Vancouver’s Elite Makeup team: The Artistry Collective

Vancouver’s Elite Makeup team: The Artistry Collective

Blanche Macdonald Makeup graduates Katrina Wrobel and Zanna Selin are the founders of The Artistry Collective, an elite team of Makeup and Hair Artists specializing in Fashion, Bridal, and Beauty. Trained in the latest techniques, this makeup collective delivers their work with precision and at the highest caliber. They are able to cater to every client that comes their way in the diverse beauty aesthetic of Vancouver. Their most popular looks are clean, glowing skin with standout, perfected brows and yet, Katrina says there are “months of faux freckles and our clients always like to explore our creative talents and incorporate a glossy lid or some glitter every once in a while!” Their expertise has led them to be in demand both locally and internationally with their work appearing in print publications such as Flare Magazine, in films and lookbooks, and for brands such as local bridal label Truvelle. Collectively, they have over 19 years of experience in the industry in all different facets. Katrina and Zanna speak—often at the same time—with passion, conviction, and unwavering enthusiasm about the journey of The Artistry Collective, along with Zanna’s year old son who added his own festive interjections to the conversation along the way!

Initially, where did the idea for a makeup collective come from? How did you two meet?

Katrina Wrobel: Zanna and I were managers at MAC seven years ago. We figured that we could work and manage things together. Lots of people around us were going on to do such great things and we thought ‘Hey, we could do something too!’

Zanna Selin: We also felt pretty strongly that there was room in the market for something like what we wanted to start because there are so many different websites and artists out there that it can be hard to find people that are good and trustworthy and will do a good job. We wanted everything about our business to be elite, from the team to the branding to the name. We wanted to create something that would immediately speak to what we do. 

We met during MAC basic training. Katrina did this makeup look that was totally nuts with a 217 brush and I was like ‘Ooohh, I like her’! We didn’t work together for a few years and then we were at the same store. We actually came up with The Artistry Collective at a Valentine’s Day dinner we treated ourselves to. We went and had cocktails and stayed so late talking because we were just so excited. Pretty sure our server was like ‘Go home!’

Can you talk about how you maintain consistency with your team’s looks and how you choose your jobs?

KW: We pick and choose who comes onto our jobs with us. Lots of times it’s Zanna or I and whoever else we need. We’ll always be the lead artist, at least one of us will be to make absolutely sure that everything is always to our standards. We work mostly in the fashion and bridal scene in Vancouver. Our return clients are mostly jewelry, accessory, and bridal designers. We’re lucky enough to be a bit choosy with the work we take on. Bridal clients especially, they usually seek us out because they appreciate our vision and aesthetic.

Mostly it’s Zanna and I on set but when we need more people, we always go to Blanche. We need people that speak our language and are properly trained. It’s a great way for them to see what it’s like on set. 

Would you say that you both interpret or define beauty similarly? 

KW: Yes!

ZS: No! [both laugh] We have the same core teachings and foundations but Katrina is way more playful than I am, by far. I love clean, dewy, fresh skin that gives an elevated version of whoever is in my chair. If we got the same assignment to do a natural eye with polished skin and a full brow, ours would probably look quite similar but the creative looks are where we differ quite a bit. But our overall aesthetic is something that we have in common and always keep in mind.

Mostly it’s Zanna and I on set but when we need more people, we always go to Blanche. We need people that speak our language and are properly trained. It’s a great way for them to see what it’s like on set. 

You’ve got a pretty incredible Instagram account based on your beautiful aesthetic. Can you share a bit about your strategy and how you curate it?

KW: Yes! So I have @theartistrycollective and @theartistedit. The Edit account is a repost, appreciation account that’s my own project. That initially started as my way of creating a makeup community with The Artist Collective. I missed the camaraderie of other artists that I had gotten used to when I worked at MAC. I threw myself into finding what is cool and popular and outstanding on Instagram, as opposed to just our own work all the time. I love finding other artists that I can help support and get their work out there. On our account, I aim to keep it updated with some of the newest work we’ve both done. I try and do a little series of three images from each shoot. 

In three words, how would you describe The Artistry Collective?

KW: Oh my god. That’s a hard question! Modern. Modernity is very important to us. 

ZS: You’re stumping us and we’re very rarely stumped!

KW: Experienced. We’re 12 and 15 years into our careers. We’ve painted thousands of faces and applied more lashes than that even! We’ve worked with every type of person and personality so we can always be counted on to deliver a certain level of experience and professionalism.

ZS: Cool! Fun! Like, as clean and put together as everything looks in the images or on Instagram, we have such a fun time on set. We’re polished and experienced, yes but we’re also fun to have on a set because we’re genuine.

KW: Oohh, genuine! That’s great a great one too. We’re the same on set whether we’re working on a shoot or with a bridal party, we’re the same. OK so, fun, modern, and experienced. I think those are our three words!

Those are great words! Can you guys tell us what your Makeup program at Blanche was like?

ZS: I thought I was just going to take a program so I could work at MAC and do makeup and fashion. But my mom said ‘I’m paying so do what you want but make it count’ so, I took the whole Makeup program! I loved it all! I actually enjoyed learning about all the gore and theatrical makeup. As much as I love smokey eyes, some everyday civilian can look at a smokey eye and be like ‘Oh, yeah there’s gold blending there’ but a bald cap or injury, that’s a whole other level! People can’t figure it out. Special effects makeup really opens your eyes to colour undertones and textures in a completely different way. Learning from all the different teachers too was so incredibly helpful. 

