Makeup Artist – Val Garland
“You do need to be active on social media, but the key is to figure out who you want to be and how you want others to see you. I don’t want to keep posting meaningless beauty photos just to stay active.”Val Garland
Makeup artist Val Garland is from the UK and was appointed as L’Oréal’s global cosmetics director in May 2017. As one of the most important makeup masters of today’s era, Val Garland’s makeup works are often memorable. Compared with the use of complicated text, pictures are more capable of interpreting Val Garland’s personal makeup style.
As one of the most important makeup artists of this era, Val Garland has spent 25 years using some of the greatest creativity of this generation to create a series of images of contemporary significance. The art of breaking through boundaries has allowed her to continue to collaborate with photographers such as Nick Knight, Corinne Day and Miles Aldridge. She has also worked for fashion media such as i-D and The Face. She is the makeup artist of choice for designers such as John Galliano, Gareth Pugh and Phoebe Philo, and has worked closely with Alexander McQueen for many years. In fact, it’s hard to find an influential creative person who has never worked with Garland.
Now, after 25 years of global accolades, she decided it was time to take some time to look back on that epic and legendary career. The result of this review? “Validated”, this new book showcases her career through a series of the most groundbreaking images. This anthology not only records the evolution of beauty in the past few decades, but also depicts the vibrant fashion scene of the 80s, 90s and 00s through Garland’s own anecdotes.
“Validated” took two years to complete, and finally went on sale last month. We sat with this makeup master and talked about how she started her makeup work and how she continued to play an important role in an era dominated by social media.
In the process of growing up, how did you express your creativity?
When I was a child, I often went to the railway with my friends. My imagination is always abundant, so we will make up some amazing stories with sticks, stones, or something like that. We are always looking for treasures, but we are not rich, so treasures to us are pebbles or bottle caps that you can find on the street.
When I grew up, I fell in love with music. I was obsessed with music, musicians and singers who became new pops. In the 1980s, we gradually moved away from punk, neo-romanticism became popular, and everyone dressed up their own face. I love Toyah Willcox, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Debbie Harry and Lene Lovich. I never wanted to make myself look more attractive, more charming or become a sexy stunner. I just want to be noticed by everyone and want to be a well-known person. “Wow, who is that person covering the entire page of the newspaper? what does she do? ’I want people to exclaim like this, and this is the beginning of my love for makeup.
You started as a hair stylist, but then you became a makeup artist. Where did this shift come from?
After I founded Garland and Garland (a salon she co-run with her husband Terry Garland at the time), we would take some seminars or fashion shows, and I would act as a makeup artist. After all, I often put on makeup myself. Later, I would do hair styling work for some blockbuster movies, and the photographer I worked with at that time would keep telling me how to make up. I never thought that I would want to enter this world, but everything happened like this, and then I started doing makeup and hair work in Sydney. It wasn’t until I decided to divorce my husband at the time and move back to the UK that I suddenly realized that since then I vowed not to do haircuts, and now I am a full-time makeup artist.
Interestingly, I remember that at the farewell party, an assistant friend of a stylist who had worked with me told me that she would also leave here. Coincidentally, she would also move to Los Angeles to pursue her actor dream. Closer to home, 15 years later, my agent told me that an actress had invited me to make-up for her who was about to attend the press conference. I don’t usually take on such a job, so I asked “Well, who is she?” In the end, she was Naomi Watts, and she was the friend I mentioned earlier. I came to Covent Garden Hotel with excitement. After she opened the door, she said “G’day mate”, and I also replied “G’day mate”, which is like a fairy tale reunion In the end, she realized her dream of being an actress, and I also realized my dream of making up.
In your opinion, what misunderstandings do people have about makeup artists?
In the eyes of many people, this job is very glamorous. All you need to do is sit there all day, drinking champagne, pursing red lips, or leisurely painting eyeshadow. Many times you can only sit on the floor or climb a mountain. I remembered the shooting experience on the top of Mont Blanc when I was taken to the shooting scene by a dog on a sled. We were so cold that we hugged each other like climbers, so that if one of us fell, we could bring him back. You have to work very, very hard, and working hours are long, you have to learn to be strong. If you don’t have the help of an assistant team or anyone, it will be very difficult.
Which emerging makeup artists do you think are changing the industry?
I like Isamaya Ffrench’s creation very much, she is very cool, and I also like her way of breaking the rules. I think Lauren Parsons is also great, and Laura Dominique is also worth watching. Of course, and my first assistant Joey Choy, she will have an incredible career. It’s easy to copy a great makeup look. There are replicators and dreamers in the makeup world. Joey is a great dreamer. She has a keen sense of color and always creates these amazing images in her own way.
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