James Vincent: Behind the Brush

by Angie Davis

In honor of the 2015 Makeup Show LA Uncover was able to interview industry legend and makeup rock star James Vincent. Vincent is the life force and the director of education and artistry of the show and his work spans from Lady Gaga to Joan Jett. Check out his interview with Uncover below. U: Can you describe your journey of becoming a makeup artist? JV: I had always done theater but it was The Body Shop that gave me my first opportunity. I was in school for Social Work and working with pediatric HIV and The Body Shop hired me to develop a camp with them and then hired me in the stores. I fell in love with the beauty industry. I moved to Atlanta to write my thesis on Women of Color and the White Beauty Myth and wanted to work in makeup and was hired by MAC Cosmetics at their first location in the South. They gave me amazing opportunities and it all started happening. I began travelling with MAC and working with celebrities they set me up with and it just kept going. U: Do you apply makeup in a certain order? Or do you change your routine based upon your client's needs? JV: As an artist I adapt the order for the face in front of me and the challenges of the current job. When I am teaching I will follow the same order of application so it is easier for people to learn. U: What has been one of your biggest makeup challenges on the job and how did you resolve it? JV: I think that because I do not have the typical look of a makeup artist I have had to overcome a lot of judgement. People do not always expect a big tattooed guy to show up on set and some people like to work with pretty people. U: When you're working with a client for the first time how do you prep and could you walk us through what you ask them before applying the makeup? JV: I prep by researching the client and the job. I speak to the photographer and producer and see what needs to be achieved for the job. I look at the lighting and the schedule and see how long the makeup needs to last which will influence my product choices. I listen to the client and work to make them feel taken care of and as beautiful as possible.
 jamesvincent2 U: If you had your choice who would be your dream face to work on? And what kind of makeup would you do on them? JV: I love Jill Scott. I think she has a dynamic  voice and  such a beautiful face. I would play up those soulful eyes. I also love Drew Barrymore. Such spirit. I love her clean and fresh look. U: What inspired Ardency Inn? And how long did it take to get the brand launched? JV: Ardency Inn is inspired by the sound and feel of New York City. It has the freedom and energy of the people who live here and the legends that have been here. There are a handful of us that have brought it to fruition. We had one year of prep and then launched last year and since then we have been awarded WWD Beauty Biz Newcomer of the year and are breaking records and rules. U: Do you have any tips for consolidating your kit? Are there any multi-tasking products that you recommend? JV: I love to carry palettes and cream product. MAKE UP FOR EVER Flash Color Case gives me unlimited possibility for achieving any look. Cream foundation palettes like RCMA< Mehron, Cinema Secrets, give me product that works for all skin. I also love multipurpose product like NARS The Multiple or adaptable product like OCC Cosmetic Lip tar for the creativity it allows U: Do you think it's important for makeup artists to embrace technology? If so can you share how? JV: Yes. You always have to know about what is new and coming next. Even things like tablets and aps allow for you to design and communicate more effectively to your clients and team U: What are your thoughts on the attention makeup is getting on social media? Have you see a growth in the field because of it? JV: I have seen a huge growth in the industry because of social media. I think it's both positive and negative. It has given inspiration and voice to artists outside of the traditional markets but can also bring inaccurate information to light
U: Do you have any advice for new artists looking to apprentice under more established artists? Is persistence considered good or too pushy? JV: Apprenticing is crucial. Assiting is how you learn and find out who you want to be and who you do not want to be or what you want to do and not do. The key in contacting is to be respectful. Go through proper channels. Contact agents and managers and always represent the best of who you are. Remember this is still a business. U: When curating each Makeup Show how do you pick which artists and brands to feature? JV: We work to put together a show that speaks to the artists in each market we are in. We craft a show and curate the vendors and education based on the spefici inspiration and education needs for the individuals working in that area and the areas of artistry they are in. We try to show newness and make sure that as a pro only show we bring integrity and access to information and individuals to each show for our attendees.
James Vincent's site