Sunderland University fashion students welcomed Linda Mason, Sunderland-born Artist and Creative Innovator, as a Visiting Professor. Linda carried out a session detailing her career as a makeup artist in the fashion industry.
This was followed by a demonstration of three creative makeup looks, showcasing her incredible skills.
Linda spoke to students about her successful career, from working in Paris with designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier to finding her own innovative methods of makeup, which led to her working for magazines such as Vogue and Elle.
When asked if she had worked with any memorable people over the years, Linda said: “I have worked with so many absolutely fabulous people. What can I say? They are all so different. I absolutely love Kate Moss and Naomi wasn’t as easy as Kate, but she was a very special person too.”
“I loved working with Brooke Shields, I worked with her when she was a lot younger and just to see how people evolve and turn into these wonderful women is great.”
“I’ve got an incredible amount of admiration for models and celebrities who’ve managed to stay in a way relevant and fresh. It’s a tough industry.”
Not only is Linda a talented makeup artist, but she has also ventured into other areas of expertise such as photography, book writing and product development.
Her love for beauty and art was combined in 1998 with the opening of ‘The Art of Beauty By Linda Mason’ in Soho, New York, where makeup fans could buy products from a well-loved artist in the industry. You can still purchase these products online at Beauty Art Makeup.
The students were captivated hearing about Linda’s impressive career, and even more mesmerised getting to see her amazing skills and thought processes, through an in-person demonstration.
Linda filled a table with an impressive array of makeup products and tools, which she stated was in fact only a small collection compared to her usual kit.
Linda illustrated the ability to create remarkable makeup looks with her dynamic mastery, using paint brushes to apply face paints and numerous techniques to apply traditional makeup in an unconventional way.
An important thing to note about Linda’s work is that her makeup does not need to look perfect. Her style of work is much more spontaneous and anything that may look messy to some, is completely intentional.
For Linda’s final makeup look, she asked the fashion students to show their own creative side and add new elements to the makeup. Below, you can compare the makeup before and after the students’ work.
This was not received so well when Linda first moved to New York in the 1980s due to the city being stuck on traditional views of makeup in the fashion industry, however, confident in her own skills Linda insisted her looks would work. Of course, they did and resulted in some of the most iconic runway and editorial looks in fashion.
Sharing her advice and wisdom for those wishing to enter the fashion industry, Linda said: “If you do something the right way, do it backwards, standing on your head, really what is the right way anyway?”
She added: “That goes especially for fashion students because I think that’s what has made certain designers great because they turned things inside out and turned them upside down. I think just experiment and don’t be afraid to try anything.”
While also living in the United States, Linda has returned to her home town, Sunderland, where an upcoming exhibition at Sunderland Museum will be open to the public.
Linda said: “I’m very excited about it. It will cover my inspirations from my childhood in Sunderland, and go all the way through the different types of work – Working with designers in Paris, the art, products and the books.”
“I’ve kept a lot of materials actually showing how the books were made and all of the different stages. I’ll be doing audio to go with each section so you can listen as well.”
Linda’s “Life Transfigured” exhibition will be displayed in the main gallery of the museum from October to December 2023.
Head over to our TikTok and Instagram @Fashion_North to see exclusive footage of the making of Linda’s fantastic makeup looks. Let us know which look is your favourite!