Makeup is more than just a way to cover facial blemishes and brighten up circles underneath the eyes for Abbey Black. For her, it’s about creating art.
The 20-year-old uses specially designed paints, molding clay and other tools to create one-of-a-kind special effects on a person’s face and her own.
Each look takes about an hour, including preparation time that entails sketching out her ideas to see if they will work on a face shape, what paint to use and other specifics. The look can take longer if she has to order a product online or design a horn or other attachment out of clay.
“I like to try and figure things out on my own,” Black said.
Now, the former University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus student is focused on attending the Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The six-month program costs $10,000 without living expenses included.
“I have had my eye on (the school) for a while and I think it is my best bet to go,” said Black, who visited the school March 14 with her dad, Byron, who is supportive of her dreams.
Another strong supporter is her boyfriend of three years, Joe Dacus. He is just as excited for her to attend the school.
“I’m glad she has the opportunity to go for something she loves to do,” Dacus said. “I mean, it’s only for a few months, so it won’t be that bad.”
Dacus also physically supports Black’s dreams, offering his own face for her to make her creations.
“I always tell her I’m a free canvas for her to practice on,” he said.
Black, a Cumming resident, discovered the school and its cosmetology program through the television show “Face Off” on the SyFy channel, which began airing in January 2011. The show features special effects artists facing off against each other in a timed elimination competition to create prosthetic looks. The winner walks away with $100,000 and a year’s supply of makeup.
“The intensity of it and having to create such a huge concept in a matter of time is stressful and I think it keeps me on edge,” Black said.
The show’s affinity for the outlandish also inspired her, giving her a future destination and hopefully occupation.
“(The show) was so cool and I was already an art major, so I gave (makeup artistry) a shot and it turned out to be a niche for me,” Black said.
Since then, the young adult has connected with one of Cosmix School’s teachers, Derek Garcia, who was a finalist on the third season of “Face Off.”
“It was so cool to meet him,” Black said. “It was very neat to watch him and then get to know he will be teaching me.”
She will head off to school in October and stay for six months.
However, she will not be headed to the Florida-based school without any kind of training. Black took some art classes at UNG’s Gainesville campus to help her on her journey. In fact, the color theory class helped her discover her hidden talent.
“Having that class helped me pair colors with eye shadows and whatnot,” Black said. “But makeup nowadays is so abstract and individual that anything can really go with anything.”
She also has practical applications of cosmetology. Specifically, she learned color matching through her job at the MAC counter at the Mall of Georgia. Color matching is pairing eyeshadow shades with lipstick color, for example.
She has even used the Internet to expand her knowledge of makeup artistry. Like some newer artists, Black has viewed tutorial videos on YouTube, which go step-by-step on creating special effects makeup. But she prefers not to watch them too often.
“Sometimes watching other artists is discouraging, so that’s why I try not to watch too many,” she said.
But Black does use social media and the Internet to her advantage. She’s already created a bit of success for herself through Instagram. Worldwide brands such as Colourpop, a Los Angeles-based cosmetics brand, send her products to experiment and share with her almost 1,000 Instagram followers.
But ultimately, Black’s dream job is to work on a television show such as “The Walking Dead” or work at Disney or Universal Studios, since she’s a self-proclaimed “Star Wars” fanatic.
“I have always been a big nerd, so I am a sucker for really cool creatures and the strange and weird,” Black said.
But first the young woman must attend and graduate from the Cosmix school. Black said she’s excited to go to the school, but a little hesitant.
“Just being alone for the first time, having to find a job and even make new friends,” she said.