With Halloween just around the corner, we thought we’d commemorate the occasion with a Halloween themed #BeautyBoss instalment. Australian artist, YouTube-er and social media gun FreakmoFX has been gracing our social media feeds with all things gorey for years with her extraordinary skills in the art of SFX makeup.
We had the pleasure of chatting to Kiana about her career, her top tips for nailing the perfect spooky Halloween look and this months upcoming Screamfest.
What drew you to special effects makeup?
I actually grew up hating horror movies and gore, but I’ve always really enjoyed costume parties, and makeup was usually a part of that, so I’ve dabbled in basic effects since I was a teenager. It wasn’t until 2012 when I was invited to a zombie crawl that I really started experimenting with latex, fake blood and wounds.
I learnt how to do some simple effects by an English makeup artist called Stuart Bray, he had some of the better tutorials on YouTube. I put a photo of that zombie makeup on reddit, and it got to the front page of /r/pics and I had a lot of supportive comments saying that I should continue to pursue makeup effects. A couple of months later it was Halloween so I got a face cast made of myself to sculpt on, and built up a ripped away mouth for a zombie Audrey Hepburn look.
I posted it to reddit and it got picked up by a bunch of websites and went viral. I continued playing with makeup occasionally, teaching myself new techniques and posting it online, showing people how I made them on YouTube. One of those videos has 19 million views.
That hobby grew into me making larger moulds, encapsulated silicone pieces and trying to learn more professional materials and techniques. A few years later I left my PhD in Art because I wanted to pursue being a makeup artist and got invited to work on my first big feature film in the prosthetics department.
Describe your ultimate special effects makeup look. (Do you follow a ‘more gore the better’ philosophy?)
A lot of beginners quickly discover that the gorier something is, the more likely it will get attention and likes online. But as makeup artists get more and more experienced, it becomes evident that gore is really easy, and the greatest challenge is to have a makeup which no one actually knows is a makeup, whether it’s a really convincing old age makeup (like Tilda Swinton in Suspiria), or a character makeup to change someone’s identity.
What has been a career highlight for you so far as a SFX artist?
One of the main things that gets me really excited is when a really established, well known makeup artist in the industry acknowledges or compliments my work online, Instagram has been amazing for that. One of my favourite makeup artists, and one of the most talented in the industry in my opinion, found my work on Instagram and invited me to work on a feature film over in Queensland in 2016.
I honestly thought I was still asleep when I got his message. Why would an Oscar winning makeup artist invite someone from Instagram to work on an international feature film?! I was over there for seven weeks and learnt a lot about the industry.
What are your top 3 holy grail makeup products to perfecting a SFX look?
Definitely alcohol activated colours, they’re really important for getting subtle washes of colours for skin tone matching, wound colouring, detailing etc. Prosthetics also make a huge difference, whether it’s a larger foam latex piece for creatures, smaller subtle prosaide transfers, or encapsulated silicone prosthetics– having something with paper thin edges, nice detailing, and good movement will make application faster and produce a more realistic makeup effect.
Lastly, my third choice would probably be a good matte sealer, I like Bluebird’s product, because if you’ve got a perfect edge, spot on colour matching, but the prosthetic is way shinier than the skin around it, it will give away the edge placement– so it’s great to be able to mattify and seal it.
Since Halloween is right around the corner, what are your top tips to nailing a spooky look?
I think the quickest way to looking spooky is to remove your eyebrows, which you can see in my recent mermaid makeup. Lenses and teeth are also a great way to make something look unsettling, just make sure you’re doing it safely (see an optometrist for lenses, only use dental/mouth safe products for inside the mouth, such as dental distortions pre made teeth). You also can’t go wrong with a lot of blood!
You have a collaboration with Kraken Rum this Halloween, What can people expect at ‘Screamfest’ this year?
They’re playing the classic Creature from the Black Lagoon in a historic cinema, an ‘80-year-old art deco theatre rammed to the rafters with mutant mermaids, undead sailors and other ‘horrors from the deep’. They’ve also got creepy things happening like a wall of possessed hands, they have face painters on site if you want to have some makeup done for the event, and tickets include two Kraken cocktails, popcorn, and pick n’ mix, for only $20 per ticket. I really love going to the cinema, so I’m looking forward to the combination of two of my favourite things: popcorn and movies + creepy Halloween things.
It’s time to whip out the alcohol activated colours and get gorey for Halloween!
Keep your eyes peeled for our next edition of #BeautyBoss & stay tuned for more Beauty News!