Blanche Macdonald Centre http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/ News from Blanche Macdonald Centre CZECH MATE - GLOBAL MAKEUP CO-OP GRAD EVA SVOBODOVA PLAYS A WINNING MAKEUP GAME http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2017/un-profile-makeup-coop-graduate-eva-svobodova/ With thousands of artists soaring into our halls from around the world each year, our classrooms have become dynamic global communities under the unitedly diverse banner of our Blanche World – a United Nations of creativity! In a glorious culture clash, our International students import a vibrant collection of new customs, insights and inspiration that colour our world in exciting new ways. The leap from their home countries to our corner of Canada comes with big change, courage and incredible journeys. Speaking in the international language of passion, we sit down with our global talent to talk the dreams that brought them here, the challenges they overcame, and all about the power of being an artistic representative in a new country. Meet the burgeoning stars that have joined us from around the globe in our UN storytelling!

UN Profile: Meet Eva Svobodova, Blanche Macdonald Global Makeup Co-op graduate from Vojkovice, Czech Republic!

Beauty. For Global Makeup graduate Eva Svobodova, it has been a lifelong fascination.

At University in her home country of the Czech Republic, Eva earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree studying the question “What is Beauty?” analyzing the theories of critics, philosophers and art historians who, like Eva, were searching for the answer.

Now, halfway across the world, Eva explores that very same question as a professional Makeup Artist in Vancouver, Canada. Moving from the theoretical to the practical, and from the pen to the brush, Eva creates beauty through her daring and dazzling artistry. Through her bold, colourful work she challenges us to question, to interact with and marvel at the medium of makeup.

In her short career Eva has graced the podium three times at the IMATS (International Makeup Trade Show) Battle of the Brushes, and she is already working as an in-demand Freelance artist for editorial, fashion shoots and films. With all that Eva has achieved just a month after her graduation, you would think she was born a makeup artist. But before she stumbled upon Blanche Macdonald two years ago, she didn’t even know makeup schools existed.

“I was 27 and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was googling one day and I found Blanche Macdonald by chance. I didn’t know you could actually study Makeup Artistry! So when I found out about the school, I knew I wanted to do it.”

UN Profile: Meet Eva Svobodova, Blanche Macdonald Global Makeup Co-op graduate from Vojkovice, Czech Republic!

Eva had always loved art, but she was left unfulfilled by her academic studies at University. Hoping that things would become clearer with a fresh perspective, Eva decided to travel and improve her English. She obtained a work permit for Canada, and landed on the West Coast ready for an adventure. But after a year in Vancouver, the only thing that was clear was that she wanted to remain in Canada. With work permit options exhausted, she decided to apply for a student visa. But to study what?

“I wanted to do something creative,” she recalls. “That was when I discovered Blanche Macdonald. I came and met with a director, read the reviews and it was all great. Everyone was so excited about this Makeup program. The atmosphere was so professional and everyone was so nice. I was really excited. So I said okay, let’s do it! And I am glad I did it!”

Eva hasn’t looked back. Always facing forward, she continually challenges artistic boundaries, creating avant garde makeups that deconstruct questions of beauty and push at the borders of the medium. From pastiche to postmodern to painterly, Eva’s provocative work is as intelligent as it is eye-catching.

The IMATS judges obviously agree. In two years Eva has taken home first, second and third prizes across two categories in Vancouver and in Toronto.

“The first time I was at IMATS was in 2014. I saw the Battle of the Brushes contestants and I thought, that’s going to be me next year! So I made it my goal. I applied, and in 2015 I won first place in Beauty/Fantasy. It was a surprise! You hope for it but you never expect it. It felt great!”

UN Profile: Meet Eva Svobodova, Blanche Macdonald Global Makeup Co-op graduate from Vojkovice, Czech Republic!

