5 Minutes With... Becca Gilmartin, Makeup Artist & Body Painter

Pink Diva with Becca Gilmartin

Becca Gilmartin for Miss Unkon 2009

Attention: all aspiring makeup artists and body painters. Have you ever wanted to know what the industry is really like from someone who lives and breathes the industry? Then meet Becca Gilmartin, a freelance makeup artist, hair stylist and body painter. She brings three roles to the table in one quick swoop and it is for this reason that industry insiders love her... and did I mention her bubbly personality? I met the lovely Becca at Sydney International Spa & Beauty Expo. Becca sat with me for a one-to-one on why she loves what she does and gives advice to newcomers in the industry. Enjoy!

Hi Becca. First let's talk about your fantastic website, TwoSix and Brush. 
What is it all about?
TwoSix and Brush is to be the one place Makeup Artists can go to help really empower them in their career with links to how to work out your tax, links to great makeup blogs and great reviews. I also interview a lot of industry people about what they love about makeup artists they work with as well as what they want from makeup artists so people can get a grasp about who they can be in the industry instead of feeling lost.

As a makeup artist myself, I think a lot of artists can feel lost or unsure of the best move for them.
Exactly and it’s really hard to work it out for yourself.  I’ve seen some really great makeup artists sort of give up early and go and be flight attendants or get a full time job elsewhere and they put a lid on their own career, so this is a place where people can come and maybe get inspired and see what else is going on in Australia, because there is enough work to go around and at the end of the day, I am doing it so when an artist is doing makeup for a client, they are 100% there for their client.

Definitely. So is that how The Green Brush Project came about?
The Green Brush Project was a little thought I had one day – a bit of an experiment. I thought, I wonder if I can connect senior artists with junior artists. Then I thought, no one is going to be involved. Last year I had over 100 applicants, I had 10 mentors around Australia mentoring these emerging artists. It’s amazing and two girls got full time work out of the Green Brush Project. The senior artists got to share their knowledge and loved it so it’s great! We have a couple of exciting mentors this year, I almost dropped dead when they said they would do it so it’s awesome!

Becca, how did you become a makeup artist?
By chance actually, I was in the early 20’s and didn’t know what to do. I got a job in a theatre restaurant and part of the job was to do makeup for the character and then a girl who worked there had a clown business and invited me to become a face painter, so I did. Then once day I had that ‘aha!’ moment feeling exhausted working two jobs but while painting kids faces I thought there is something in this painting of the face that I quite like and then it all just snowballed from there. I studied makeup in film and discovered quite early on that film was not a passion of mine and I just experimented.

Have you always been a creative person?
I have always been a closet artist. My parents would say, ‘you’re smart, you should go to university’ so I did physics and all of that in school but I was always secretly wanting to draw pictures and paint. My mum’s very creative as well.

You’re also a body painter, what is the wildest or most exciting creation you have designed?
Hmmm, wildest creation. (thinks) They’re all exciting for me because I love what I do, right, but I painted a French gay porn icon and he was exciting. He had George Michael’s people calling him as I was painting him. Probably the most exciting is back in 2009 painting for Miss Unkon for Fashion Week. That was a whole week’s worth of preparation and there were latex, prosthetic and glitter roses . It was the first time I saw my body art walk down the catwalk and actually receive a round of applause so that was really exciting because I really like to diffuse the understanding of what body art can really be.

How long does it take to create body art?
Ok it depends on what we’re doing. So a basic body art is about 3 hours and it can take up to 12 to 20 hours depending on what is being done. Emma Hack just painted for Gaultier’s new film clip and that was 20 or 30 hours of painting and Joanne Gair has done a 24-hour paint. The longest one I have done is probably 12 hours. It’s not as strenuous for me as it is for the model (laughs), a model has to sit still for that long.

Are you currently contracted to any beauty brands?
No, not anymore. I have taken on Beauty Editor for Oxygen magazine so I am really enjoying exploring with what is out there in the industry and experimenting and playing and there is a lot of freedom in that. I don’t have to be biased, I can pick and choose the best of brands.

What are your Holy Grail beauty products?
Definitely a bottle of water and lots of sleep. The one thing I wear everyday is my lipstick that is by Limecrime and everyone wants to know what red lipstick it is. It just stays on and even when I wash my face I get pink lips, I can’t live without my red lipstick. I absolutely love Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair.

Where do  you turn to for education and training in the industry?
I actually turn to other makeup artists and I look at their work and I love watching them work. The internet is a forum these days to learn what new tips and tricks there are, and places like the Sydney Beauty Expo. Nicola Burford’s talk here (at Sydney International Beauty Expo)  on translating runway looks to normal everyday people was really informative... I was straight down at Crown brushes after stocking up!

You have worked with the likes of Alex Perry and Sophie Monk. Is there a favourite famous face you have worked with? 
Um, no there is no favourite because they are all exciting and just really lovely people. I am pretty lucky, I don’t attract people I don’t like working with. (thinks) I would have to say Martin Short, the comedian was pretty exciting to work with because he really understood the impact of good makeup and because I was a big fan of his back in the 80’s!

What is the best way for aspiring makeup artists to get their name out there in publications?
Not shutting up about yourself and really being a good listener of what other people want. It is about making a good impression while on the job because people will remember the things you do. 30% of what a makeup artist does is makeup and 70%of what we do is who we are, what we do and making sure everyone has what they need on the shoot. Also not having an ego and just being really easy to get along with. That’s the best way of getting the way out there.

What are you wearing on your nails today?
I’m wearing gold Minx nails today – I’ve been Minx’d! They're gold... I love them! I feel pimped, like, in the ghetto! I don’t like long nails, although I am impressed by the nails here. I also love the Shellac , they did those at Fashion Week and straight away it sets.

For more information on Becca and her work please click here