London-based make-up artist Lucy Bridge has established a unique position for herself within the industry, combining diverse art history references with her bold mark making and striking use of colour. Bridge’s impressive roster of clients and collaborators include the likes of Vogue, W, Chanel, Raf Simons, Mulberry, Mert & Marcus, Charles Jeffrey, and long-time friend Tim Walker. Unafraid to try new things, Bridge’s compelling work is unendingly versatile, reflecting her experimental and playful approach to creating. Continuing Something Curated’s series, Canons Of Beauty, which highlights the practices of boundary-pushing young make-up artists, SC spoke with Bridge to learn more about her fascinating work, influences, and how she’s handling life in lockdown.
Something Curated: Can you give us some insight into your background; how did you enter the field of make-up?
Lucy Bridge: I moved to London straight after studying make-up in Manchester, almost 12 years ago now. I have loved make-up ever since I can remember and I just knew it was the industry for me. When I moved to London I lived in Shoreditch above The George and Dragon. It was the hub of all things experimental and I ended up meeting a lot of amazing people who I still call friends today. I met Charles Jeffrey at this time on a night out, both dressed up in full ‘costume’. I was also lucky enough to meet a long-term friend and collaborator Tim Walker, on the No. 55 bus. I ended up being in a spread for i-D magazine and this propelled me into the make-up world. At this time I also started working part time for MAC cosmetics. I only managed a few years until my freelance career really took off but I have stayed in the MAC family by working with them closely at London Fashion Week and other exciting projects.
SC: How would you describe the ethos or approach behind your practice?
LB: I always want to be true to myself and to find my own style and approach to make-up. I want people to look at an image and think it was me who created it. This is very hard to achieve in a hugely oversaturated industry but I feel I have found my own style over the years and it is forever an evolving process. I do not want to get ‘stuck’ creating the same image time after time. I want to create work that excites people and has an impact on them. I love colour, bold defined lines and a sharpness to my work, however on the flip side I love a beautiful raw and natural skin mixed with something really effortless and easy on the eye.
I think as a make-up artist you need to be clever. You need to look at the materials we have all around us which do not necessarily belong in a make-up bag. Try to think outside the box; sometimes the most simple of ideas can be the most effective. I think in this day and age with the rise of social media over recent years, artists experimenting are creating such wild and bold looks using a ton of different mediums and products. Although I do love creating strong and powerful looks I feel I really need to reign myself in sometimes from getting too excited, to take a step back and break it down. These are the looks in which I love the most and can resonate with as an artist.
SC: What are you excited to work on next, and how is the pandemic affecting the way you’re operating at present?
LB: I am excited to get back to work. I really miss being on set with colleagues and friends. I miss the interaction of playing with a models face and my make-up kit and all of the excitement which comes with that, as I love my job. I do not know what the future holds for make-up artists – when we can get back in the swing of it all and even to start to travel again with my job. Recently I have been keeping myself busy with coming up with new ways to do ‘make-up’ in such alien territory. I am working with a few clients at the moment on some very interesting concepts which I cannot go into quite so much at the moment, but all I can say it is a new futuristic way to work in the current climate and it is something which is very exciting and I have really found myself enjoying.
The pandemic at present has been a total shock if I am being honest – I am such a high-energy person who is always on the go and has things to do. Being at home so long has really allowed me to get into a slower pace of life. I am enjoying it to a degree, and I am appreciating little things in life more. Staying motivated is hard however and I have found getting up early in the morning and cracking on with work or going for a run before hand really sets me up for the day. I give myself little targets each day to try to stick to, if this doesn’t happen however I am not too hard on myself. This is a huge adjustment for everyone and at a time like this we need to be kind to ourselves and others around us.
SC: Do you have any favourite collaborators you particularly enjoy working with?
LB: I love collaborating with my friend Tim Walker on all his amazing projects. I love watching him create the images he does as I have always been such a fan of his work even before I met him. Being on set with him definitely has some ‘pinch yourself’ moments and I can’t quite believe I have the ability to do the things I do with him. Recently I worked with Mert & Marcus for the first time for a beauty story for their collection with Lancôme for Beauty Papers. I became such a fan of their work when I was at university and I used to buy POP & Love Magazine. It was a surreal experience shooting with them, it was such a full on day and I loved every second of it.
SC: You have a very playful and beautiful approach to using colour – could you expand a little on this?
LB: I have always loved colourful and bold make-up ever since I started studying it. I think because my personality is bold I lean towards this type of make-up. Experimenting with lines and tones is something I find the most interesting and it all depends on the canvas in front of me. When you are really inspired by a face your imagination can just go wild. I never go into a make-up look knowing exactly what I will do. I will have a rough idea in my head, which in real time is adapted to fit in with the model and the mood at that very time. I can come out with something completely different to what I had set out to do and this is what I love about make-up, it is very unexpected.
I love going to exhibitions and viewing artists works. I can really imagine the works translated onto a face, the brush strokes, the tones, the different textures. It is something which really excites me. Being playful is very important in this industry. You need to be able to let your guard down as not to become to stiff in what you create. Being free and creating a look without too much thought can be really beautiful, and the great thing about make-up is if it doesn’t work you can wipe it off and start again until you find something which resonates.
SC: What do you want to learn more about?
LB: I would love to learn more about the cosmetics industry and the effects it is having on the planet. Make-up is of huge importance in my life as it is for a lot of other people around the world but I worry that it is having huge detrimental effects to our environment. I love learning about new formulations of make-up which are environmentally friendly and in turn which are also safe and good for us to use on our face and bodies. I think the world is moving at lightning speed at the moment and I look forward to learning about new make-up and skincare technologies going forward.
Interview by Keshav Anand / Images courtesy Lucy Bridge