Bolstered by her win, Eva applied to IMATS 2015 in Toronto, where she won third place in Beauty/Fantasy. Then at IMATS 2016 in Vancouver, she placed on the podium yet again with second place in Character/Prosthetics. But this time it wasn’t just the prize that made it special. Eva fulfilled another goal: meeting Todd McIntosh, Blanche Macdonald’s Emmy-award winning Makeup Director. Todd was Eva’s personal Battle of the Brushes mentor in a private one-on-one coaching session of a lifetime.

“Before I enrolled I was reading the brochure of the school and there was Todd McIntosh. I thought, I want to meet him. And then I got to have him as a mentor! It was a huge honour, it was amazing. He was so open. He showed us a demo and how he does Prosthetics. He was really nice and gave me great advice and feedback on my work. He was a huge help. I love him!”

Creative, determined, driven and unstoppable, Eva is a true artist, combining raw talent with a winning work ethic. But to define Eva in one word would be: fearless. In her work, in her art and in her life. She takes on challenges with grace and confidence, embraces risk and takes leaps of faith across continents, across careers, across expectations. This fearlessness will continue to raise her to soaring heights of artistry and success. It is the foundation upon which she will build her amazing career.

Have No Fear: these are words Eva lives by, and her most precious advice to fellow budding artists and international students.

“Don’t be afraid of the language. Don’t be afraid at all. Because everything is just fine and everyone is so supportive. I loved my time at Blanche Macdonald. If you know you want to do makeup, this is just the best place to be!” 

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Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:00:00 PST
Instructor Leah Ehman Blends Small Town Charm and Big Screen Experience at Blanche Macdonald http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2017/top-makeup-school-instructor-leah-ehman/ Top Makeup School Instructor Leah Ehman

Makeup students lucky enough to be attending Leah Ehman's classes at Blanche Macdonald soon realize that they’re being treated to more than expert training from a Gemini Award-winning artist. They are getting the opportunity to fall in love with the artistry and emotion that go hand in hand with the creative process.

“I was on the set of Tron: Legacy when I realized that I’d achieved what I’d set out to do,” she smiles. “There is a scene where Garrett Hedlund enters the Tron world and is transformed into a computer program. The director asked us to come up with a look that had never been seen before. We were able to create some pretty amazing makeups that I’m very proud of on that show. On that set I was surrounded by international superstars like Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde. I’d already been working in film for many years, but that was a moment when I realized where I was and the level of work I was producing. That's when I realized my dreams were coming true.”

Leah understood the magnitude of her achievement. She's been a major contributor on TV shows and films including Suckerpunch, Stargate Atlantis, I Robot, The Big Year and countless more. Coming from the tiny northern Alberta town of Athabasca, it’s been a remarkable journey.

“Art has always played a major role in my life. Both my mother and grandmother were art teachers and my brother grew up to be a professional artist. Even today, one of my favourite things to do is spend an afternoon at galleries or museums. I remember being five years old scooping up clay to sculpt horses, and copying paintings from my parents’ art books.

“Growing up I was often mistaken for a boy. I was an ugly duckling always wishing for the swan transformation. I would save up all my babysitting money and invest it directly into magazines, clothes and of course makeup. I used the makeup to paint a more feminine me.”

Top Makeup School Instructor Leah Ehman

Leah began her working career in hair salons, moving from Calgary to Edmonton and eventually Vancouver. By the time she reached Hollywood North, no one was mistaking her for a boy anymore.

“A talent agent spotted me and asked if I’d like to be an actress. I didn’t have the personality for that, but I did work as an extra once and awhile.” 

One of those shows in need of a stunning extra was the X Files. It was where Leah’s eureka moment arrived.

“I walked into the hair and makeup trailer and I couldn’t believe it! They put me through the works. That’s when I first saw the level of excellence involved in being a film and television Makeup Artist. I thought to myself, I could do this!

“I attended makeup school in Vancouver, but I didn’t receive the level of education that Blanche Macdonald students get. Not even close. I had to seek out extra training on my own. Monique Venier was a teacher of mine. She was incredibly inspiring. She took me under her wing. I assisted her on photo shoots, runway shows, and even my first film. It was a cheesy film called The Fear Resurrection. It was so exciting. I couldn’t wait to jump out of bed and get to work every day.  Monique was everything I wanted to be. Now that I’m a teacher, I strive to do the same: share my knowledge, inspire and nurture creativity.”  

