You probably already knew that MAC provides makeup and makeup artists for fashion shows all over the world, but did you know that MAC does makeup for music tours, too? If you have tickets to rapper Kanye West’s Glow in the Dark North American tour (April-June, 2008), expect to see MAC in action. The MAC team is creating the looks for several of the dancers, backup singers and accompanying musicians on the tour.
And Glow in the Dark isn’t the first MAC/Kanye partnership. They’ve been at it for years, with MAC working on a number of Kanye’s tours, special performances and videos.
To find out more about how MAC works with performers on large concerts and events, I spoke with MAC Senior Makeup Artist Jennifer Karsten. Jennifer worked on Kanye’s Touch the Sky tour, his 2007 MTV Music Video Awards appearance and the Flashing Lights video.
Jennifer did the makeup for the girl in this video. Yo, shuttle the kids into the other room before you watch this because the end is kinda graphic.
Unlike the full-time singers, dancers and musicians who travel with an artist on tour, MAC artists are usually assigned at each stop along the way. How do all these different makeup artists in different cities maintain a consistent makeup look throughout a lengthy tour? “We all communicate through the senior artists and global communications,” Jennifer says, “so everyone knows what the look is and to keep the continuity going.”
MAC artists working on high-profile music events face challenges that makeup artists working fashion shows don’t often face. Large concerts are complex productions. “When you’re dealing with someone more high profile,” says Jennifer, “you have a lot more channels to go through.” It can be more difficult or challenging to really get the look correct because you’re filtering an idea through someone else.
For one of his performances at the 2007 MTV music video awards, Kanye wanted a futuristic, glamorous, high fashion makeup look. The MAC team envisioned a glossy, futuristic cat eye (ooh, me likey!). MAC artists created a “test look” on one of the orchestra performers. It then took six hours, several calls, and pictures taken with cell phones to get the test look approved. That left the team with only 20 minutes to replicate the look on the rest of the orchestra.
And, ultimately, fashion show makeup isn’t meant to overshadow the clothing. That’s not always the case in a concert, where the makeup often defines the look.