Allow me to introduce you to my friend Selena Navarrete. Words like “art” and “artist” get tossed around often but Selena and her work magnificently embodies these words. Seriously people, she makes me want to remove the word “artist” from my title because she brings an entirely different level of meaning to the term.
I was super fortunate to enjoy a long conversation with her about her life and her craft–which are one and the same–and was left marveling at how a single person can possess such ability and imagination! Selena creates Mexican folk art and also happens to be an amazing makeup artist (she even does permanent makeup!)…Did I mention she is entirely self taught?
“As far back as I can remember I’ve always thought of myself as an artist. We were pretty broke growing up, but my mom would always think of fun projects like going to the beach to collect things to glue to paper. Instead of spending money we made art, would paint, would draw.”
“I started out in fine arts…I loved photography and even had my own dark room. I also painted with oils and acrylics. I started working on gourds after becoming a mother. Once my daughter and son were born we went to Apple Hill every year. One year we went and there were Apple gourds . I thought they looked like a box of skulls…so I got a box and started painting!”
“I learned there was a local gourd farm in Folsom. So I went out there and realized there were so many different shapes of gourds. So I started sculpting with them. Blue (her son) suggested cutting them in half for two masks.”
“My father is Puerto Rican, mom is Mexican and creole. The Day of the Dead connection in my work…comes from dealing with death, not from necessarily the cultural root of the traditions. I wasn’t born in a small Mexican town. I grew up in south central LA.”
“It’s not that I have a fascination of death, but more how society deals with death. In western culture, people die and you put it away quickly and move on. People are practically like, ‘Aren’t you over it yet?’ I love Mexican culture because death is just an extension of life. You bring the mementos out, you remember those who pass on a regular basis and it makes things not seem so final like it is in western culture.”
“Apparently in Puerto Rico, mask making is foundational in their arts. I thought that was so interesting. I look back and wonder that some things are innately inside of you…part of the connection you feel to things that weren’t necessarily part of the culture you were raised in.”
“I feel like my love of makeup came from my grandmother. My grandmother was gorgeous. She was a diva. Purse, shoes, outfit…all put together all the time. Never left the house undone. She let me play with her makeup and wear her jewelry. It just was a part of my art.”
The first day of 7th grade was the best day of my life. It was the first day I could wear makeup. My mom bought me a little palette and I wore every color in it! Lash line to brow stripes of the shadow colors. I thought I was the sh*t and I looked crazy! Since that day, makeup was a part of my life. I’m currently taking on permanent makeup (at Sidney Le Beauty)…taking my makeup skills and understanding of color and art so I’m able to impact someone on a permanent basis.
“I don’t know how not to make art. I cannot live without it. There are always things I’m thinking of. I can see things in my minds eye, completed. Whether it’s a makeup or a sculpture. I see it before I finish it. Because of that, I have to do it. I see it already completed, so I’m compelled to do it. It’s not what I want tomake, it becomes what I need to make. Pain, grief, and sorrow are universal themes. Not everyone understands my art but when I see the people who are impacted by it, it makes me happy.”
“As I get older and I sculpt more faces…I think of all of the faces that I’ve touched. People share their vulnerabilities with you when you’re doing their makeup, they tell you sad things. That has helped me become a better artist. And those skills are incorporated. Like my sculptures even get lashes and I paint on their makeup. It gives it a special aesthetic because of my makeup background.”
“Doing someone’s makeup is important. It changes them and they can feel good about themselves. You have the chance to negate what they think. Everyone sits down and has something bad to say about themselves. I get to say, ‘What are you talking about? I don’t see that, I see this…’ That keeps me doing what I’m doing.”
Cheers to Masks, Makeup, and the Abilty to help someone see their true self,
December 10, 2015
What do you do when you find yourself going through a major life change? Why, start a makeup line of course! Meet Debbie Bondar, the genius behind Canadian brand FACE Atelier. I was lucky enough to have a conversation with her recently and I’m so excited to share about this line with you all!
She embodies the kind of woman we love here at P&P: educated, intelligent, tenacious, business savvy, and able to rock lipstick while doing it all!
Debbie describes starting FACE Atelier as her post divorce reinvention. With her life shifting gears, she found herself evaluating her beauty routine and realized that despite being in her forties, she had yet to find her perfect foundation match, “I have a basic olive complexion. If I can’t find a good shade then who can?”