Top Makeup School Instructor Leah Ehman

Leah loved her first taste of the movie life. Nothing was going to stop her from making it her everyday reality.

“I wanted a career where I could work alongside creative geniuses. I wanted to be surrounded by hard working people who had made it. I was working as a waitress on weekends and volunteering Monday through Friday on film sets. Living on Mr Noodles and toast didn’t stop me from chasing my dreams. Eventually I received a call from Lili Marchenski of ACFC and after an interview I was invited to join the union. This led to my first job as first assistant on a sci-fi series called First Wave. That was when my career exploded! I was very excited and proud of the work I was doing. Soon I had enough experience to join IATSE. My first day call was assisting Jayne Dancose on a show called Millennium. I got to paint a dead foot. I remember sitting in front of the television as the episode aired, and seeing my work. I screamed, ‘That's my foot!’” 

Matching her natural talent with an easy charm and a hunger for hard work, Leah’s reputation swiftly spread through the industry. In a few short years she’d risen to the position of department head, receiving three Gemini Award nominations and winning one for her work on Stargate Atlantis. 

“My work was submitted for the Emmy Awards when I was Head of Department for Unbreak My Heart, The Toni Braxton biopic. We shot the entire movie in three weeks. We took Toni’s character from a small town girl with acne to the superstar she is today. We recreated her music videos, awards shows, makeovers, and her battle with lupus. I was doing up to ten makeup changes on our lead actress daily and overseeing the large cast as well. I brought some of my Blanche students on set to assist me. I love giving the stars in the classroom a foot in the door. That's one of the reasons I became a teacher. As a Department Head, I’m always looking for people who possess great work ethic as well as creative talent. That’s how I choose my assistants. I want team players with good attitudes who can take direction. I wouldn’t hire an amazing artist with a bad attitude, and I make sure my students understand that.”

Top Makeup School Instructor Leah Ehman

Students are reaping the benefits of Leah’s expertise in class and on set, but that exchange of creativity is a two way street.

“I’m constantly inspired by my students,” she insists. “They are from a different generation, so they’re interested in different music, media, and fashion. Teaching has made me a better makeup artist. I don’t encourage students to copy my work, I want them to discover and explore their own style. I help them develop that. This way they will become Department Heads and industry leaders. By the time they complete their studies at Blanche Macdonald, they can do some pretty impressive stuff. I want the next generation of makeup artists to be outstanding, and I hope that my students make that happen.”

Leah wants her students to succeed. She supports them from the moment they walk into her classroom. On one condition... they need to push themselves the same way Leah pushes herself. 

“Try everything. Accept jobs even if they scare you, be professional at all times and do every job to the best of your abilities. Even if your work is cut in editing, you’re still proving yourself. Every new opportunity will build pride and confidence in your work.”

For Leah, professionalism and artistry go hand in hand. Sure she's tough, but the girl from Athabasca has the same enthusiasm and creative spirit she had when she was a five year old sculpting horses out of clay.

“Even now, whenever I accept a job, I love diving into the research and character development from the script. I’m always eager to meet the group of talented people that I will be working with from job to job. The whole process is fascinating to me. 

“I’m learning every day, whether it’s a new technique or just a different point of view. You learn from your mistakes. Keep your eyes open all the time. Looks at faces, art, nature, tragedy and celebration. You can draw from everything around you. There is inspiration everywhere!”

Leah Ehman's Top 5 Movie Magic Makeup Products!

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Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 PST
Pro Hair Grad Sabrina Beltrano Styles with Entrepreneurial Spirit http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2017/top-hair-school-graduate-sabrina-beltrano/ Top Hair School Graduate Sabrina Beltrano

“I love the flexibility of being my own boss,” insists Sabrina Beltrano, relaxing between clients at her professional home at Workshop, one of Downtown Vancouver’s most beloved and fashion forward salons. “I like that I can create my own hours, charge what I want to charge, and use the colour lines that I love. I never want to stop getting more clients. Getting new people in my chair keeps me motivated.”

