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Life & Work with Jordan Sanders

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan Sanders.

Hi Jordan, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I’ve always been an artist/creative. I did everything growing up in the Midwest suburbs of Columbus, OH – pottery, sculpting, painting, woodshop, sculpture, drawing, etc. You would think I would have known I’d choose a career path in the Arts. But I had no idea being a Makeup & Special Effects Artist was even an option.

I attended college with aspirations to become a dental hygienist but dropped out because it wasn’t for me. I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I packed my bags and moved to Los Angeles, California. I had never visited California and only came out maybe a month before to find a place to live. Now living in Los Angeles, I was doing everything that we all do once moving to Los Angeles. I dabbled in Acting, worked a retail job, sold memberships at a gym, made sandwiches; I was even a nanny. I was trying to figure out what it was I wanted to be when I grew up. After being on a few sets and meeting some wonderful people, I came to the realization I could do makeup for a living.

A friend of mine was a photographer who worked Monsterpalooza and she invited me to meet some people that she knew in the industry. My mind was blown seeing Monsterpalooza for the first time, talking to and seeing artist work. I knew this is what I wanted to do. That day was the first day I picked up a makeup brush and decided to make it my career. Shortly after that, I started making short films with friends I had met from doing background work and started learning and teaching myself new techniques from books and online tutorials. From there, I reached out to local artists and effects shops to see if I could intern or come help in any way. I just wanted to be around professionals and learn as much as I could. School wasn’t an option at the time I just couldn’t afford it. While on a shoot, I was referred to an FX shop. I sent a Facebook message to see if they ever needed help with anything, I told them I was a new artist just wanting to learn and see how it’s done. One day I got the call they needed help and they haven’t been able to get rid of me since. That was five years ago. I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by great people that have become good friends who have helped me learn and grow to the artist I am today. At around the same point in time, I also realized I wanted to learn the beauty side of the industry as well and I was introduced to a girl from the gym that was a working artist and asked to assist her and learn from her. I credit her for teaching me everything I know about beauty makeup.

Another wonderful person I’m so grateful to have met and be close friends with. Next I learned basic hair styling and men’s grooming techniques so I was a well-rounded artist. I’m constantly learning, practicing, and trying to become better. I’ve been very blessed to have the group of friends that I do – that have done nothing but support and encourage me on this career path that I love. I credit and thank them for helping me get to where I am today and for their continual support. Now I’m working as a freelance Makeup and Special Effects artist for film, TV, commercial, print, editorial, and private events. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to other parts of the United States to work and hope to travel internationally for a project in the near future. I’m currently splitting my time between Columbus and Los Angeles during this crazy year we have had and hope to continue to do that going into next year and have the opportunity to continue to work on both the east and west coasts and everywhere in between to anyone that will have me.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It hasn’t been a smooth road. I think like most artists, I’ve struggled with finding consistent work at times and enough income to cover the cost of building a kit, getting supplies to practice and learn, on top of the cost of living in Los Angeles. The long days and time spent away from homemade relationships not an option. For example: the first few years, I couldn’t afford to fly back to see my family more than once a year. Your schedule revolves around work so you miss things like birthdays, holidays, etc. I’m starting to find the balance I need with work and personal life which took some time but makes a big difference once you do.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I specialize in Makeup and Special Effects Makeup but also do hairstyling and men’s grooming. I think I’m known for and what sets me apart from other artists is being an artist who is able to think quickly and creatively to solve issues or things that pop up unexpectedly on set. I’m a hard worker thats go go go and just gets it done at 150%. I’m also a team player and super easy to work with. I’m always happy to help any way I can. Filming is a team sport and every part of the crew is just as important as the next to make that movie magic so if that means I help hold or move something to make someone’s job easier in that moment or move faster I’m happy to do it. Or while I’m keeping an eye on the monitor for makeup issues, I also notice/watch out for any other things that might make the shot not work. I’m proud that because of my work ethic most of my jobs have been referrals or repeat hires and that means a lot to me. I do my best every time I pick up a makeup brush. I’ve learned something on every set and use that to continue to be better. As far as work itself, I’m really proud of my work on Willy’s Wonderland, I was part of the build team for the animatronic characters as well as on set Makeup Effects. We made some really cool things and I’m excited to see it all come together next year. I also have some shorts I’m proud of like Alien Alone, Difficult Conversations,… there are so many it’s hard to just pick a few.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
My desire and curiosity to know more and learn more. I never feel like I can know enough and can always learn more and my favorite way to learn is hands-on learning from other artists I work with.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Jennifer Taylor, RBFX, Mario Torres, Raptor House FX, Andrew Oliveri, Mary Neely, Isabella Cappucci, Taylor Lyons, and Maggie Hujbar

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