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Meet Downtown Visual & Makeup Artist / Morphology Body Paint & Designer: Kevin Lim

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Lim.

Kevin is originally from the Philippines and moved to the US a few years back and has established himself within LA’s competitive makeup industry.  Below, you’ll find edited excerpts of our interview with Kevin.

Kevin, did you always know you wanted to be a makeup artist?

I never was aware that being a makeup artist is a career. My background is originally in Interior Design. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from the University Of Santo Tomas Philippines. I moved to the United States at the beginning of the crash in 2009 and ended up working as a portrait artist and a face painter at Disney Land Anaheim. Having that urge to grow as an artist lead me to do body paint for small clubs. Fortunately that didn’t stop there. Like water, my art found ways to carve its own way towards the fashion world. I was fortunate enough to have done various shoots with photographers who sought out my body paint works and met various beauty mentors who showed me the business and opened the gates to the industry. At first you only do what you can. Eventually you find a purpose and a goal. My business currently provides all sorts of makeup from beauty, body paint and SFX towards Fashion Editorials, Film & TV and commercials.

Coming to a new country and trying to establish yourself in the middle of a macroeconomic crisis must have been hard?

Treading new waters has never been a smooth path. As a self-taught makeup artist, I can testify that patience and hard work as well as a self-starting attitude and the strong belief in your art will open gates. As an artist we do our work to create new trends and to prove a point. Fame is only a side effect of the art we do as quoted by the performance artist, Marina Abramovic. My greatest milestone is when meeting my mentor, the amazing Donald Simrock who brought me to his team working on large events such as Comic Con 2014 Mocking Jay Premier with Lionsgate and Samsung and working directly on Grace Jones for her Future Islands Tour sporting her Iconic Keith Haring Body Paint design. Throughout 2015 I have been working with the world’s first Transgender Modeling Agency here in LA owned by award winning Director Cecilio Asuncion. We have been developing the girls to lead ground breaking campaigns and fashion editorials as well as their Reality Show to be shot 2016. This year I have been offered to be Beauty Editor for Melrose Heights magazine to be launched soon. There is plenty of work to do.

Excellent, so what are your goals for the future?

My goal as far as being a makeup artist is ultimately be represented by a good artist agency. I want to bring in combined beauty and body paint works as my main niche.Another avenue is to be part of the Makeup Union Guild and work in commercials.I also would like to be able to travel around the world teaching makeup classes and how to live a career being the creative director of your own work. As much as we know, a lot of makeup artist tend to follow trends and duplicate other’s works. I would like to be able to educate makeup artists to embrace art as a whole and urge them to critical thinking in order to reach original designs that bring forth future trends.

I want artists to realize that we are also story tellers. We conjure emotions with the makeup we do, with the images we put together with our team. Our part in a production is only a fraction of a whole. Our main goal is the final image we create.Part of my duality is being a simple artist. I may drop everything and become an illustrator using water color or become a photo journalist. Wherever my art can evolve to or take me is where I will be.

Can we go a little deeper into your story?  In particular can you tell me about the hardest time in your career?

The hardest thing within the makeup world is proving your worth. Making your artistry known when you don’t have the right connections or when you don’t have the proper portfolio. The industry carries a very fine line of style that artists need to follow. This is not dictated in any makeup manual written or produced. It is learned as you go, encounter numerous projects and tried various styles of makeup within the category you are in. Whether you may be in film, fashion or events/bridal, a lot of it has to do with certain etiquette in work and in working with others as well as how to find your tribe; the people who believe in your talents and people who inspire you. It can go in many directions and one successful artist once told me that “You will never know what you will end up as within this line of work”. You will encounter many wasted projects that don’t make the cut but you make the best out of what you are given. Your network is your strongest tool. You will find people who will mentor you and in return, it is important to find people who you yourself would help through their careers.

A great deal of it too is finding your confidence in yourself and sticking to what you are worth. You are only as good as what you take. If you offer yourself for free as most artists do in order to garner a good network, you will be labeled as such and fall in the false promises of “gaining good connections”. Finding the confidence in walking away from certain projects is a hard realization that we as business owners need to take. Never apologize for your worth because people who want you in their team will rise up and meet you.

That’s great advice, thanks for sharing.  So – you came to the US, hit the ground running, learned a lot, and have had a good deal of success.  Do you ever wake up in the morning and think “wow – I’m really kicking butt?”

My eureka moment is when I realized that I didn’t waste my mentors’ and friends’ investment in me. The daily grind and push that we all do is considered a success. It is amazing when people recognize your skill and actually refer you to projects or even know you for a certain style.I have had people thank me for inspiring their works and have developed their tenacity.The best part for me is evolving into a producer and art director. I am capable of creating new images because I am backed with amazing teams and a great network I work with, who understand my creative process. You all synergize and become one as long as you believe in the project and in each other. That is the importance of a solid working relationship. 

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Check out his work below:

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