We’ve been lucky enough to have a chat with the incredibly talented Joe Pickering about his makeup career. From where his love of makeup started, to the advice he’d give to budding makeup artists, having been published in VOGUE on several occasions, he’s the perfect role model for makeup trainees.
What inspired you to become a makeup artist?
I was a hairdresser and hated working in the salon, and I wanted to be able to do full hair and makeup looks on people. Even then, I loved looking at beauty shoots in magazines, so it just seemed like the natural thing to do.
Where did you study makeup and what qualification did you gain?
I studied at Aqua Rosa Makeup School and I think it was a VTCT qualification… I can’t remember the exact name now (sorry Suzanne!!).
Which area of makeup do you specialise in? Did you always want to go into that area?
I specialise in editorial work with red carpet/music artists, it depends what I get booked on through my agent.
I had no idea what I wanted to do when I finished my course really, I assisted in loads of different areas to start with and this is just the route I ended up going down. However, I did make the decision that TV and film wasn’t for me as I get bored too quickly and I like being on different jobs every day.
What’s your favourite part of your job as a makeup artist?
I’ve met some amazing people and worked with people I never thought I’d ever get the chance to even come close to.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part, which is also probably one of my favourite aspects, is that I never really know what’s going to happen next and always have to switch things up. Working with music artists in particular can be quite difficult as you never know what the hell they’re going to want on the day – you can think you have their style nailed down and suddenly they change everything and you have to switch it all up and provide what they have in mind.
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
I had a 12 page editorial in VOGUE, which is something I never thought I’d achieve this early on in my career.
Who’s your biggest makeup inspiration and why?
I admire so many different makeup artists for different reasons, I love Pat McGrath (obviously) and her makeup range is amazing.
What advice would you give to people wanting to pursue a career as a makeup artist?
Don’t do it! Joking…
If you want to go down the same route as I did, then you need to be prepared to earn very little for a while and you should never turn down any opportunity that comes your way as you never know who you might meet. I’ve got every big job I’ve had by meeting people on other jobs and making contacts and friends.
Which makeup products could you not live without?
I have too many! Good skincare is key – I spend as long prepping the skin as I do applying makeup at times.
Finally – the hardest one here – what’s your favourite makeup brand and why?
I don’t have one I’m afraid, my kit is a huge range of different brands and products that I love. I’m also a sucker for using whatever I get sent to try by brands (hint hint).