KW: Oh yes! Blanche’s program was eye-opening. I went in thinking I wanted to do Horror movies but after a few modules, they were like ‘Oh no girl, you’re into Fashion makeup’ and I was like ‘Really?!’ I truly had no idea. But looking back, it does make sense. I remember one final project everyone was making scars and innards and monsters and I was like ‘I’m going to make the most beautiful reptile woman.’ It totally changed my mind about what Makeup was in general. Every one of those courses is make-or-break, even though you may not use every single skill every single day. 

ZS: Actually, I wish they had a refresher course for old dogs like us! Sometimes I’m like, I know how to lay a beard and then I try to think through the steps and it’s like do I really know how to? Things are always changing, products are always changing-

KW: That would be incredible! Because all of that information is so, so crucial. 

We’re 12 and 15 years into our careers. We’ve painted thousands of faces and applied more lashes than that even! We’ve worked with every type of person and personality so we can always be counted on to deliver a certain level of experience and professionalism.

Where do you learn new techniques now?

KW: Mostly through Instagram watching reputable artists. I follow a lot of the MAC Senior artists and they always have new tips and tricks they share from the shows they work. Netta Szekely is one who stands out in my mind, I love her work. Since IGTV launched, a lot of artists have been using that as a platform for more tutorial style videos; it’s a great place to find how-tos.

We’re curious about the products you use! Do you use a lot of MAC products? What’s your kit must-haves?

KW: We definitely use a lot of MAC as it’s what we are most familiar with. We understand how the products look when they are on, how they perform and how they interact with other products. Knowing your products is SO important when it comes to your kit, you have to be prepared and know you’ll have what is necessary no matter what is thrown your way. When talking about kit must haves I could go on forever!

MAC face and body foundation will always be the holy grail of foundation for us. It’s extremely natural looking on the skin with the most gorgeous dewy sheen that can be layered in a million different ways.

Danessa Myricks’ Illuminating Veils have been a new favourite for highlight, especially on the body as they are very transfer resistant and work well layered or mixed in with a multitude of products. 

Skindinavia finishing spray and MAC Fix+ spray are a must have. The Skindinavia spray to keep the makeup on and the Fix+ spray to combat the look of anything powdery and add a perfect dewy finish. We tend to layer products and sprays a lot to get a desired texture. Pro tip— keep a folding fan in your kit to speed up the drying process, plus getting fanned is always the models favorite part of the process!

Lemonhead LA spacepastes and spacejams. Especially Houdini which is THE MOST AMAZING transparent/disappearing purple glitter. These take glitter to a whole new level in the most luxurious way, with a mess free application and serious intensity. I cannot express how phenomenal these glitters are—I am absolutely obsessed with them. 

For hair, the standout product is R and Co Outer Space Spray. A light-medium hold hairspray that can be layered and layered without ever feeling heavy or sticky. You can use it before or after hot tools and it’s fabulous for combating frizz throughout a shoot. A lot of times we are switching up the hair multiple times on one model and this spray is flexible enough to reset the hair without any issues. 

Do you think your program at BMC gave you the upper hand when applying at MAC? 

KW: Yes, definitely having some formal training at BMC did help to land a job with MAC. Especially when it came to the Makeup interview where you actually have to do makeup on a model and explain your way through it. Once hired, it made the transition easier because we already understood the basics and a lot of the terms used. It’s important to have an understanding of the basics so when learning new techniques you can break them down faster and figure out how to make them work for you.

Knowing your products is SO important when it comes to your kit, you have to be prepared and know you'll have what is necessary no matter what is thrown your way.

What would your advice be for newcomers to the industry or a Makeup grad looking to get onto sets?

ZS: You have to be so passionate about this. Before you jump into it, make sure you do the research and know what a Makeup Artist is and does. I’ve brought people onto a set with me for a day who thought they wanted to be a Makeup Artist and at the end of the day, they’re like ‘No.’ They think it will be super glamorous but it’s a lot of hurry and wait, cleaning your kit, and dragging it to your car. We understood that going to Makeup school doesn’t make you a good Makeup Artist; doing makeup constantly on whoever, whenever you can makes you a good Makeup Artist.

KW: I completely agree. One of the things I wish I’d done more was taking photos of my work to see the progression of my skills. Learning how to take good photos is a big deal too. Where your model should stand and how, light sources and crops of photos. It really helps you look at your makeup objectively and see where you’re going wrong. Probably one of the biggest revelations in my life was when I was comparing one of my looks to one that I found on Instagram that was so good. Like she has a graphic liner, I have a graphic liner—and that’s when I discovered the importance of having perfectly groomed brows. 

What does the future look like for this makeup collective?

KW: We’ve cultivated so many good connections with our recurring clients who have become friends with growing businesses of their own. We have such a close-knit community here that will always be a big part of our company. But actually, the next chapter is moving our services to the Okanagan. Zanna is going to be moving there with her family and so we’ll be branching out a little bit there, especially with the Bridal chapter there. We’re bringing our fun, modernity, and experience to a new city!

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