So she took her experience and education (did I mention her background is in journalism and law?!) and launched a brand full of not-so-secret weapons that you’ll find in the kits of many celebrity makeup artists.
FACE Atelier prides themselves on their universal appeal and was designed for consumers while still meeting the needs of professional makeup artists. Debbie shared a simple but very real truth, “Artists and consumers want the same thing: High performing easy to use products that help them look their best.”
The brand has a less is more vibe, with no-nonsense packaging and multitasking products rather than having a multitude of products for singular needs. Products that are developed by listening to the feedback and needs of the artists and people who use them? You bet…function and performance are in mind when items are launched, not trend.
Debbie shared the impact she feels cosmetics can have, “Healthy self esteem is exceptionally important…I’m a mother of daughters. So much illness starts from within! Makeup can be an important tool in a woman’s toolbox to help her feel better if she so chooses.”
As far as those specific “tools” goes, stay tuned in the coming weeks on Instagram and here on the blog for some product breakdowns and favorites from FACE Atelier! Oh, did i mention the line is Peta and Leaping Bunny approved?!
“I always believed there was magic in the bottle,” we do too, Debbie!
Cheers to Makeup, Multitasking, and Magic in the bottle,
June 17, 2015
This week I had the immense pleasure of attending the VIP Adesign Brush Party at The Specialists Salon in San Francisco hosted by Erica Carr! Not only was I there to experience and review the Adesign Brushes as an artist, but I also was invited to cover the event as a blogger…if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you saw a bit of the play by play of the night (You don’t?! Let’s change that! @polishandpout). Here’s a peek into how this amazing night went…
The soiree was in one of my favorite places…San Francisco! Red carpet? Yes please!
Clockwise from top left: Me and fellow beauty blogger Renee Hamilton, New friend and fellow artist Trisha, Pre-party toast, Cheers!
Bubbly is nice and getting to see other artists is always fun…but the main reason we were there was of course for the brushes! We all had the chance to try the Adesign brushes out first hand on each other.
Two of the brushes there for our review have not even hit the market yet! One face and one eye brush…such innovative shapes! How incredible it was that Adesign wanted to include the artistry community in their product development! If the feedback is good…we may see these brush shapes hitting the shelves!
Adesign Brushes is a private label brand. They develop brushes for companies like Smashbox, Sephora, and Laura Mercier. I went home with around 7 brushes and cannot wait to use them extensively this month and give a full in-depth review soon! So stay tuned!
From the left: Beauty Director for Adesign Brushes Shana King, our hosts Erica and Lulu, and Anisa herself (the President of Anisa International, the company who owns Adesign).
Yum! The appetizers were divine! Such a fun night…having so many amazing artists in one place is a rare treat! I am so thankful for the new friendships and connections that were made last night!
Me and Beauty Expert Shana King…she is lovely yes? I must say, her complexion was immaculate!
Cheers to Bubbly, Beauty, and Brushes,
August 24, 2012
One of the highlights of my summer so far was attending the annual pro-roadshow by Makeup Forever (MUFE) in San Francisco! Last year was amazing and I knew that this year would be even better! I was not disappointed!
Maya came with me and even treated me to a hair cut! She also taught me how to do a proper “blowout.” Sure, I’ve read how to in magazines…but actually having someone show you in person is better! Always love me some how-to for hair!
The education was amazing…everything from practical techniques (use tape to pick up stray glitter off of the face!) to business advice (what does my “brand” say to my clients?)! So thankful that MUFE and these educators care enough to invest in the artistry community!
I love the W Hotel and discovered while I was there that I like espresso. I’ve always been a tea drinker…Maya came with me and educated me on “real coffee, the way we have it in Europe!”
We made some new friends too! This is me and Vanessa of BeautyMarkInk. It was great being able to dish with our artists about product, business, and even what apps we love as makeup artists! By the way, if you ever find yourself at the W, order the yellow tail…it was the BEST sashimi I’ve ever had! Yum…getting hungry just thinking about it…
I think it’s important to always be sharpening your skills in whatever field it is that you work in! Increased knowledge equals increased confidence. And community and camaraderie is so important! Not to mention, shopping for makeup is always a good idea too right?
Cheers to Community, Camaraderie, and Confidence,
July 30, 2012