Making up for lockdown: The artistic struggle

Lockdown may have us down but these makeup artists are only going up

Courtesy Noémie Gauthier
Courtesy Noémie Gauthier
Courtesy Noémie Gauthier

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit local artists hard financially, the impact on their creativity often gets overlooked.

Two Montreal-based makeup artists who share their looks on Instagram told The Link how the lockdown has affected their inspiration.

Twenty-five year old makeup artist Jacqueline Pogue, @jacquibeauty on Instagram, said “having the whole event industry being totally ruined in 2020” was challenging to endure.

Pogue specializes in bridal makeup and said the unforeseen pause in her business had an impact on her as an artist. “My Instagram really is to drive my services but […] being in the event industry, all weddings and every type of outing was cancelled,” she explained. “You know, this is my full-time job.”

She took pride in generating a stable income as a makeup artist after working full-time for five years. “This year, having every single contract cancelled really took a beating on the creativity.”

Pogue was quick to turn things around, however, and pointed out that what’s important as an artist is to be versatile.

As bridal makeup can be repetitive sometimes, Pogue enjoys letting her creativity loose by doing special effects makeup.

Courtesy Jacqueline Pogue

Thinking outside of the box, Pogue created a zombie look by using acrylic nails. She wishes more artists would use different mediums in their work during this second lockdown.

She was inspired by other artists who used unique supplies in their makeup looks such as yarn to create facial hair. Instagram user @lapetitevengeance even used pieces of hot glue they shaped into tears to integrate into their looks.

“It’s all intertwined. When you look at painting or drawing, where you’re putting light and where you’re putting shadow, it’s the same for makeup,” she said.

Pogue emphasized that there are so many content creators who are talented and inspire others to be more creative in the way they approach makeup.

Twenty-four year old Noémie Gauthier, @nglooks, also draws her inspiration from social media, including Instagram and Pinterest.

“I don’t think it’s always about what gets more followers or what gets more money. If I just posted brown smokey eyes all the time I would literally shoot my brains out.” — Jacqueline Pogue

The Instagram content creator is at her best creatively when she can combine different sources of inspiration. Gauthier described an orange and navy blue look of hers. “I saw it on Pinterest but I kind of changed it a bit to match a shirt that I bought from my friend’s small business,” Gauthier said.

Unlike Pogue, everyday looks are not Gauthier’s specialty when it comes to her brand.

The pandemic and lockdown is what made Gauthier discover her niche. “I really want to draw things on my face rather than just put eyeshadow on.”

A pumpkin look she created made her get out of her comfort zone and use paint. “That was the one that made me realize I really want to do more artistic stuff with makeup.”

Spending more time at home, Gauthier got to really think in depth about what looks she wants to create and the direction she wants her page to take.

Courtesy Jacqueline Pogue

When she started posting makeup looks on Instagram four years ago, Gauthier used the platform as a means to share her hobby and improve her skills as well.

“People who like makeup can just follow it,” she had told herself.

Over the past few months, her Instagram page became a real focus for her and she is ready to take things to the next level. “I try to do as many looks as I can,” she said.

Gauthier even started a series she called Beanie to take advantage of her collection of headwear. She would match her eyeshadow to the colour of one of her beanies. “I did a look for every colour,” she said.

Courtesy Jacqueline Pogue

This series helped her branch out and experiment with colour. “People are not going to notice me if I do the same thing,” she said.

For Pogue, however, doing her own makeup felt repetitive at times. “I definitely got tired of my own face in lockdown because I was just beating my own face,” she said. “Then I would take a photo and then literally take it off.”

Not providing her bridal services also made Pogue branch out into using colours she would not normally use on her clients, such as lilacs and blues.

“I find when I allow myself to be more creative and do looks that are different [and not] necessarily wearable […], those posts actually get more engagement because they are different,” Pogue said.

She emphasized the hardships of how social media can affect an artist’s inspiration.

Photo by @mels.photographs. Courtesy Noémie Gauthier

“During the lockdown, we’re on our phones. As an artist, when you’re scrolling through and seeing so many talented artists, depending on the day, […] it can either be super motivating or discouraging, but I feel like that is just the process of being an artist.”

And although Pogue sees her page as a way to attract new clients, creating a variety of looks is what keeps it interesting for her. “I don’t think it’s always about what gets more followers or what gets more money. If I just posted brown smokey eyes all the time I would literally shoot my brains out.”

Gauthier definitely sees both sides to being a content creator. “Social media can be very negative, but when you get on the artistic side, it can be positive as well,” she said.

She feels hopeful for the current situation as she now has a list of looks and series she is excited to do in this lockdown.