The act of putting on makeup is a deeply personal act. My makeup is how I want to present to the world, it is part of the performance I deliver in my day-to-day life. Throughout my work as an artist I have depicted various characters in different stages of performance, their faces adorned with their own personal makeup. Makeup can act as a disguise, almost a mask. A way for creativity to be displayed on the face, but also a way to disguise what would rather be hidden. An exaggerated form of makeup is that of a clown’s. A clown’s makeup is curated to express their intentions and emotions, to help an audience identify them. But often, especially in modern times, this blatant expression of emotion is read as uncanny, the audience can’t trust a clown's true intentions because their makeup just might be a lie. In my thesis film Scarlet Cabaret I aim to represent makeup as an act of performance through the exaggeration and unease brought on by a clown’s theatricality contrasted with the defiant sexuality of a 1920’s cabaret.
Scarlet Cabaret is a stop motion animated short that follows Rose Lesow, a 1920’s cabaret performer as she spirals into insanity in preparation for her final performance. Having previously dreamed of performing as a pierrot, Rose, in vengeful hate against her manager, dons her rejected pierrot costume, a knife hidden in the confines of the fabric and walks out on stage. The film will be a somber look at burlesque, beauty, and monstrosity, viewed through the lens of the performer’s struggles.
My stop motion thesis film Scarlet Cabaret will reveal that monstrosity is not intrinsic but acquired. That my character’s existence as a burlesque dancer and the stresses she’s under have molded and shaped her. Thus the way in which I frame my character will skew how the audience perceives her actions, state of mind, and monsterhood. I will reveal that the act of her putting on makeup, can reveal much of her inner workings, her perception of beauty, and her descent into monstrosity.
I am fascinated by the monstrous, the beautiful, and the theatrical. A monster is able to express the anxieties of any given era by embodying what the originating society is out to reject. These creations are integral to the cultural horror associated with them. In turn, I find makeup and the act of altering or covering facial features to reveal the other side of society's preferences. Much like a monster can reveal fears, makeup can reveal what the wearer fears about their own appearance. Through my thesis film Scarlet Cabaret I reveal that monstrosity is not intrinsic but acquired. That the way in which I frame my character will skew how the audience perceives her actions, state of mind, and monsterhood. I will reveal that the act of her putting on makeup, can reveal much of her inner workings, her perception of beauty, and her descent into monstrosity.
I'm a stop motion animator as well as a puppet fabricator. I use primarily wire armature puppets but also incorporate Paper puppets into my pieces as I’m charmed by the delicate and the ornate beauty of paper silhouettes. My work also opts for high contrast lighting with an emphasis on color to convey emotion and stakes.
I’m very inspired by gothic, theatric, and victorian styles and stories, especially tales like Beauty and the Beast, Frankenstein, or The Phantom of the Opera. These tales aim to reconceptualize what is viewed as monstrous, attempting to redefine monstrosity as not something intrinsic but acquired. I want my work to move in tandem with these tales as I believe they help to tear down societal fears and re-contextualize the meaning of beauty as I myself want to achieve.