Making makeup art again.
The beauty world is changing. Not only is it more inclusive and diverse, but it is also more creative. The new trend isn’t how sharp (or even how wavy) you can make your eyebrows, it’s about how you put the artiste back in makeup-artist. There’s an inflow of inspiration and an influx of experiential looks flooding my timeline and I don’t think we can just chalk it up to my quirky algorithm. Ultimately makeup is living up to its more primal function: becoming an illusion.
I’ve been so inspired that I even tried my hand at one look that popped up on the Instagram beauty channel I follow:
Enter Xi Ying aka @lykkexii my latest discovery and biggest inspiration right now as an art/beauty purveyor. With a shy 3,596 followers, she may not be the obvious “influencer” but the makeup looks she chooses, attention to detail, and use of color makes her a formidable addition to this conversation.
1. Where were you born? Where are you based?
I was born and raised in Austria, but my parents are from China. I‘m currently living in Tyrol for my Bachelor‘s degree in art history.
2. Are you self-taught? Or did you go to school for your craft? Which school?
I actually was a professional hairdresser, but gave it up, because I couldn’t see myself doing it for the rest of my life. At my old hair salon we did offer makeup services, so I had a little experience with doing other people’s makeup. I am self taught, but I really want to get certified and work at fashion shows or for magazines.
3. What is the one advice you wish you had coming up as an artist?
It’s cliché but: Don’t listen to others and don’t let other peoples negativity get to you!
4. Why did you start working with makeup?
When I was small and throughout my school life, the only thing I excelled at was drawing. I was happy that my teacher and classmates would praise me for my works and that gave me a lot of joy! In those moments I didn’t feel invisible anymore. So I always wanted to be an artist, but they all told me it wouldn’t get me anywhere in life. I believed them.
One day, while I was on YouTube, I stumbled upon one of Michelle Phans beauty videos. I thought “wow! I want to try it too”, so that’s how I got started.
A few years later, I saw all these beautiful makeup accounts on Instagram and I took the plunge and posted my first ever makeup look. Only until recently I tried to incorporate art into my makeup. I was sick of seeing these cookie cutter makeup looks, which are all over social media. I want to go deeper and make people feel something and introduce them to the old masterpieces and some modern art.
5. What are you go to makeup brands?
I love colourpop and nyx to death! They have such a wide variety of things and especially their eyeshadow colors! They are affordable for the bomb quality they actually offer.
6. Who are your favorite makeup artists?
7. If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would you? Why?
I really want to travel to China, to get to know my culture and visit my roots. It would be the first time where I’d be among my people and maybe I’d feel at home. I don’t know, the thing is I don‘t feel like I belong anywhere. I’m a stranger to them, but in Austria I also feel like a foreigner, even though I speak German fluently and I’ve lived here my whole life.
8. How do you stay inspired?
Inspiration is so hard to find. I go through phases of having not a single idea or motivation and then other times they are literally flooding me! I guess it also helps that I’m studying art history. And you can find inspiration anywhere!
9. Name three songs you could listen to on repeat.
Singularity by V by BTS
Hearing Damage by Thom Yorke
Little Bit by Lykke Li
10. Someone offers to buy you a work of art – price, era doesn’t matter – what’d you ask them to buy?
Absolutely & definitely The Kiss by Gustav Klimt! He‘s my favourite artist among all.