer encouragement or a calming comment.
These works of makeup art are fun, but impractical and impermanent.
“She wouldn’t wear this anywhere,” Matthews said of his creation.
“It’s more just for show,” agreed Wernecke as she moved toward the photographer’s stand to have it photographed.
Model Alex Landry, also in line for a photograph, said she might wear something like the glittery swirls of red and yellow Hope Hughes had painted on her face to a costume party. But maybe not, she added, because talking was difficult as the various elements hardened.
And this particular design wouldn’t even last out the hour. Landry was serving as a model for another student in a coming hairstyling competition.
“I have to go scrub off,” she said.