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Eclectic make-up artist Patrick Glatthaar gets inspiration from his nephews

Previously working as a hairstylist, the Berlin-based creative honed his spontaneous style by trying out new things and not having any rules

From digital artists to photographers, body sculptors and hair stylists to make-up and nail artists, in our Spotlight series, we profile the creatives tearing up the rulebook in their respective industries.

While make-up is his main creative medium now, Berlin-based make-up artist Patrick Glatthaar first started out as a hairstylist. After moving to the German capital from Vienna five years ago, he began experimenting with make-up on his friends (and himself) before collaborating with stylist and photographer friends, who pushed him to try new techniques and styles. Now, his eclectic aesthetic – that he says is inspired by his young nephews – has seen him work on jobs for Dazed, 032c and fashion brands like Alyx, MCM, Hermès, and Gentle Monster. 

Here, we speak with Patrick about his creative style, spontaneity, and his advice for breaking into the industry. 

Who are you and where do you come from?

Patrick Glatthaar: I’m Patrick. Originally, I come from the south of Germany but I lived in Vienna for eight years, where I started to do make-up. Then, five years ago I got back to Germany, moved to Berlin and developed my make-up there. 

Why is it that you do make-up? 

Patrick Glatthaar: I got bored doing hair and then I started doing make-up. I first started on friends and then I moved over to shoots. I’m not sure I can say why I like it more. It’s more like painting. Hair is more technical and make-up is more like painting. 

Was painting something you were interested in when you were growing up?

Patrick Glatthaar: I never painted a lot, I was more like the handy guy. I was more into doing pottery and stuff like that. But, I think really for make-up, of course, you can impress yourself and do crazy stuff. I like to do crazy stuff like put glitter on or something. You can do really nice stuff when you’re painting faces. 

Where do you get your inspiration from when you’re creating looks?

Patrick Glatthaar: It’s funny – from my nephews. My nephews play a lot with colours so I get inspiration from them and also, of course, movies and things that I see when I go to exhibitions. But everything is really spontaneous. 

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process – from the initial idea to the final image?

Patrick Glatthaar: To be honest, I always do it when I’m on set. I never think about something before. It would really block me and hold me back if I thought about it too much. It’s more spontaneous. You have a model and you see her and then you think ‘OK, let’s do that’.

How does your own appearance play into that? Is that something you think of when working with people? Have you ever practiced on yourself?

Patrick Glatthaar: Recently, I did a shoot with myself. A friend of mine asked me: ‘Can you do make-up on yourself?’ Sometimes I do it but never too much. When I do it, it’s more Halloween stuff like creating crazy masks or different faces on my face.

Where do you learn about all of these techniques? Or do you do things as you go along or try things out?

Patrick Glatthaar: I just try things out. I’ve never assisted someone or went to a make-up school. I made so many mistakes at the beginning and then I learned off of the mistakes. It’s always nice to have some new experiences. Sometimes people ask me to do something and I think to myself ‘Hm I’ve never done it but let’s try it out’. Then you have to try it and test it. 

What would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned over your career so far?

Patrick Glatthaar: To stay calm. Don’t stress too much, don’t stress about jobs, don’t stress about work. This is really what I learned over the years.

Is that difficult when you’re working on make-up for fashion shows? 

Patrick Glatthaar: Yeah, but that’s the funny thing also – my assistant said ‘you’re really calm’ and I’m like ‘yeah, I don’t know why. It’s wrong.’ I don’t stress myself so easily because it doesn’t bring someone to anything. If you stay calm I think there’s less chance to overthink stuff. Even at fashion week, you have so many assistants and of course, my first assistant, she’s more stressed than me I think. 

What have been some of the projects that you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of?

Patrick Glatthaar: I was in Tokyo with Kiko (Mizuhara) for 032c and it was really nice. I also did an Hermès perfume campaign and that made me proud somehow. It always depends really on which job you are on. But these two are, I think, are my proudest things.

Is the idea of beauty something that you would say you try to capture in your work? Or something you reject? What do you think your relationship to the idea of beauty is?

Patrick Glatthaar: For me, I like to work with blood and stuff so it’s not all about beauty beauty. Everybody is beautiful on their own. Beauty is a really big spectrum. You can’t really define beauty so much. Some people find things beautiful which I might find ugly.

“Everybody is beautiful on their own. Beauty is a really big spectrum. You can’t really define beauty so much. Some people find things beautiful which I might find ugly” – Patrick Glatthaar

Do you have any advice to any young artists starting out now who maybe want a career doing make-up? 

Patrick Glatthaar: Work a lot at the beginning because then you’re not tired off, and you have the patience. Spend a lot of time at the beginning of your career because there you have the most energy. 

Sometimes it’s not a good thing to assist too long because you get stuck somehow and you’re always that assistant. Only sometimes it works out and you get rid of the assistant title. You have to learn and do it and do it and learn it somehow. You have to sign photographers you like and stylists you like – this is the most important thing. For make-up and hair, you move up by people pushing you – photographers and stylists who are friends of mine pushed me to do jobs. 

Who are some creative people you work with who you want to shine a spotlight on?

Patrick Glatthaar: Marc Goehring, Jonas Lindstroem – they’re my friends. So, I think these two. 

What do you think the future of beauty is?

Patrick Glatthaar: It’s getting less and less again. It was at the top, even my sisters and all the young girls are starting to do it so much now and they put so much make-up on. I think beauty is going to go to less make-up again. It doesn’t mean anything to me because I still do what I want. I do what I like. Everybody likes pureness and not too much.