Zoe London meets the artist using her face for a canvas.
Nashville-based makeup artist Juliana Horner (@claropsyche to her 65k plus followers) is no stranger to pole-vaulting aesthetic boundaries and breaking through artistic barriers.
A Fashion Design graduate from New York’s Pratt Institute, she’s created colourfully beguiling textiles, drawings, fashion pieces, and makeup looks inspired by anything and everything, from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust to Katsushika Hokusai to retro-futurism to the flowers growing in her mother’s backyard.
Jumping on a call between creating and developing new work and cultivating her online following, Horner indulges us with a discussion of her many inspo. sources, quirky upbringing, and the differences between creating on paper and on one’s face.
The line between the work you do on paper and what you do on the face is pretty fine. Are there any aspects of your art that you find can only be properly conveyed through makeup or textiles, without the overlap?
Ooh, interesting question! One difference is that it takes a different amount of time to do certain techniques on my face. Like for instance, if I was using a marker bleed, on paper, it could just go straight on, but to create a look like that on my face, it takes time to put powder there and prep my face for what I’m trying to create! Plus, some of the makeup looks that I do that appear as doodles take much more time than they would on paper to get the look of a doodle, because I’m using fine tip liquid liner to get the look of a sharpie; you have to really fill the liner in to achieve that look. So, it’s not typically as effortless on my face as it is on paper, but it is enjoyable to me to complete that challenge to make a look on my face appear as if it was drawn on paper. My pieces definitely come out more quickly on paper than on my face. But that’s the fun part for me, to make my makeup look as if it was done on paper!
You’ve discussed previously an affection for the blooms of colour in your native Nashville during the spring. Do you think that the natural beauty you’ve been privy to in these instances at home has influenced your artistic style then?
Yeah, definitely! My mom is a fabric designer, so I’ve grown up around textiles created by her, and I think she has been really influenced by nature. Our home was insanely colourful. My mom also kept a really big garden, and I’d help her weed and do other things around the garden, and just being up close to plants was always a pleasant surprise: you’d be out there and look at flowers and just be like, “Oh yeah! I forgot how vibrant these really are!” I definitely think that being around my mom, because she always implemented flowers in her fabrics, has influenced the way I create, so it’s hard not to see that stuff in what I do. It was both a direct and indirect influence, definitely.
Elsewhere you’ve listed Bjork, Haruki Murakami and Grace Jones as some of your many inspirations, however it seems often people jump to compare you to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, presumably because of your hair. How do you feel about this comparison?
It doesn’t bother me at all! I think he’s really cool and ahead of his time, and just willing to take ideas and run with them. It’s kind of true that his music isn’t totally different from his peers’, but his look was so crazy that it set him apart from other popular artists of his time, at least in my mind. I love the way that Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust ensembles looked, and I like the concept of retro-futurism as a whole: it’s interesting looking back and seeing what people thought the future would be like years ago, and even thinking about how our ideas of the future now may not necessarily be exactly spot on! And also the hair, I really love the colour. There’s something about the hair that just commands attention, it’s fun. Plus, it’s the only colour that my hair will really take. I tried hot pink recently, and was like, “welp,” when I saw the final product, because it faded into red again. No purple hair for me either!
Where else do you find inspiration, in terms of your beauty looks?
It’s really hard to say anything specific, but I do think that pattern design has an effect on me. A lot of the time creating patterns comes naturally to me, and I definitely think that because I was never just creating a blob of colour on my face or one concrete image in my drawings, the act of drawing has affected the way that I put makeup on my face. I’ve been doodling forever, and vibrancy is exciting to me. My immediate thought for inspiration is markers, because when you use them it’s so bright immediately! To get that effect on the face is fun. Another source of inspiration is obviously nature. I’ve drawn all different types of things, but the mountain scene makeup look I did recently was really popular and really fun to do. I feel that I’m affected by existing drawings of nature: the combination of being inspired by nature as well as interpretations of it is a big one for me.
You grew up in a very artistic household, as one of seven children. How do you think your artistic style might differ, without this influence?
The biggest difference would probably be my use of colour. I use a lot of colour, and I don’t necessarily think that that’s so common in the art world. I probably would have been scared to use more colour had I not been raised in such an expressive and colourful household. Even though I am more willing to take risks because of my upbringing, when I started experimenting with colour I was afraid of doing it wrong – there were definitely times that I did do it wrong, and definitely times that I still mess up! There’s such a fine line between using crazy lumps of colours and having it work, and adding something as small as a bit of lime green and having it throw the whole thing off.
Finally, what’s the favourite makeup look you’ve created?
That’s so hard! I think the one with the infinity symbol through my eyebrow is my favourite, because I did it after the first time I got a huge response with one of my makeup looks, and it was the first time I put something through my eyebrow, which felt like a breakthrough for me. That look was fun, because it was a really simple symbol that was meaningful to a lot of people, and I used it in a way that not a lot of people would think to on my face. It was a really exciting breakthrough.