I first came across James on the BBC series, Glow Up – Season 2. I was immediately blown away by the talent and creativity he displayed on the programme so I had to try and find him on Instagram. After a couple of comments on his work, he responded and we very rapidly managed to arrange to work together, you can see these images in the JMac Immortals gallery below as well as a selection of other looks he has produced.
Interview With James
Immortal Images : Tell us a bit more about yourself
James : I’m 26 years young, hailing from the Irish midlands (county Laois to be exact) having lived in Dublin for a few years until 2018 when I made the move to London. I studied a Bachelor of Science in Media prior to makeup in Dublin City University, where I focused on my photography work.
Immortal Images : Obviously you did incredibly well on Glow Up, how was it being on the show ?
James : It was an incredible experience. I wouldn’t change a single thing (asides possibly following the real life briefs more) I was super proud to represent being the first irish contestant to date and grabbed the opportunity to showcase as much of my creative skill to date. I would do it all over again in the morning. Getting to meet all the other incredible fellow MUAs was the best part of the experience.
Immortal Images : How did you get started in make up ?
James : I loved art growing up, constantly painting, creating, crafting and experimenting with different textures and unconventional materials. My first time working with makeup was in my bathroom aged 15, I had discovered drag and immediately wanted to learn how to change my facial feature and use my face as a canvas for creative ideas. Eyeliner and HD brows all the way back then!
Immortal Images : What is your favourite part of the creative process ?
James : I love to tell a story, and have layers to my makeup. I would always start with my base/main structure of creating 3D texture, and build from there. I love using vibrant colours for my final layer of makeup (sometimes aqua paints) when the base layer is set. There can never be a enough lashes when getting really creative as well.
Immortal Images : Where does your inspiration come from ?
James : I find inspiration through art books, constantly doodling, sketching, brain storming, and nature – I was born and raised in the Irish countryside, there was inspiration around me all the time. I look up to many creative artists, makeup artists and fellow drag artists that are always pushing the boundaries of creativity and redefining beauty.
Immortal Images : Of the looks you’ve created so far, do you have a favourite ? If so, why ?
James : I really loved the blue look (the first image in Lewks gallery) that I created whilst in self isolation at the start of lockdown. I resonate with the colour blue somewhat, be it the calmness, colour of the sky, my eye colour, a vibrant blue looks amazing, tied in with bright white paint detail line work – one of my specialities. I love to create work that showcases movement, energy and power. I paint with my emotions at the best of times and normally feel strong energy and creative flow when creating my favourite looks.
Immortal Images : Who are some of the artists that you admire ?
James : I love Yayoi Kasuma, the queen of patterns and dot artwork, not to mention the use of colour! I’ve always admired Andrew Galimore’s approach to makeup with his fine art background. Salvador Dali goes without saying as well.
Immortal Images : What was it like working with Nige ?
James : Nige was such a pleasure to work with. Such a kind, honest soul. Big heart, bigger passion for his work, and wanting to capture the right image. I loved his creative innovation for making his own props, outfits and designs – I may have made some notes ! Great conversation had on set and overall super team energy being creative.
Immortal Images : What would you like people to take away from viewing your work ?
James : I love to showcase work that might not always be necessarily obvious to the untrained eye. Show art in a different light, tell a unique story that makes someone curious to know more or be stopped in their tracks by something visual. There’s always space to explore and expand the mind, beauty and art can be a great place to adventure with, it’s an endless journey.
You can find more of James’s work here – Instagram @jmac_mua