"'Have you heard the the song 'Without U' by Spooky Black? That's my aesthetic," the young makeup artist who goes by the name Blondetaki on Instagram says. "I'm just a mixture of soft angel and goth butterfly. Some days I want to portray myself as the softest of soft, and others I want to wear the thickest black liner and pour blood over my face."
The Seattle-based Instagrammer (real name: Ali) has garnered a substantial following for her outsider approach towards beauty. Straddling between extreme goth and soft romantic, she cites her "unpredictable emotions" as a primary point of inspiration for her looks. "A lot of my art is driven by my highly sensitive and unstable emotional side. I love when people can tell what I was feeling with each look," she says. "Art is subjective, so of course each person will feel something slightly different. As long as I can portray what I was feeling in that exact moment I'm happy."
Using Instagram as both an outlet for creative expression and a platform to talk about mental health, Ali's ultimate aim is to create art that is "unreal," challenging what she considers a limiting discourse around makeup. "Makeup isn't just for day-to-day wear. So many artists are pushing boundaries and creating literal masterpieces. The industry is changing and I'm hoping I can be apart of that change, even in a small way."
The young artist talks to PAPER what about her creative process, mental health, and the changes she'd like to see within the industry.
What inspires your work on Instagram?
With each look I do, I feel like I'm finding who I am a little more. I don't know if that sounds silly, but each time I create something I genuinely love, I realize that I took something from my subconscious mind and turned it into something that you can physically see. Makeup is the one thing in life that makes me feel in control. When I'm doing makeup I forget about everything and I'm in the present moment — something I literally cannot do otherwise. I'm the happiest when I'm expressing myself through makeup. Instagram is a great platform for me to share my work with others, but it's definitely just the start for me. I have bigger plans for what I want to create and how I want to share my art with the world. That being said, as of now, I use Instagram to share almost everything with my followers. I have a great support system of actual angels online and I try to be transparent about my mental health. I post pictures of my animals far too often, and try to throw in random things I like on my story like anime or anything squishy. In the end, I always want to be genuine.
What's the inspiration behind all your looks?
Each look I do is inspired by something completely different, whether it be from another artist, a cute color, or my own unpredictable emotions. Lately I've been pulling a lot of ideas from digital art, especially from artists like Josefin Johnson. I love seeing the different colors, shapes, and textures they create in their own virtual dream world. I aspire to be on that level of art that is almost "unreal" to others.
What is your creative process and what products do you use?
When doing a look, I almost never have a clear concept or thought out idea of what I'm doing. I just go with what I'm feeling in that exact moment. This probably isn't that best way to work, but my mind is messy, I'm messy. By the end of a look, you can guarantee that my makeup desk looks like a tornado hit it. I can't even count how many makeup brushes I need to wash by the of a look, but I somehow keep getting away with putting it off.
I use a mixture of products ranging from drug store to high-end. I'm lucky enough to be sent a lot of free products to try, so I'm always mixing up my routine and experimenting with new formulas. I do want to emphasize that If you're a good artist, the products you use shouldn't matter. I've never been able to afford expensive makeup on my own. Art is about using what you have and making the most of it.
Would you define yourself as a makeup artist?
Defining myself as a makeup artist is tricky. A lot of professionals in the field would argue that since I didn't go to school I'm not a certified makeup artist, and that's fair enough. But I am an artist, and I do use makeup as my medium. I like to stick to using my own face when doing makeup and I think that's what separates me from a "real" makeup artist. I don't want to constrict myself to labels when creating, but I think social media is transforming what it means to be a makeup artist. To answer your question, I think I would define myself as a makeup enthusiast.
Is there a message you're trying to communicate with your work?
I think with each look my goal is to evoke some sort of emotion. A lot of my art is driven by my highly sensitive and unstable emotional side. I love when people can tell what I was feeling with each look. Art is subjective, so of course each person will feel something slightly different. But as long as I can portray what I was feeling in that exact moment I'm happy. In general, I want my work to speak for itself — I want someone to see my work and know, "Oh, that's Blondetaki."
What are some of your favorite makeup brands and products?
I only use cruelty-free makeup products and that's something that I hold very close to my heart. Animals are one of the most important things in my life and no product that tests on an animals can be "beautiful" in my opinion. Some of my favorite brands are Sugar Pill, Colourpop Cosmetics, and Lime Crime. I love a brand that can be a little different and create products that are colorful and creative. The makeup industry is so flooded with boring/neutral products that it really takes a lot to impress the consumer nowadays. I'm also a lash hoe and 99 percent of the time I'm wearing Velvet from Lash Dreams. Get yourself a pair and you won't be sorry.
What does beauty mean to you, and how would you define your aesthetic?
Beauty is so many different things to me, but I truly believe it starts from within. You can't truly be beautiful without having a good heart. Once you accept yourself and others for who they are, you can see beauty in everything. Describing my aesthetic is something I always have trouble doing. Have you heard the the song "Without U" by Spooky Black? That's my aesthetic. No, but really, I'm just a mixture of soft angel and goth butterfly. Some days I want to portray myself as the softest of soft, and others I want to wear the thickest black liner and pour blood over my face. I'm Blondetaki.
What would you like to see reflected within the beauty industry?
I want to see the beauty industry showcasing more unique and unconventional artists. I've found myself unfollowing bigger brands who only display the same simple brown cut crease day after day. There's nothing wrong with a cut crease, but people are hungry for me. Makeup isn't just for day-to-day wear. So many artists are pushing boundaries and creating literal masterpieces. The industry is changing and I'm hoping I can be apart of that change, even in a small way.
Follow Ali on Instagram (@blondetaki).
Photos via Instagram