From lavish, pearl-encrusted looks paying homage to Balmain to precise, immaculately drawn designs, make-up artist Ana Takahashi’s work runs the gamut. But no matter what she creates, it always has her signature painterly touch.
Takahashi first started experimenting with make-up after getting bored of the “same old glam looks” she was seeing on YouTube that seemed to have “too many rules and unnecessary steps.” To date, she's painted the faces of former Dazed 100 alumns Rina Sawayama and Princess Gollum, and Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams for Takahashi’s first magazine cover. That was a particularly proud moment, she says, as it fell within the same year that she dropped out of university – the “best decision I've ever made”.
Drawing inspiration from everything she sees around her, from high fashion to fine art, and most recently, her Japanese heritage, the Dazed contributor’s highly decorative work pushes the artistic boundaries of make-up. “I feel the more I travel, read and watch films, the more I learn about myself and strengthen my individuality as an artist,” she says. “At the moment I’m trying to do loads of different things, so as to not pigeonhole myself.” It’s that creative energy, the drive to never stand still, and spirit of non-conformity that makes Takahashi such an exciting rising talent and we can’t wait to see what she does next.
How did you start doing the work you do, and what inspires it?
Ana Takahashi: I studied fine art in school, so I painted and drew everyday which developed my understanding of composition and colour theory – helpful skills for a make-up artist. Studying fine art meant that I had loads of books full of research and obscure references that inspired me greatly. I recently visited family in Japan and subconsciously my work started to look more Japanese despite that side of my heritage never being a big part of my childhood.
“I hope I can influence young creatives to understand that they don’t always need to go to university to get to where they want to be” – Ana Takahashi
How do you want to influence the future?
Ana Takahashi: I hope I can influence young creatives to understand that they don’t always need to go to university to get to where they want to be. I dropped out midway through my course and felt like a complete failure. It ended up being the best decision I’ve ever made. I think hard work and talent will alway prevail, and there’s no better time than now to use our technological resources and online presence to showcase our individuality and worth.
What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?
Ana Takahashi: I’d donate the money to an animal shelter. Not enough people care about the wellbeing of helpless animals. Donating money to them would at least ensure they receive more care and hopefully re-homing.