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Life & Work with Christina Spina

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Spina.

Hi Christina, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I began my makeup journey in 2009 – Originally from Toronto, Canada, I was a fresh graduate from art school with a BFA in Sculpture, and I had just studied Art History in Florence where I decided I wanted to pursue a focus in makeup. I attend a local renowned makeup school with the intention to study prosthetic building for special effects makeup since with my background discipline in sculpture, I specialized in mold making. However, the makeup academy only offered complete courses that covered all the makeup artistry worlds – film & tv, theatre, light hair, fashion, as well as prosthetics. I jumped in, soaked it all up & loved every aspect of it. I was then a makeup artist & a sculptor and maintained this duality for a few years while maintaining work in both fields. Eventually, I chose to devote my time and energy to being a full-time makeup artist.

My admiration for working in studio as a sculptor was strong, however I valued the changing environments and social aspect of working on set much more, as working in a shop felt isolating and restrictive at times. I then spent seven years working on film sets, from assisting to running my own shows, my world got busy. In 2017, I ran the makeup department for seven feature films, several short films, one tv series and a handful of music videos. I valued the connections I had made and the teams I had built but was ready for new challenges. I officially made the decision to relocate to Los Angeles at that time and once all the paperwork approved, I flew my makeup kit, my cat, and some clothing with me in March 2018. It’s been an incredible journey and I am so grateful to find myself in this amazing city with my new clients and to leave Canadian winter behind.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There have always been professional obstacles along the way, which ultimately made me a stronger artist once I overcame them. The most interesting challenge I have set myself up for so far has been relocating myself to another country, and therefore restarting my professional career from scratch. Moving to Los Angles in 2018 was an incredible move on my part since I was leaving a steady freelance work schedule behind and nearly a decades worth of a professional network and clients. Completely motivated by the urge for massive change, I gave myself the gift of a challenge and turned my world upside down. It’s been a fun ride, I am so grateful for my motivation and resilience that brought me here.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a professional makeup artist, I tend to work mainly in film and television production and with musicians. I am fond of creating visual worlds, whether that means designing the look of a character in a film or helping someone look like a different version of themselves, I am compelled by the infinite transformative options that makeup can offer. I am very proud of the work I created in 2020 amidst all the limitations that the world was faced with. Once I learned how to safely reorganize my kit and make changes to the way I work to suit new covid 19 safety standards, I created a bubble with artist pal Stacey and we filmed her music video on a green screen over a weekend in the Spring. It was an amazing what we achieved, we created nearly a dozen makeup & hair looks, organized outfits, set up several backdrops, adjusted lighting, and filmed her 60s inspired DMT music video with the help of several zoom calls from gaffers to advise our set ups. The footage was then sent to an illustrator who worked with the green screen footage and then edited. We now have this beautiful video that was created entirely in quarantine by several artists and designers, independently working on it in their own private space. I’m proud of the outcome, plus the hair & makeup is so fun.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was very shy. Both my parents immigrated from Italy as children so we had a culturally Italian household with strong traditions. I was a tomboy because I have two older brothers that I looked up to, and couldn’t wait to be older to explore the world and have fun like they did. I eventually grew into an outgoing teenaged goth, loved rock n roll music, big cities, classic literature, I spent hours developing and processing black & white film in my high school darkroom, loved art history, worked at the local video store. I discovered art and dove deep into obsessing over music, I guess not much has changed! Except I’m no longer goth – in appearance.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Photographers – Courtney Coles (photo 1, 2, 3, 4),  Lauren Purves (photo 5, 6, 7), Ren Pidgeon (photo 8)

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