Ayami Nishimura by Rankin

The Japanese beauty expert on her ode to colourful high-octane make-up and working with Dazed's co-founder

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Following on from the success of his first beauty book in collaboration with Alex Box, Dazed co-founder Rankin has produced an ode to colour and high-octane make-up with Ayami Nishimura. The celebrated Japanese make-up artist’s career has seen her work with everyone from Dazed to Vogue and Playboy, lending her talent to many famous faces including Keira Knightly and M.I.A.

Some of the book is inspired by Harajuku street style which is very colourful and crazy. Street fashion is amazing in Tokyo but I also like traditional art and culture

Over two years in the making Rankin and Nishimura’s book features bewitching images inspired by her Japanese roots and the whimsy of her imagination. Unrestrained and filled with creativity, these images will feature in an upcoming exhibition at Annroy Gallery (110-114 Grafton Road, NW5), kicking off tonight and running until 31st August. Talking to Dazed Digital, Nishimura recalls her mum’s bright pink lipstick, the inspiring Harajuku district of Tokyo and what it's like to work with Rankin...

Dazed Digital: What is your first memory of make-up?
Ayami Nishimura:
My mum's bright pink lipstick. I was around five years old and used to put this pink lipstick on secretly and think how pretty I was. My mum wasn't experimental but she always had make-up on, which I really liked. I thought she looked much better than other mums who weren’t wearing any.

DD: How did you break into the beauty industry?
Ayami Nishimura:
I've been into hair, make-up and fashion since I was a teenager and moved from a small touristy town to Tokyo and became a hairdresser. After the training I moved to London to do more hair dressing then started to work on test shoots. Nobody was doing the make-up on the shoots so I just started to do it. After a while I decided to stop doing hair and concentrate on make-up. It's been 14 years.

DD: Your work references Japanese style. What about Japan inspires you?
Ayami Nishimura:
Some of the book is inspired by Harajuku street style which is very colourful and crazy. Street fashion is amazing in Tokyo but I also like traditional art and culture. Like, old paintings, especially Shun-Ga which describes sex, temples, kimono, sweets, masks, kabuki... there are so many beautiful things.

DD: What was the impetus to produce the book?
Ayami Nishimura:
Rankin published his first beauty book with the make-up artist Alex Box two years ago and wanted to continue the series. He asked me if I wanted to do the second one and we started to shoot straight away, it took longer than I thought though: two and a half years and six months to finish off retouching, layout and printing. Rankin is fun to work with, very open about ideas and always encouraging.

DD: What is the biggest make-up faux pas?
Ayami Nishimura:
Anything can be fun and I would rather see people have lots make-up than nothing. If it looks bad, just take it off!

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