Staying motivated is never a challenge for Sabrina. The Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair grad runs her own business as one of the independent hair professionals gathered under a single stylish roof at Workshop. A community of creative and entrepreneurial spirits, it’s the perfect spot for stylists who enjoy working and playing by their own rules.

“I didn’t want to be a regular stylist who’d do cuts and colours and then go home,” continues Sabrina. “Renting a chair means it’s my business and my responsibility. That means you have to make sure you’re keeping up on Instagram, Facebook and Craigslist.”

Was a career in hair Sabrina’s destiny? Growing up in Kamloops, BC with a stylist mother meant it was always a distinct possibility, even when other passions took priority. 

“I’ve had pretty much the same hairstyle since I was five. Long and dark! I knew I wanted to follow in my Mom’s footsteps, but I was also a soccer-playing tomboy. I cared about my hair but I cared even more about sports.” 

It didn’t take long after graduating high school to commit to a career in hair. And once that decision had been made the search for the perfect Hair School was swift and effective.

“I wanted to go to the best of the best. I googled ‘Best Hair School’ and Blanche Macdonald came up! I knew that when I would go for interviews employers would see the Blanche name and know that my training was really good.”

Top Hair School Graduate Sabrina Beltrano

Those high expectations were realized on Day One.

“Starting Hair School was so exciting. When we all received our boxes of equipment I saw the Bumble and bumble products and knew how luxurious it all was. I wanted to cut right away!”

When the time arrived for that first cut on a real client in the Blanche Macdonald school salon, it wasn’t easy, but Sabrina delivered.

“I was so nervous. That haircut took three hours. I kept asking for the teacher and was worried that one side of the cut was radically different from the other. But once I finished the client loved it. I thought, ‘Ok, I think I can do this.’ 

“Not long after that people began calling the School and booking with me. I would cut one person’s hair and they’d tell their friends. After a month or two people started coming in just to be styled. I felt like I could talk to clients and tell them how to best wear and style their hair. We were taught to demonstrate our confidence. You could be the best cutter but unless you’re confident, no one will believe that you’ll do a good job. It’s a combination of your words, body posture and looking people in the eye. If you can tell clients how to look after their hair at home and what products to use they’ll want to come back and learn more.

“Lisa Callender and Renata Trebacz were great instructors. Renata would get straight down to business. She was so professional. She taught us that our blow dry would have to be a ten out of ten every time. If you can finish with a great style, she told us, clients will always come back to you. That stuck with me.”

Top Hair School Graduate Sabrina Beltrano

Today Sabrina is a colour specialist, a veritable master of Balayage whose expertise is known and respected across Vancouver. But she’d never describe herself as a natural colour scientist. Her abilities arrived through countless hours of study and practice.

“I was literally the worst in the class!” she laughs “I was always asking questions. As the class progressed I started getting it and I began practicing more. I would watch videos of different techniques. I wanted to go above and beyond. I practiced on mannequins in my own time. I enjoyed being creative with the colours, with different placements and techniques. Clients these days like a more natural look. That’s hard to replicate.”

Eager to begin cutting and colouring immediately after graduation, Sabrina took a tip from Program Director Phil Loiselle and launched herself into what would become the first step into her self-propelled professional career.

“Phil told me that there was a space at Eterna Salon and Day Spa in Lougheed Mall. It was a salon that used Joico colour, which is what we used at school, so I felt very confident with that. I started right away as a stylist and began building my clientele. Within four months I was fully booked. I was always hustling around the mall. If I saw someone walking by me I’d hand them a card and say, ‘Hey, we’re having 20% off at the salon.’ I’d offer a deal. It was all about confidence.

“I loved it. I was busy all the time but after three years I was ready to take the next step. Franco Federico runs Workshop. I met his parents at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver and they told me their son owned a salon downtown. I applied, he gave me a job as a commission stylist and I soon became busy enough to rent a chair.”

