Feature interview with make up artist @sweetmutuals
By Lena Blacker
Sweeping us up in the new age of makeup is @sweetmutuals, or Ali - a student and Instagram sensation based in Columbus, Georgia.
Radically altering our perceptions of makeup and what it can achieve, her inspiration ranges from classic art to fashion, music and even her own visual artwork. Bringing editorial makeup into the mainstream expands the boundaries of makeup and challenges preconceptions that it's nothing but a deceptive coverup.
We spoke to Ali about the positive and negative aspects of Instagram, self love and how her makeup has evolved into art.
What role do you think Instagram has to play in the realm of creativity and self image? Does it foster and harness creativity but damage and challenge our sense of self worth/image? Is this all changing?
Instagram in the realm of creativity is very beneficial to me. It helps me get ideas for my work and to get constructive criticism from my peers. I feel like Instagram helps me feel more confident in my work through the likes and comments, but it gets to a certain point where Instagram makes you feel very insecure about your work. After a while, you don’t get as much likes and/or your engagement goes down and it makes you think that you are doing something wrong. It makes you feel like your work is wrong. But you have realize that Instagram is nothing more than a portfolio to place your work. The whole world can see your creativity and you have the opportunity to get noticed by very influential people. It is both a blessing and a curse but that is life!
You’re really pushing the boundaries of make up by using your face as a canvas for art - how important do you think it is that there’s a safe space for people to be able to achieve this ?
It is very important to at first, be okay with who you are as a person It is more than just painting something on your face it is staring at yourself for an hour or 2 and focusing on a detailed part of your face for minutes on end. You have to be okay with yourself because you can mess up at any time and it up to you not to blame yourself or get frustrated, but to breathe and try again. It also takes a lot of self love not only to take a selfie but then post it on a social network for the whole world to see! Being comfortable with who you are needs a safe space, but I feel like you can create a safe space for yourself. Once you realize that you are your own person and you know that you are limitless, there is no need for a safe space.
Makeup inspired by Ali's own artwork (left)
Who inspires you the most?
My mom. My mom is my best friend, my role model, and my guardian angel. She shows me how to be strong and how to take each day with a smile, even if there is something that is trying to bring you down. She doesn’t let any strife stop her from doing what makes her happy, she always finds a way to come out strong. My mom tells me not to worry about the things I can’t control and teaches me patience. It is my mom that makes me feel like I can do anything, because I will always have her support and love.
Has Instagram allowed for experimentation in make up to enter the mainstream? Would you /have you ever been in public with some of your more daring looks?
I feel like Instagram has allowed editorial make up to become mainstream. It is something that is seen as art and is very captivating. I don’t wear my daring looks out, only because I don’t like having a lot of makeup or products on my face for a long period of time, but you can catch me wearing stars on my eyebrows or a heavy amount of Glossier’s Cloudpaint blush!
How do you think your make up/ art has evolved/developed?
It has developed very drastically. I went from wearing only lipstick and mascara to drawing angels and sticking string, pearls, flowers and so much more on my face. I never really knew how to do makeup traditionally, but I knew that it was something I loved. I decided to make makeup something that is familiar to me- paint. So I look at it as me painting on a obscure canvas.
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