Growing up, Bean Dawson (@bweano) grew tired of watching makeup artists recreate the same monotonous beauty looks. It's also when the Canadian creative, who describes her aesthetic as "campy editorial makeup meets surreal props and headpieces," started experimenting with Special FX makeup.
Now she documents her affinity for weirdness through a range of "creative" looks across her Instagram, including pasting decapitated doll and teddy bear heads on her own head.
"Each day is different. Today, I'll make a headpiece out of teddy bears, tomorrow I'll turn my face into Candyland," she tells PAPER. "I love taking things, weird things, cute things, old things, anything and turning them into looks."
But despite her impressive use of colors and makeup in communicating her aesthetic, she refuses to label herself as a makeup artist. "My makeup is just for me, I see it as an extension of myself and an art form," she says. "I actually don't enjoy doing makeup on others. I have a ton of respect for working MUAs; there's a lot of knowledge that goes into the profession."
In talking with PAPER, the young artist breaks down the inspiration behind her work, why she thinks the makeup industry lacks creativity and the work that goes behind her weirdest looks.
How do you describe your work?
My work is a lot of different things and that's something I love. It's like, campy editorial makeup meets surreal props and headpieces. You know Harper from Wizards of Waverly Place? I'm her if she had Instagram. The makeup community can be quite monotonous, and I wanted to see more colorful, creative, weird makeup, so I did it myself. I love taking things, weird things, cute things, old things, anything and turning them into looks.
What inspired you to create all the beauty looks?
I have always loved art and I've always loved makeup. I remember around age 13 I discovered Special FX makeup, and realized makeup can be its own art form. I asked for a Ben Nye SFX kit that Christmas and never looked back. It wasn't until last year that I started to consistently post on my Instagram, but in that time I've gained a lovely supportive audience and grown as an artist.
What goes into creating the looks you do and what products do you use?
I think it's really important for creatives to keep a sketchbook of ideas, even if it's just on your phone. I have a huge sketchbook that I draw ideas in every single day. It's full of pages and pages of different concepts, good or bad. It keeps my creativity flowing. Depending on my mood, I go through and pick an idea to execute. Each day is different. Today I'll make a headpiece out of teddy bears, tomorrow I'll turn my face into Candyland. I'm always trying weird, unique concepts and my supporters are here for it.
I use a lot of different products for props and headpieces, since no two are the same. One of my favorite things to do is thrift small trinkets (teddy bears, buttons, yarn, lego) and turn them into headpieces. I can make a hat out of pretty much anything as long as I have hot glue.
Would you define yourself as a makeup artist?
Technically, no. The makeup community is quite expansive and I'd call myself more of a makeup enthusiast. My makeup is just for me, I see it as an extension of myself and an art form. I actually don't enjoy doing makeup on others! I have a ton of respect for working MUAs; there's a lot of knowledge that goes into the profession.
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Is there a message you're trying to communicate with your work?
Not always. I like everyone to be able to interpret my work in their own ways. Sometimes the vision I have and the vision other people have can differ, but that's so cool. It's like I made a bunch of art pieces in one. My main goal is just to have fun, create cool things and encourage everyone else to think outside the box. You don't have to do what everyone else is doing. Turn yourself into a glam trash can or something.
What are some of your favorite makeup brands and products?
Starting out, I pretty much exclusively used drugstore makeup. I only owned like, six makeup brushes. You don't need a lot of makeup or expensive makeup to make it work! Now I'm lucky enough to be sent PR products from my favorite brands, which I would never be able to buy for myself otherwise. This also means I'm constantly switching up the products I use. Some of my absolute holy grails are Ben Nye creme paints, Sugarpill eyeshadows, ABH dipbrow pomades, Milk Makeup Flex Foundation sticks, and my favorite false eyelashes are from Likely Makeup and Hell Bites Beauty. Everything I use is always cruelty-free.
How would you define your aesthetic?
Beauty to me is loving each and every part of yourself. Flaws and imperfections are beautiful. Difference is beautiful. Growth is beautiful. Beauty to me is trusting your body and your mind to always be authentic and genuine. We were all born beautifully different in our own ways and for good reason. Whatever makes you different is the best thing about you. I'd define my aesthetic as campy, surreal, editorial makeup. A lot of people even say my art makes them feel nostalgic. It's like when Jughead says, "I'm weird, I'm a weirdo, have you ever seen me without this stupid hat on?" That's me, but hopefully on a show better than Riverdale.
What would you like to see reflected within the beauty industry?
Definitely more representation! I'd love to see more POC, queer artists, disabled artists, trans artists, different skin types, body types and sizes. Everyone deserves representation they can relate to. Inclusivity within makeup brands is important, as well in terms of making sure shade ranges include everyone.
I also wish more brands would showcase creative makeup. It gets a little boring seeing a neutral glam look over and over again. People love color and creativity, and there is plenty of room for both.
Follow Bean on Instagram (@bweano)