I recently witnessed something on twitter that made me think. Lady of the Lane has a post written up about it and I am not interested in getting into that particular occurrence but it did lead me to think about makeup artistry. This post might be a bit piece meal but I've been thinking of it for a few days now.
The arts fields in particular are very cutthroat and I think everyone has a bit of pride in regards to their profession but when you create something, I think you get a bit more defensive of your trade. Many art fields require years of schooling and years of grunt work. It takes something special for someone to notice you and make you a viable living. For many makeup artists, schooling or not, it usually involves either highly marketing yourself and networking (knowing someone famous or a respected artist is also helpful) and or working at counters to develop further skill, which can produce a rather paltry salary. Back when I was thinking of making the switch from desk jockey to makeup artist in my own career, the salary of a counter makeup artist was depressing and if you wanted benefits too, you had to be married to a rich husband or living at home. So it's understandable how someone values not only their skill but the work they have put in to get where they are today.
I went to school for Architecture. It was insanely competitive even before we got there. The Architecture school of the college I applied to had a 9% acceptance rate, 9% - on par with the likes of Harvard. Competitions among students were often, the work was hard, sleep was rare. You had to be good enough to not get into the bottom few or else you were politely suggested to leave the program. Even though we were friendly, there was always competition; if it meant staying in studio till 5am instead of a classmate's 3am to make your bricks look more textured in your final pin up, you did it. Anything to live your dream and be great and potentially be the next great Architect.
That being said, many great makeup artists start off in a completely different field, some are self taught and then put themselves out there as helpers of more knowledgeable gurus (for lack of better word). It is my belief that most people that have creative bones in their body can do makeup. Sure, as most art professions go, it takes knowledge of history, trends, how to use products, etc. I don't think you need a school or a plaque on the wall to proclaim you are a makeup artist (though some countries/states require this). To be a makeup artist, you need to completely believe in yourself and be proactive. You need to do as many faces as you can. But you need to believe in your skills and dare I say, be a little cocky. You are the expert. Why would they pick anyone else when they can pick you? I was watching some IMATS footage, and I saw the body painting. Many artists can do that, makeup or otherwise.
So what am I really saying here? To be quite honest, I'm not entirely sure. I empathize with the artists who believe someone that didn't go through their own hardships to suddenly getting the fame or money they may have desired weren't well deserved. I know makeup is fun and everyone kind of wants to take part. I personally haven't done freelance work since my back troubles so I'm not 'in the field'. As I said, in any art professional, it is going to be competitive and your competitors aren't going to welcome you with open arms. You need to be your best marketer, your best PR, the face of "Sally Sue Makeup Artist".
Even after applying makeup on 100s of faces, I didn't have the guts to call up a local well known artist to shadow them. I knew no one. You need to know everyone.
Just some thoughts.
(Sorry for the ramble/long post)
If you came over to read this post, please read the comments too. I have some really awesome readers and they raise some really thought provoking points as well!