LARA WIRTH – @armageddonpainted
Interview by JARRED STEDMAN
The 18 year old, self-taught special effects make-up and body artist from Melbourne – Australia spends days transforming herself into monsters, reptiles and creative characters. Lara’s Instagram page @armageddonpainted is a remarkable display of her enormous wealth of talent and now has over 113,000 loyal Instagram followers. With numerous competition wins including: Winner of the NYX Professional Cosmetics FACE Awards Australia and New Zealand 2017, Laud wanted to chat with Lara about her work, passions and what she sees for her future.
How long have you been doing special effects makeup?
I have been teaching myself body art to the best of my ability for the past three years. I started trying to expand into special effects makeup a little bit later to further bring my creations to life.
What / how did you get into it?
Having been inspired by creatures in movies and the American reality television show Face Off, on my birthday my mum bought me a set of body paints which I began to practice with. I used a lot of online tutorials and research into makeup artists to help me learn and improve my craft.
You are so passionate about what you do – what drives / motives your artistic creativity?
I am always motivated by a desire to be my absolute best and create bigger better creatures. The end result of all the planning and preparation work that goes into each look provides such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that the process becomes addictive. Seeing other people’s reactions to my creations is equally rewarding, the look of wonder and curiosity is priceless.
Your skill sets are about to explode thanks to your new chapter at cinema makeup school in LA. What has been the biggest learning curve for you and that are you most excited about?
I am excited to build upon every aspect of my craft and learn to use materials and techniques I could only ever dream of being able to perform correctly without proper instruction. So far, the most interesting part of my time at the school has been exploring the digital aspects of creating creatures to pitch to directors, a concept I had never considered previously. I am also really enjoying expanding my knowledge of beauty and editorial makeup, which I can imagine myself using more frequently than special effects.
Your themes in your art are so strong. How would you explain you aesthetic, and who/ what has been your biggest influences in shaping your ‘brand’?
I would describe my aesthetic as being bold, high contrast and colourful. I like to play on a mix of beauty and elegance intertwined with unnatural and disturbing forms
to create something uniquely beautiful. Some of the biggest influences on my work have been Tim Burton and Ve Neil among many other incredible artists.
How do you think your age and your success have shaped what kind of artist you are today?
I have sometimes been dismissed due to my age but I like to seat as an advantage, by starting to learn younger I hope that I can maximise time to improve. The success I have managed to find so far and the opportunities I have had are still and will always be amazing and incredibly humbling to me. I am forever grateful that out of a sea of artists I have been fortunate enough to have the support of my family, friends, fellow artists and brands without whom I would not have the chance to be in LA at Cinema Makeup School.
What do your friends and family think about your creature creations?
My friends and family have been very supportive and honestly entertained by my endeavours into the world of monsters.
Have you ever accidentally burnt, stuck or removed something permanently whilst creating your pieces?
On occasion I have been known to have blue paint in my ears or hair but I like to think of that as a bold fashion statement rather than an accident. Anything stuck to me has been removed eventually even if it may take a day or two. I think my greatest accident would have to be the night I decided that rather than removing my prosthetic correctly I would be better off to rip it off like a band aid completely removing my widows peak. It is still growing back.
What are your ‘must haves’ for prosthetics and body paint?
My absolute must haves are the Kryolan Aqua Paints, their cream paint in white and their eyeshadows in black, white and brown.
Have you thought about where this unique skill set will take you or are you happily just going with the flow?
I have thought about places it could take me but for now, I just want to enjoy the process and creating art and stay open to all opportunities that may come my way.
You have created a moon creature exclusively for Laud, can you tell us:
Where the inspiration came from?
I love the texture of the moon surface with all the craters and little ridges; I really wanted to use this for a skin texture.
What products did you use?
I used Kryolan cream paint in white, Aqua paints in white and black, as well as their eyeshadows in black and white. From Inglot I used a few different blue eyeshadows to shade.
How long does it normal take you to create these pieces?
It takes anywhere from 3 hours to 6 but I’ve found that I am becoming faster as I practice.
Do you go and scare people before cleaning it all off?
Occasionally I will venture down to my local super market for food once I have finished my creations. The Coles near me has seen many zombies, clowns and monsters buying chips in their isles. Some people will avoid me but others love it and want photos.
Favourite movie: The Nightmare Before Christmas or anything Tim Burton
Best childhood birthday party memory: Going to Bali with my mum and being surprised with a huge bunch of tropical flowers
Your favourite dish your mum makes: Rum and raisin ice cream
Follow Lara on Instagram: @armageddonpainted