Iana Sultanova (Tashkunas) has been doing makeup since she was 18. At 20 years old she managed to become a make-up artist for the Bobbi Brown brand, and at 21 years old – the leading make-up artist for the Make Up For Ever brand. She spoke about it in her book “Beauty&Business” and the exhibition dedicated to it, which was held on April 29 2023 at the Zere School of Fine Arts in Kazakhstan.
Iana, let’s start our conversation about your exhibition. Tell us more about the idea of its creation.
My life path is closely connected with art. As an artist, I perceive any of my activities as a blank canvas on which you can create anything. I started thinking about creating an exhibition 5 years ago. I worked at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art then and was often inspired by other people’s work. I wanted to turn my work into art, but I didn’t know how. Writing the book was the first makeup bundle with “canvases” for me. I realized that this is a great opportunity to pay tribute to the makeup artists of the brands, which bear the whole industry and at the same time to be involved in art.
Why did you choose the Zere School of Fine Arts for the event?
The Zere School of Fine Arts is a small, but very beautiful and magical location, which, I think, is perfect for my event. Initially, I planned a small event for 10 people exclusively with the book presentation, but people began to find out about it and the number of guests increased to 30 people. Then I thought about creating an exhibition while conducting a performance with canvases: there was a white canvas at the exhibition. I applied red lipstick to everyone who wanted, they kissed canvas and thus left their mark on art and my project. By the way, there was even one man among them! The exhibition also featured photos with quotes from my book, and these are also canvases.
How much is it possible: reflection of make-up in the “canvases”?
In fact, makeup and art are closely related. We can say that a makeup artist is an artist who creates beauty on people’s faces. And, by the way, the reflection of makeup on the “canvases” is a common practice. Let’s take as an example a face chart – applying products to a canvas to select shades, create contours and an approximate understanding of how holistic makeup will look on the client.
Iana, tell us how your exhibition went? Are you satisfied with the result?
Everything was organized in just one month, but despite that, the exhibition went as easily and smoothly as possible. The only problem we faced was the difficulty with the printing office, which printed the banners in the wrong size, but these are small things that we easily coped with. I was also worried that the size of the venue would not be enough for 30 guests, since, as I said, I originally planned a program for only 10 people. However, all the guests were comfortably accommodated in Zere, and the exhibition went just wonderful! With my project, I managed to unite people from a wide variety of areas of activity, which I am very happy about.
What aspects of makeup creation and industry did you cover in the book?
My book is about my path as a makeup artist, about self-development after completing training courses and about the psychological aspects of the industry, which are no less important than the ability to use brushes. I wrote about how to create your original portfolio and express your uniqueness. My book will be useful for beginner makeup artists and those with a professional background but want to develop and go beyond their capabilities.
How can you formulate your creative manifesto?
During my work the main conclusion I came to – is that there are no restrictions. The only thing that slows people down is the fear of being misunderstood and not accepted. For this reason, people often give up their desires and goals. I am convinced that there is nothing in the world that a person could not do. By the way, I faced criticism in my own direction when I decided to create an exhibition: I was told that exhibitions can only be held by artists, and as a makeup artist I don’t need it. However, creativity is the absence of restrictions, so I’m working hard towards my goals.