Emmy Award Winning Makeup Artist Brad Look Joins The DMK Makeup Team by Danné
When Hollywood people think of makeup artists, the name Brad Look is one of the first that comes to mind. Being the unassuming character that he is, Brad would scoff at such a notion. If I did not know him personally, I might think he was a CIA agent with his piercing eyes and unrevealing facial expression.
I first met Brad Look at Spago’s in Beverly Hills several years ago, introduced by a young lady who was studying under him at the time. Impressed by his strong and direct knowledge of professional makeup on the who’s who of the cinema, I little expected that I would soon be a beneficiary of his impeccable instincts and wisdom. A quick Google of ‘Brad Look’ reveals the many achievements he has made in the industry, including winning an Emmy Award!
The Professional Makeup Artist’s Game
Bradley M. Look was born in Glasford Illinois where he grew up in ordinary circumstances as a typical mid-west child. In 1976 when the American Bicentennial was in full force, his life became extraordinary.
His talent for creating things out of nothing brought him into the spotlight when he was asked to help design costumes and “looks” for Bicentennial plays that featured American Founders such as Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. For the first time, he began to experiment with false beards, facial prosthetics and contouring.
At this time Brad was only in the 8th grade, had no formal cosmetic training and procured his makeup products out of magazines. His training is self taught from books, predominantly Richard Corson’s Bible of Makeup! Years later he ended up in Hollywood working for a well known beauty supply house that serviced the studios. From that vantage point he was noticed by the studios and the rest was history.
When asked what he felt was the biggest challenge faced by most new makeup artists today, he stated that they simply did not know colour values. They suffered from a basic lack of makeup theory and product knowledge, preferring to use something ‘fashionable and trendy’, instead of tailoring it to who they were working on and what they were trying to achieve.
“Many young makeup artists are faced with the horrors of high definition filming and cannot handle the totally artificial look that high definition photography can sometimes give to ordinary makeup. They don’t know that each camera system differs from production to production.”
As a board member of the Makeup Artists Union, he is endeavouring to bring more in-depth education to new makeup artists. He draws a distinction between makeup artists who are “copy replicators” or those who follow a basic make up template, and the true makeup artists who can create concepts.
He also noted that there is the handling of the actors, especially the big stars themselves, often a babysitting mission blended with a bit of psychotherapy. “Brad Pitt for example, gives only one and a half hours to makeup artists for any character make up,” he stated. “This means we have to be quick and prepared if he is going from a very old man to a young one over a brief period of time such as shown in his recent film The Curious Life of Benjamin Button.
On the other hand, actors like George Clooney do not like make up at all, and sometimes get their way. “Colours are most important, not silly colours like amber Melon or Fuscia Sunrise, but basic food type colours that look real and can be identified with. Most movies are not a fashion cat walk or a magazine still photo lay out. Aging actresses have to look younger and plain actresses prettier as demanded by their roles”.
A Lifelong Passion
On a tour through one of the main labs that creates special full body effects for films like Star Trek, I even saw a very ancient “Robby the Robot” parked in one of the studio’s storage garages. I was amazed at the amount of fine sculpturing that went into these bits and pieces and prosthetics—all of which had to be realistically applied to a human being by makeup artists. Even adhesives and glues have special techniques that have to be learnt.
While at my age I should probably be looking down the road to retirement, I am proud to say that I have instead decided to set myself to the task of creating the best quality foundation in the world. To be able to say that with conviction gives me a thrill that one does not often get to experience in a lifetime.
DMK Pro panel consists of top International Makeup Artists headed by Brad Look.