Getting to Know Ricky Wilson
Makeup Artist Ricky Wilson has always been intrigued by the power of makeup to transform women from ordinary to extraordinary. His beauty philosophy is based on teaching women to enhance their own style and beauty and find their own inner diva by experimenting with colors and trends. With an extensive career including work on fashion shows, print publications, celebrity clients and socialites he simply does it all. On Sunday, May 13, 2012 at The Makeup Show NYC , Ricky will share tips and industry insight.
In this Q&A, Ricky takes us through his sources of inspiration, entrance into the field, and hopes for the future.
How did you get started in the field?
I was a child of the 80′s and always remember looking at the women in my family getting ready to go out. The “crayon” pinks and blue shadows plastered on my mom’s eyes with an applicator and the infamous red Maybelline black eyeliner she would heat up with a cigarette lighter to give her the most intense eyeliner I had ever seen. I remember asking her why was she burning her eyes. Fast forward about 15 years to college where one day us cheerleaders were stretching under the bleachers getting ready for a football game. As my friend was applying her foundation and concealer I asked if I could do her eyes. She said something like hell no if I remember correctly and I kept bugging and nagging. Finally I said come on if you don’t like it just wipe it off. She liked it and by the next game I had a caboodle full of drugstoremakeup and a line of cheerleaders who wanted me to makeup their eyes. I remember one of the cheerleaders telling me that I should use M.A.C. and to go to the mall and buy it. I felt insane after forking over 12 bucks for one eye shadow but quickly noticed the difference in the way the product went on versus my previous shadows. I shopped at M.A.C. so much building a kit that I eventually interviewed for a job and started working there. The rest is history.
Who has inspired you throughout your career? What inspires you?
I have been inspired by so many things along the way. I take a lot of inspiration from art and history. Every piece of artwork has to have an inspiration and when it comes to my makeup it can be an inspiration from something as simple as a mirror on set at a shoot to the more complex things like specific times in history or an abstract painting. I have been inspired by so many people throughout the years from artists like Tamara Adam, Tiffany Johnston and Gregory Arlt to Francesca Talot, Sharon Gault and my icon Pat McGrath.
Would you say that you have a signature look as seen on you’re clients from Sharon Stone and Sheryl Crow to Leighton Meester?
I say that every makeup artist has a specialty. Mine has become making the skin look amazing. I make this a priority before I even get to my color products. I always say that if an artist wants to sell a painting they normally seek out a flawless canvas. I won’t sign my name to a look that has caked on foundation and concealer. So with all of my looks natural or fantasy I love a flawless complexion.
Do you approach working in print, as seen in your editorial work in publications such as Allure and Teen Vogue, versus for live appearances as seen on the runway or on the red carpet differently? If so, how do your methods/areas of focus shift for each application?
When you are shooting your job is tough but if something goes wrong you are there to fix it. Red Carpet makeup is the opposite. If something goes wrong you are pretty much screwed. I always try to layer and use long wear products that stay put when I am working on a client for the carpet. I make sure that everything looks perfect to my eye because the main difference is there is no retouching involved. With that said I take my red carpet approach while shooting in studio. I like my makeup to turn out looking retouched. Never become lazy and rely on post production people.
What brought you to work with Dior? What does it mean to represent the line as an artist? Can you share a bit on what your experience has been like as their Celebrity Makeup Artist?
I have always been attracted to Dior’s couture makeup looks seen on the runways. After working for M.A.C for 7 years I moved to NY from LA and heard about this artistry program that Dior was starting up under their Celebrity makeup artist. I was hired for the NYC Dior show artist and quickly discovered how great the products were. After about 6 yrs I was promoted to Dior’s Celebrity makeup artist forNorth America. It’s so great being able to do personal appearances for the brand around the country while working closely with magazine editors and appearing on various TV shows giving tips and tricks.
What is you favorite aspect of being a Makeup Artist? What drives you?
My favorite part of being a makeup artist is the ability to make the people I work on feel beautiful inside and out. I also love the travel. I come from a poor family so we didn’t travel much and I am thankful that my work has taken me to places in the world that I have always longed to see. My drive comes from making my family proud. It is a thrill for me to get a text from my mom saying how proud she is to have a son like me. I can’t let my family down.
If you weren’t a makeup artist, what profession do you think you would pursue?
That is easy I would be a chef or a comedian. I love to cook and have an online cooking show and nothing gives me more joy than making people laugh so hard that they cry. I use my comedic skills sometimes to break the ice when working with a new client. Works like a charm every time.
Do you have any exciting plan to share for 2012?
Something top secret sorry
What piece of advice would you pass on to those looking to break into the field?
I say to anyone aspiring to be a makeup artist. Believe in yourself and do as much as you can to learn and grow. This is a business that is never going to stop changing so make sure you keep your makeup skills current. Because you are working in an intimate environment with clients make sure your people skills are impeccable as well. The days of the makeup artists with the nasty attitudes are DONE!
What are you looking forward to at The Makeup Show NYC 2012?
I am looking forward to the Makeup Show because it’s the one time a year I get to see so many of my artists in one place as well as the ability to purchase really cool products at discount prices I will see you all there xoxo