She’s been a core member of the Workshop Team ever since, bringing colour and charisma to one of the city’s most bustling salons. Despite her impressive skill set, Sabrina insists that it’s the personality she brings to work every day that keeps her clientele excited about returning to her chair. 

“I’m sure that people sometimes sit down and don’t even care about their haircut. That sounds crazy, but they’re more interested in talking and hearing what you’ll say to them. Your personality and energy can be more significant than the haircut itself. You still have to do a good cut, of course, but they come back for more than that. They come to see you. They tell you about their lives. You build friendships. An important part of being a stylist is being open with people. If you do that people will open up to you.”

Top Hair School Graduate Sabrina Beltrano

The future is beyond bright from Sabrina. She’s already proved that her abilities and attitude can take her wherever she chooses. Success is guaranteed. It’s merely a matter of deciding what it’s going to look like. 

“For now I love renting a chair at Workshop but I would love to own my own boutique salon one day. I love setting goals for myself but I’ve grown to understand that you need to put in your time first. Everything won’t come immediately. Continue your education as new products and trends emerge. It’ll happen. You just have to put in the work! 

“It still feels so good that I can make people love their hair. Even after I graduated Hair School I still didn’t understand that I had that ability. It was only once people kept coming back to me I realized that I must know what I’m doing!”

Sabrina Beltrano's Top 5 Favourite Products

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Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 PST
One to Watch: The Future Beckons for Fashion Design Graduate Kirsten Ley http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2017/fashion-design-graduate-kirsten-ley/ Top Fashion Design School Graduate Kirsten Ley

Kirsten Ley won more than the Award for Overall Achievement at Neon Dreams, this year’s Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate Show. She also received one of the all-time great compliments from Executive Program Director Peggy Morrison (not someone known for distributing praise lavishly), who declared Kirsten, “the Student of the Decade.”

Since then Kirsten’s been busy preparing to conquer the world with her eponymous label. And it’ll be little surprise if Kirsten Ley becomes a household name in fashionable homes within the next five years. She’s practically Wonder Woman.

Top Fashion Design School Graduate Kirsten Ley

“I get up at 5am every morning and go to bed around 2am every night,” she explains. “When I was in the Fashion Design program at Blanche Macdonald I also had an internship and was teaching yoga every morning. I'm a night owl and a morning person. I find my relaxation and rest practicing yoga. I get enough rejuvenation from that to compliment my sleeping schedule, or lack of one!”

Channelling her endless energy directly from the universe (rather than the traditional method of sleep we mortals use), Kirsten’s intellectual approach to creativity knows few bounds either. Her brilliant graduate collection juxtaposed concepts by matching the constriction of leather body casts with the free-spirited escapism of billowing silks.

“One of the ideas that sparked this collection was my own personal experience,” continues Kirsten. “I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 13 and was put in a back brace for 22 hours a day. I was an actress, dancer and opera singer and the only time I was out of the brace was when I would dance, sing or perform. The dichotomy of the bound leather garments with the flowing silks is like breaking free of the confines I grew up with, which is one reason why I called my collection ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being.’ That’s one of my favourite novels too. Milan Kundera took Nietzsche’s idea of eternal return, which I think is relevant to the cyclical nature of fashion. 

“I’m also intrigued by the way the Victorians drew their anatomy diagrams. These diagrams were not just medical but extremely artistic and beautiful in a grotesque way. I was drawn to them in my own collection. The predominant colour in my collection is oxblood, and I jokingly refer to my leather bodice as a ‘skin suit’ because it reminds me of these Victorian Illustrations and the peeling back of layers of skin to reveal what lies beneath.”

Top Fashion Design School Graduate Kirsten Ley

Physical and creative super powers are helpful, but Kirsten insists she couldn’t have scaled her award-winning heights without the assistance of the Team at Canada’s top Fashion School.

“I loved my time at Blanche. I would do the program over and over again. I loved everything that the faculty continue to offer. I hear a lot of grads say that you get out of this what you put into it. That’s absolutely true. I wanted to work my butt off and make something of my time here. The faculty and staff have gone above and beyond helping me at school and after graduation.

