The leaves are nearly gone and their empty branches cast shadows like skeletons reaching for your very life, and so it seems nature is ready for Hallowe'en. Are you? I haven't exactly decided what I'm going to be but it will probably involve a lot of make-up because it can transform you in a way that plain costuming can not. Saskatoon's Tamsen Rae is an incredibly gifted make-up artist who can turn beast to beauty (I should know because she's worked her magic on my little brother! Just kidding, S.J., you're a perfectly handsome dude.)... and beauty to beast. Being that a “good zombie” can take up to three hours, Tamsen has long been booked solid for the 27th and 31st but you'll certainly be inspired by some of her macabre and outlandish creations. I recentely caught up with Miss Rae to talk a little about Hallowe'en and she offered a few insights and tips!
Me: What are some of your favorite Halloween characters to create in make-up?
T: Anything challenging and original. I prefer to have more creative control than to try and re-create a pr-existing character. However, zombies are always fun.
Tamsen in action, creating a character for Saskatoon's popular Zombie Walk. Trio of photos by AG Photography.
Me: What media do you use to change the shape of a face?
T: I use a morticians wax or nose putty for molding.
The fabulous Miss Piggy, captured by AG Photography
This rabbit is one of my all-time favorite works by Tamsen. Photo by Jeff Hamon Photography.
Me: Do you have any tips re: making fake blood look less fake?
T: Sometimes it's too bright and transparent so I'll add a little black acrylic paint.
Half-decomposed face photo by AG Photography.
Brain-eating zombie photo by Kevin Greggain
Me: How do you feel about specialty contact lenses?
T: Love them! Especially with the creepier character concepts.
Our girl herself, with eyes as clear and blue as the ocean ...of death!
Me: A lot of classic costumes (ghost, clown, vampire) require a base of white face paint. Is there a way to keep it from looking flaky or prevent possible break-outs?
T: I would suggest moisturizing your face really well and then applying a primer. Sometimes I mix up a pearl white cream shadow with the lightest foundation I can find. I don't like the greasiness of face paint so I don't use it if I don't have to.
According to my logic, if a clown is crying on the outside they're really laughing on the inside. Clown photo by Martine Sansoucy.
Me: And what if you *want* your skin to look cracked and flaky?
T: I mix liquid latex with paper towel to give the skin that dead, textured effect.
Aaaaaaaaaaaak! This guy is going to murder me in my sleep! Photo by Martine Sansoucy.
One more from that shoot because oh my god.
Me: What are you dressing up as for Halloween this year?
T: No idea. I probably won't be left with much time for myself. We shall see what I can whip up.
Tamsen as a sexy Hallowe'en lion in a photo that will make her ask WHERE DID MAYGEN GET THAT? Circa 2007.
And of course, you don't have to be a zombie or a man-eating clown to use make-up to your advantage this Hallowe'en. Here, the lovely Alexandria Pavelich channels a woodland creature, care of Tamsen's talents.
Etherial photo by Jeff Hamon.
And with this very last Q & A, you'll feel more inspired than ever:
Me: Artistic ability may be innate, but how did you actually learn how to create what you saw in your mind?
T: I'm completely self-educated. I read a ton of magazines and books and I watch tutorials on-line.
Years of practice makes perfect. Incredible swamp monster by Tamsen, immortilized in photo by AG Photography.
Title picture features a zombie creation by Tamsen. Photo by Daniel Belhumeur