In the weeks before our first campaign shoot, our CBO, Gaby, and I exchanged a lengthy thread of screen sized images - inspiration ranging from colour palette, to framing, and of course, to makeup. It was in this quest for aligned yet fresh aesthetics that we stumbled upon our latest muse.
Coincidentally enough, it was a mutual follower that led us to Ali, the (make-up) artist behind @sweetmutuals - a trove of incongruous, mostly unwearable, full-faced canvases of art. Hedonistic in nature, Ali's work doesn't align itself to trend following but rather, to the discovery and indulgence of make-up as art form, not cover up.
We splashed our mood board with her looks - inspiring us to create something that wouldn't be worn outside the studio, but that embodied our aesthetic. A few weeks later, once the glitter had settled, I reached out to Ali to find out a little more about her work. She was just as fabulous over email as she seems on Instagram. Scroll down to find out for yourself.
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: In one sentence, how would you describe yourself?
ALI : I am black and I am limitless.
NJ: Your work is beyond makeup - it's art! So much of it is completely unwearable and feels so exclusive to your followers. On a regular day - what's your makeup routine?
A: First, I put Tatcha silk canvas on my cheeks and nose. Next I use Urban Decay’s Brow blade in the shade ‘Dark Drapes’ for my brows. For mascara, I use Too Face’s Damn Girl mascara. Fun fact: I don’t wear foundation in my everyday makeup routine, so from there I go into blush. I either use Flesh’s lip compacts in the shade “puffy” (pink) or Shiver(red) or I go in with Strobe Cosmetics’ Divinity palette in the shade “Aphrodite.” For highlight I use Colorpop Cosmetics Misunderstood palette for this bomb highlight in the shade “mongrels.” Lastly for lips, I use my go to lipgloss by Elf Cosmetics.
NJ: If you had to pick - lip or eye?
A: Lip definitely!! I can’t go anywhere without gloss.
NJ: When you're trying out a new look - where do you draw your inspiration from, and what's the execution process like?
A: It varies with each look, sometimes I get inspired by other makeup artists on Insta, other times I get inspired by brands. Most of the time I get inspired by something I saw that day or an idea just comes into my mind! I don’t draw my ideas out, I skip the rough draft process and immediately create the vision on my face. The process varies on the look. No matter what, the look is always tedious because I want to make sure everything looks perfect!
NJ: I discovered you on Instagram, and for that I am so grateful for the platform. It irrefutably allows for creative connections to be facilitated. But Instagram is also a double-edged swords for many creatives. What is your relationship like with the app?
A: I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love the app because it exposes you to so many well-known creatives that want to work with you. It allows you to be seen and it really gives you a career. However, the algorithm is my worst enemy. It blocks my work from getting seen by the people who want to see it. It is very disheartening, as an artist, to spend so much time on a piece and not get recognition it deserves!
NJ: We don't get to see much below the neck on your account but let us in a bit: how would you describe your personal style?
A: It is either vary laid back, or not at all. I can go from wearing a Hawaiian shirt and mom jeans, to a lingerie dress.
Top 3 favourite items in your closet? (feel free to add pics!)
1. Urban Outfitters x I AM GIA corset top
2. Forever 21 Cowboy Boots
3. Pants painted by yours truly
NJ: What’s on your bedside table?
A: So many earrings.
NJ: Where and when do you feel most creative?
A: I feel creative anywhere and anytime!
NJ: What are you a neophyte at?
A: I am a neophyte to adulting. I turned 18 in April and it is weird to be both independent and dependent at the same time.
All images courtesy of @sweetmutuals. Interview by Anna J. Stainsby.