“Tyler Udall, from our first meeting, completely understood me. He has the ability to see the final picture and to visualize it on the runway before a needle has been brought to fabric. His illustrious experience in the industry warrants complete respect and he helped elevate my garments to a professional level. I have the utmost respect for him and I’m honoured by his belief in me.” 

“Peggy Morrison is an incredible woman with a massive wealth of knowledge about every designer you could possibly imagine. Picking her brain opens up a Pandora’s Box into the insides of the world of fashion. Her classes amplified my designs through learning different details from the past. Her approval and support truly meant that I was doing something right because she doesn't sugar coat anything. She’s been a pillar of inspiration.

“Sara Armstrong’s ability to see things differently and from an artistic perspective helped me eternally with my drafting and construction process. Most of my pieces aren’t traditional and Sara helped me achieve what was in my head in a non-traditional way. I’m forever grateful that we had the gift of Sara as our teacher because she allowed me to experiment in my own way. She gave me the confidence to trust my own gut instinct.

“Mel Watts has been absolutely incredible. She was a ray of sunshine when the world seemed to be crumbling down around me. She keeps the wheels running and she has a work ethic to be envied and admired. I have massive respect for Mel and her support for me has been incredibly humbling.” 

Top Fashion Design School Graduate Kirsten Ley

Kirsten’s kind words reflect her deep affection for her year at Fashion School. Now she’s showing the same levels of enthusiasm and passion as she looks to the future and focuses her considerable talents on her own label. She’s off to an incredible start, having been invited to show her first collection in the ‘Emerging Designer Series’ at this year’s Vancouver Fashion Week.

“I get to completely curate my show. I’m provided with hair and makeup artists, models and a sound engineer. It’s a dream come true so soon after graduation. Things have started to move at a faster pace than I initially expected them to, but that’s how I like it. It’s exciting to have a very attainable goal in the near future.

“I designed four entirely new looks which weren’t in my original portfolio. I feel that I’ve already evolved as a designer; so sticking with my designs from six months ago didn’t fit where I wanted to go. The inspiration is still the same. This is a continuation of the same collection, but it’s the evolution.”

The garments Kirsten sends down the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week represent far more than her fashion sensibilities. They’re the next step on a deeply personal creative journey. And even she doesn’t know where that will lead her.

Top Fashion Design School Graduate Kirsten Ley

“I wouldn’t be completely happy if I didn’t give this a shot. I know it’s tough out there to start your own label, but I feel that I couldn’t ignore this urge to explore. I need to purge these designs and I feel that the world could benefit from my perspective. I hope that people enjoy my work and more importantly, that my designs make them feel beautiful and powerful. I want to offer a strong perspective of female empowerment and statement pieces.

“People want their individual voices heard. How you dress has a lot to do with that. We all know that when you feel beautiful, you become more confident. I simply want to help my clients get to that point of self-love. The future is bright and my work ethic, determination and optimistic spirit will drive me through to greener pastures. You have to work hard to get what you want. I'm not stopping until I get there!”

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Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:00:00 PST
Makeup Legend Todd McIntosh Shares Secrets at Blanche Macdonald http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/news/current/2017/todd-mcintosh-makeup-legend-2016/ Makeup legend Todd McIntosh at Blanche Macdonald Centre

Makeup legend Todd McIntosh is more than a guest on his regular visits to Blanche Macdonald. Todd is family. 

As our Makeup Director, Todd’s expert fingerprints – the same ones that won Emmy Awards for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Pushing Daisies – can be found over Canada’s ever-evolving and most complete makeup curriculum. He’s been at the helm of Blanche Macdonald’s Makeup Program for nearly 30 years now. So when Todd makes one of this regular pilgrimages to Vancouver, it’s more than business. It’s pleasure too.

That pleasure was shared with Blanche Macdonald’s students and instructors as Todd spent a week and half with us this summer, providing multiple days of detailed artistic and career advice with the next generation of makeup superstars.

