A makeup artist is someone who uses the human body as their canvas. They create looks for fashion magazines, feature films, television programs, modeling shows and any other creative context where a transformation is needed.
Despite the fact that great makeup jobs are often celebrated, the artist who did the job doesn’t always get their spot in the limelight for it. However, there are successful makeup artists whose work is world-renowned.
These five people are considered industry leaders, in some cases pioneers, and in all cases, creative virtuosos.
- Dick Smith
Dick Smith is one of the world’s top special effects makeup artists. Through his technical innovations, flawless eye for detail and imaginative mastery, he has inspired other artists for over half a century.
Smith is best known for his work on the Godfather films and The Exorcist. He also teaches courses in special effects makeup and has mentored some of Hollywood’s best artists.
- Rick Baker
Rick Baker’s first foray into the world of special effects makeup was with Dick Smith. Baker worked as an assistant to Smith on The Exorcist and absorbed everything he could from his boss. He then went on to create the looks for An American Werewolf in London and Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.
Baker also created the look for the title character in Harry and the Hendersons.
- Sam Fine
Sam Fine is one of the highest paid makeup artists working today. He is the first African-American hired as a spokesperson for Revlon cosmetics, and continues to break the colour barrier in the field of fashion makeup artistry by producing a line of cosmetics for darker skin. Fine has worked with Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Queen Latifah and many other powerful women.
- Gucci Westman
Gucci Westman is known for her work with Nathalie Portman and Drew Barrymore. She’s one of the top female makeup artists in the business and was once the International Artistic Director for Lancôme.
Westman now works as Revlon’s Global Artistic Director, and is responsible for creating its popular Daydreamer and Suede Rhapsody collections.
- Pat McGrath
Pat McGrath is a distinguished makeup artist. How distinguished? Vogue Magazine named her as the “Most Influential Makeup Artist in the World Today”.
McGrath started her career doing makeup for the crème de crème of the fashion world,working the backstage of the Paris, Milan and New York runways. McGrath is responsible for Armani’s cosmetics line and was once the Beauty Director for Max Factor and Cover Girl.
Honourable mentions go to Stan Winston, Rob Bottin, Charlie Green and Tom Pecheux.