Photos by Cori Stoddard Victor Cembellin

Two plastic lizards and several plastic snakes slithered into “Finding Inspiration,” a M.A.C. Pro event held March 29 in Portland, Oregon. (continued below)

Cembellin tosses inspiration

M.A.C. Pro Senior Artist Victor Cembellin taught this lively two-hour class and make-up demonstration to help artists get their mojo working. “I hope this will open you up to a new way of thinking,” he said. The class was divided into five parts: finding inspiration, storytelling, harnessing creativity, executing a vision and asking creative inner questions, followed by the live demonstration.

Cembellin kicked off the class by asking the group what inspired them; answers ranged from drag queens to YouTube videos. With that in mind, Cembellin segued into harnessing creative inspiration, quoting philosopher Erich Fromm (“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties”) and himself (“The left and right sides of your brain are next-door neighbors—occasionally, one has to drop by and borrow a cup of sugar.”)

A collection of bugs, lizards and snakes

Creativity needs focus, he said: “There should be a story behind why you’re putting something on someone’s face.” The group discussed fashion-industry references, from girly to gothic, and how to translate them into actual make-ups. Cembellin suggested gathering images that reflect the references you’re working with, edit them down, visualize an application and then practice, avoiding “kitchen-sink” make-ups that incorporate too many visions at once. “Make a statement, but don’t ‘talk’ too much,” he said.

To get yourself out of a rut, Cembellin advised, ask yourself how you can use tools and products in new and different ways; how you can modify textures, forms and placement; how you can magnify or minimize elements and how you might combine or reverse your usual methods.

And that’s when he began throwing small plastic lizards and snakes into the crowd, using them as a departure point to create a make-up on model/M.A.C. employee Alyse Baker. Two lizards, in bright- and dark-green shades, inspired an eye make-up that blended different shades and textures. He advised the group to take their snakes home and see what inspiration followed.

Baker and Cembellin