Blanche Macdonald's Makeup Director, Makeup Legend Todd McIntosh

Todd’s time at Canada’s Top Makeup School began with one-on-one sessions with our Battle of the Brushes contestants at the Vancouver IMATS, delivering wisdom that helped our graduates to a clean sweep of the podium – first, second and third – in the Character Prosthetics category and a superb second in the Beauty/Fantasy. 

“I’ve been a huge fan of Todd since I was ten years old, when I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” explained Battle of the Brushes first place winner Devon Burbank. “The fact that he took time to critique my work was amazing. He suggested so many ideas about hiding edges and folding things out. Todd is incredible. At the end he gave me a full hug and I freaked out.”

Todd went on to spend two days visiting classes in progress, meeting students while providing hefty doses of inspiration and hands-on expertise.

Blanche Macdonald's Makeup Director, Makeup Legend Todd McIntosh 

Perhaps the highlights of his visit were a pair of detail-focussed demonstrations at our Atelier Campus, where Todd proved that you don’t need miracles to create makeup magic. Using products from the pro store at CurliQue Beauty and latex masks retrieved from the bottom of the leftovers cupboard at Masters FX, Todd combined technical wizardry and artistic flair to create screen-ready aliens in under two fascinating hours.

“Of course the School is bigger than when I first became involved,” he explained, “but it doesn’t change that much. We’re constantly expanding the Makeup Program, but students will always be students. They’re just beginning to understand how deep this career can go and what it takes to be in this industry. The questions they asked me were really intelligent. I know that their teachers have already answered those questions. But because they’re asking this mysterious figure that wrote the curriculum, perhaps they listen to my answers more. The ideas about the realities of the industry are coming into their heads.”

Blanche Macdonald's Makeup Director, Makeup Legend Todd McIntosh

The technical and artistic secrets revealed by Todd are going to stay with the students lucky enough to have seen them at first hand, but there were plenty more industry and life lessons to be learned. Here are just a few of our favourites.

“When I was a young makeup artist I travelled to New York to visit Dick Smith. He showed me some makeup work photos from a young student. They were terrible. Dick explained how he recommended that the artist should take some sculpting and painting classes. Then he showed me photos of amazing work of a model in Alfred Hitchcock makeup. It was the same artist. Dick taught me that you can’t judge a student before they’ve had the training.”

“I was told a Makeup Artist had worked on Planet of the Apes so I brought him into our trailer to apply some prosthetics. After two hours, he still hadn’t attached the ears. It turned out that he had just been pulling ape masks onto actors’ heads. Don’t lie about what you’ve done. Tell your Department Head the truth.”

Blanche Macdonald's Makeup Director, Makeup Legend Todd McIntosh demos at IMATS Vancouver 2016

“I was asked to do some beauty makeup for an actress making a speech. That actress turned out to be Audrey Hepburn. It turns out that she was nervous about speaking in front of people. It’s ok to be nervous. I still get nervous!”

“This job can be stressful. In the event of panic, breathe in for a count of four then breathe out for a count of four. Keep calm and controlled. Don’t be dragged out of your circle.”

“Young artists need to temper their fire and arrogance. You might feel like you know better, but listen to people’s experiences. Your mistakes will follow you.”

“I’m not into this to meet famous people. I love the process and art of transformation. I’m fascinated, not just by the surface, but by what happens inside when you’re transformed.”

Blanche Macdonald's Makeup Director, Makeup Legend Todd McIntosh demos at Blanche Macdonald's IMATS Vancouver booth, 2016

It was an honour and a pleasure for all of us to welcome Todd back to Blanche Macdonald. The funniest thing is, he might have enjoyed his time here more than anyone.

“It’s always wonderful to come back here! Just walking around Vancouver it’s so different to my home in LA.

“Jen Folk, Tracey Payne and I have been busy working on curriculum, bringing things up to date in regards to the latest products and developments in HD. And it’s been a pleasure. This is home. I love it here. As long as I have a tea in my hand I’m comfortable!”

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Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 PST