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Courtesy of Esosa Odia

Esosa Odia’s digital beauty looks will inspire and unsettle you

Digital artist Esosa Odia creates ethereal punk make-up looks that open a portal to the otherworld

The Dazed Beauty Community is our ever-expanding encyclopaedia of creatives and emerging talent from across the world who are redefining the way we think about beauty. From supermodels to digital artists to make-up prodigies transforming themselves in their bedrooms, these are the beauty influencers of tomorrow who embody everything Dazed Beauty is about. Discover them here.

It’s hard to put into words exactly what it is that Esosa Odia does. Make-up art, digital art and creative direction could all be used to describe their discipline, yet none of them quite capture the surrealness of scrolling through their Instagram. Odia’s world is monochromatic and defined, immersing you in ethereal punk make-up and digital manipulations of the body. These creepy yet beautiful and captivating creations are how Esosa allows themselves to be vulnerable. Every piece of art they share portrays a struggle, whether it is reconnecting with their passion for make-up, feeling overwhelmed by social media or insecure about who might enjoy their “weird edits”.

In Sugar Land, a suburb right outside of Houston, Texas, Odia grew up with a quietness they would have described as uninteresting at the time, but have now come to appreciate. “The stillness allowed me to get to know myself,” they say. It’s this isolation that pushed them to find a home in internet communities like Tumblr and create their own digital space. “Belonging to a group of people and feeling completely seen and accepted was foreign to me,” they explain, “it is still something I desire to this day.”

Having found a safe haven in digital spaces as a teenager is why Odia continues to digitise and share their art today, despite the intensely personal nature of it; crafting make-up looks on their own skin with tangible products and then editing it all into something inhuman. In the drastic deconstruction of their appearance, Odia opens up and is able to find connections to others through shared experiences. “The feeling I get is incredible. It feels like I am finally doing something right, which is why I continue to share,“ they say. “At my core, I desire connection.”

Looking to the future, their career is far from mapped out – and that’s a good thing. “I think that I have had various small milestones that are building up to something great. I’m just not sure what it is yet,” Odia says. All they know is they can’t imagine a life without art. Without that connection they seek. “This sometimes makes me feel a little crazy, I’m pouring so much of myself into something and I’m not sure where it’s going, but it also adds to the excitement.”

Below we talk to Odia about their subversive, unearthly art, creative metamorphosis and their relationship with beauty.

What is it you do and why do you do it?

Esosa Odia: I am a digital artist. I create because it aids in my healing process. The fact that my art is a direct representation of my life experience makes it quite personal. Due to this, I was extremely apprehensive about sharing it online. I felt as if I was carelessly throwing my art to the wolves. I didn’t believe people would treat it with care the same way I did.  

Even though I have had a few bad experiences, luckily people have expressed great appreciation for my art, letting me know the different ways that they relate to it, and when they do, the feeling I get is incredible. It feels like I am finally doing something right, which is why I continue to share. I feel this way because at my core I desire connection.  

How did you get into it?

Esosa Odia: My journey started with make-up, but I did not become the artist I am today until I began teaching myself how to do photoshop. What pushed me in that direction was the desire to tell a story. I knew that I enjoyed make-up, but I did not feel satisfied stopping at that. So I threw myself into the world of photoshop, and more recently I have been experimenting with 3D art and animation. I feel as if discovering these art forms opened some kind of portal into a new world of possibilities. I was able to envision something and then create it. I had never felt that kind of power before. 

What are you trying to communicate through your work?

Esosa Odia: I use my art as a means to communicate the intense emotions I feel from day to day that I can’t express with words. Every piece is deeply personal. These lived experiences that took place over the span of months or even years are now neatly condensed into files on my computer. There is a wide range of emotions behind every piece, and by releasing them into the world the goal is to evoke emotion in the people that are viewing them and bond over the emotions that arise, even though they might not be exactly the same.

What’s your earliest beauty-related memory?

Esosa Odia: My earliest beauty-related memory is not a pleasant one. I was around eight or nine. Before this incident I didn’t pay much attention to how people looked. But I started to realise that I was being treated differently than some of my peers. I looked different from a lot of my classmates. I have always been tall, large-framed and dark-skinned. I noticed that the smaller, lighter, long-haired girls were treated much softer. They were handled with care, talked to in a softer tone, constantly being told how pretty they were. I wanted to be treated like that as well. I was a sensitive kid, so I picked up on little things. It was like one day I made the connection that I was being treated differently because of how I look. So my first encounter with beauty was coming to the realisation that they were beautiful and I was not, or so I thought at the time. 

Which fictional character do you most relate to?

Esosa Odia: Clancy Gilroy from the show Midnight Gospel. I relate to him when it comes to the desire to explore new things and talk to as many people as possible. I love speaking with people who I feel either know more than me, or have a different perspective than me. I feel like by listening to them without judgement I am able to form a more well rounded outlook on things, whether I agree with them or not.

Who is your beauty icon? 

Esosa Odia: My beauty icon is my younger self. I grew up as an emo kid and I had strict parents that would not buy the materials I needed to freely express myself, so at times I would have to get crafty and think outside of the box to achieve the looks I wanted. I think back to those times when I am creating. Now that I have a means to get whatever I need, I am limitless. 

What is your current obsession?

Esosa Odia: My current obsession is reading webtoons. At first when I started reading them online, I felt as if it was unproductive because it was taking time away from other things, but then I realised that relaxing and finding enjoyment in things that aren’t work is part of a healthy balance, and it also contributes to my creative process.

When do you feel most beautiful?

Esosa Odia: I feel the most beautiful when I am being kind to myself. As I show up for myself time and time again I am reminded of how resilient and caring I am. I have developed a deep trust in myself, which has made me feel beautiful inside, and as it strengthens it has radiated outward.  

What is the future of beauty?

Esosa Odia: The future of beauty is diverse, expansive and experimental. People will start to come to the realisation that beauty does not look a certain way. It exists everywhere, within everyone. 

If you could have a new sense on top of your existing ones, what would it be?

Esosa Odia: I would choose telepathy. I think this stems from my desire to be seen and understood on a deep level. 

You encounter a hostile alien race and sound is their only mechanism for communication. What song would you play to them to inspire them to spare you and the rest of the human race? 

Esosa Odia: I would play the song “Agape” by Nicholas Britell. To me, that song sounds like what falling in love feels like, so I am hoping it would make them less hostile and they might consider letting me live.