Monday, November 10, 2014

Lets Meet: Anthony Gordon, Makeup Artist

photographer David Leslie Anthony for British Cosmo
By Paola Hornbuckle

So often we see the glorious images in the magazines and admire the models and the clothing designers but do we ever stop to think about who created the picture-perfect makeup that completes the vision? Anthony Gordon is one such makeup artist, and he has succeeded at the highest levels. Based out of Los Angeles, he has worked in commercials, movies, upscale magazines and with celebrities and members of royal families.
Grandson of the actor/stuntman Jack Gordon and son of Emmy winner Stan Gordon, he grew up in the movie lots of Hollywood. His career began in the Los Angeles punk rock scenes of the late 70’s and 80’s, where he cut hair and did make-up in the patios of local nightclubs. While working at one of Los Angeles’ first punk rock salons, he was invited to join avant-garde designers Nicola Pelly and Harry Parness to create some of the looks for their fashion shows at the trailblazing Parachute in Beverly Hills. It was his first taste of runway fashion and he fell in love with the creativity and energy of working in a team environment.
Since then Anthony has continued to work in fashion and advertising while bringing his unique take on pop culture and old, Hollywood glamour to film and television. He was worked with such greats as David Chapelle, Peter Arnell, and John Landis. His work can be seen on billboards from Times Square to Hollywood, and in the pages of Cosmo, UK, Rolling Stone, Moda FG, Angelino, to name a few. Anthony was kind enough to answer some questions about his remarkable career and the sizzling punk scene that opened the world to him and inspired his first flash of creative inspiration and self-identity.

ANF: You came of age in the Punk Scene, what was this scene really about? What did that look stand for?

Anthony Gordon 
AG: The Punk Rock scene for me was my coming of age - yes! I feel so lucky to have been there and been a part of that scene in Los Angeles and alive at that time! It was a crazy, exciting and dangerous time! The scene for me, and I can only speak for myself because we all had a different experience,  was about rejecting the ideals of our fathers. We came out of the 50's and 60's, the sexual revolution, the 70s and disco and wanted something else, something new, exciting, honest, bared down to raw, a way to live that wasn't the same old ideology of our parents. There was also the threat of nuclear war, nuclear energy, so many overwhelming new issues. I needed a release; I needed Art, Music, and Fashion to free me.  I always was intrigued by bands and artists like The Velvet underground, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and T-Rex.  I loved Glam Rock of the early 70s and even used to stay up late at night to secretly to watch Twiggies juke box. I remember the news trashing these people. Shock rock they called it and transvestites (laughs).  I thought they were amazing and free and I wanted that for myself!  I was making a statement for myself and to the world! It was so incredible being a club kid then: it was all new and fresh and it was our scene, it came out in our music, fashion and art. I had never felt so free and empowered. I finally had a voice and I didn't care what anyone though because this is my voice, my look, my art. It was new, although I think a huge chunk of the general population had no idea what was going on. We also had a lot of humor in our music, teaching us not to take ourselves so seriously.  I started out in the hardcore scene in Los Angeles , and then slowly the scene separated and  it evolved into the Hollywood art rock scene , New wave, Mod, New Romantic, Goth, Rockabilly, etc.  These scenes all became considered something different but prior to 1980 it was all considered punk. Our look was an expression of what we were saying and feeling
photographer David Leslie Anthony for Jimon Magazine

ANF: How can a new make-up artist stand out in today’s job market?

AG: If you want to stand out you have to develop a style unto yourself and that takes time, study the works of others and take what you like and add your own special take on a look, learn to edit yourself, develop a great working personality because people want to work with people with whom they enjoy spending 8 to 16 hours a day. Get viral but also remember the web is forever so be smart about how you represent yourself online as well as in person.  Also learn about lighting and color temperature, this is indispensable as you are testing and building a book.
ANF: What projects are you currently working on?

photographer Klara G for M Magazine
AG: I just got done working with members of a royal family and am looking forward to all my commercials for the Super Bowl and the Oscars, as I wait for the next film. I also think a book will be in the works which I'm excited about! I love to share my experience and work so it’s about that time to write a book.

ANF: How have things changed for make-up artists since you first started?

AG: It was much easier when I started, there weren't any makeup schools and you had to shadow other artists to learn or and test and practice. The industry wasn't flooded like it is today. Rates were higher and with all the new makeup artists being pumped out of schools, literally thousands a month, it is driving rates down. New make-up artists don't know what they should be charging so they are giving it away after paying a small fortune for schools and their kits. I mean does a plumber, electrician, or any other skilled professional charge less because they are new?  No!  My rates have always been in relation to what the job "should" pay regardless if it’s my first job or not. Always charge accordingly because if not, you're ultimately shooting yourself in the foot.

ANF: Does the punk scene still inspire your work? And if not, what does?
Andrea R

AG: Punk will always be a part of me and yes I do pull references from my past , but it’s not the soul of my inspiration, that comes from emotion, and what I'm trying to say with each piece of work. Depending on the job, I pull from my experience and I try to add my part to create the vision my client/team desires to the best of my abilities. Being a makeup artist is just one piece of the vision; wardrobe, hair, photography, and lighting creates the full picture, so learn to work in harmony with your team.  I am constantly studying the works of others, be it fine art, makeup, fashion or music. I find inspiration in all that surrounds me. It’s a beautiful world we live in!

Click Here to see more of Anthony Gordon's work.

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