Behind the Makeup with Ida Astero Welle
This year we were honoured to have the outstandingly talented Ida Welle join us for 2019's IMAT's London. A graduate from Theatrical Make-up for TV and Film, and Special Effects Make-up studies in Poland and Norway, Ida has acquired 9 years' experience in the make-up industry, working on a variety of different artistry styles from commercial, film and theatre work, to more avant-garde work within stage, events and art-films.
Ida, (along with the dream team she assembled) created a completely unique character which she was kind enough to tell us about below!
Don't forget to check out Ida's work and beautiful personal projects via her website HERE!
What was your inspiration for the look?
A few different things played a part in the inspiration for the Queen Bee. I am inherently interested and drawn to designs and characters that blend humans with nature in some way, as can be seen some of my previous creations. But it was initially while watching the movie Annihilation that the first spark was born, as I saw how in that movie there were these amazing (and grotesque) mutations of humans and various animals and plants. So I started playing with ideas of a concept where in a post apocalyptic world, humans would eventually reemerge and grow again, but this time, more connected to nature.
I have known Line Maher, the costume designer, for some time, but while working closely together with her on a theatre show we really clicked. We started looking and discussing each others work and agreed that we definitely had to work together on our own project.
So, keen on taking a break from my ’12 Zodiacs’ project, I met with Line and proposed a three part project that I called Mothermorphosis, where the concept was as mentioned above. And we brainstormed ideas on which types of characters we would want, we discussed if we should focus on plants and flowers or animals and bugs, where they would originate geographically in the world and how this would inspire designs of costumes and prosthetics.
We were both very excited about this, and decided that our first character would be the Queen Bee, being the leader of a new civilisation. Their culture is worshipping bees (much like various cultures have worshipped animals in the past) and the royal family is in fact part bee.
Being able to look at all the textures of bees and the hexagon shapes of beehives were great inspirations, and gave us a lot to work with.
I would also like to give a shout out to a few instagram accounts who gave me great inspiration as I started searching around for ideas and interesting work out there, and these are: @houseofmalakai, who create stunning fashion, jewellery and accessories, @isshehungry, who is a fantastic avant garde drag artist and performer, and lastly @james.t.merry, who make these stunning accessories and head pieces for the artist Björk.
This look was the first in a new series titled Mothermophesis, have you already planned the other looks within this series?
We know there will be two more characters in this series, and the theme and concept is in place, but in terms of actual design, we are still in the early stages. I don’t want to reveal too much yet, but I can say that after having a blast working with gold colours and the bee in the first one, the next one will involve some beautiful purples and blues with our focus being on the Scarab. And the fabrics and designs Line has shown me so far has me very excited for the next one.
You briefly told me that you like to challenge yourself to create personal projects. In which you create a whole character with complete backstory. Can you tell us more about this process and why you feel it’s important to create personal projects?
Well, personal projects are firstly incredibly satisfying creatively for me. It is —of course great to create prosthetics for films and commercials which I do on a day-to-day basis, but they are of course to be tailored to someone story or a director’s vision, and there is just the pure joy in having complete creative licence in your own projects. Secondly, I feel it is more than anything through my own projects that I push the boundaries and challenge my own skills, develop further and learn new techniques, and also keep my skills sharp. It is such a complicated and challenging thing we do, and it’s important to maintain and update your knowledge and technique.
In terms of creating a complete backstory for my characters, it is something that just really works for me. I want to know the how and the why’s for a character before I start my designs.
Getting to know that character in this way both makes me more interested and invested in the character and creates a well of ideas I can draw on for inspiration when it comes to designing and making the important choices in the designs.
It is also an interesting exercise, as my husband is a film director, and we often discuss and create backstories together, and having this information about a character makes it much easier for me to explain decisions in the designs.
How long did it take you to prep the makeup? Including the sculpting, moulding and costume?
We had our initial meeting in October when we decided on the character. With my daily work taking up a lot of time, I had to squeeze in time to work on this project when I could, and spent the next three months designing the character. Then I had my model come in for a face cast in January, and I did’t get time to start sculpting until March. We had out first costume fitting at the end of March and the first test photoshoot at the 1st of May. In total I think I used approx. one week to sculpt, mould and cast silicone, and a couple of evenings to make hair pieces and braids.
The costume was made by a designer in Norway called Line Maher who primarily works in Theatre. How do you feel it benefits you/the look to bring in a designer? Is this something you often do?
Line is so talented, and I am so happy we finally got to work on a project together. Her knowledge in fabrics, techniques, textures and design were invaluable, and her ideas were incredibly influential in how I ended up designing the character.
It is not something I often do, and I am extremely happy that we have at least two more characters to create together.
Bringing in a costume designer is something I have thought about a few times. Normally I make my own costumes, and though I do enjoy the designing of costumes as well, I find creating the costumes is very time consuming for me, and not really the field I want to focus my work on the most, as it is with prosthetics my love is. So being able to focus and spending my time on this project with ‘my’ area of expertise was great.
During the application did you experience any hiccups or problems you hadn’t accounted for?
I did have an issue during the application with sweat bubbles under the prosthetics. It actually happens quite often and skin reaction to prosthetics is a struggle for every makeup artist, I think. However, in this case, the skin of the model was normal to dry, and I didn’t expect any sweating.
It didn’t pose a huge problem, but meant I had to spend some extra time working out the bubbles from the prosthetics.
The makeup is very beautiful and hyper feminine, in regards to the beautiful model, the delicate detail in the sculpture of the prosthetic and even the costume. Was it a conscious decision to add a contrast with the teeth (made and supplied by FangsFX)?
In regards to the teeth, I felt it was important to bring in some of the wildness of the animal, to accentuate that this is a creature of power, not only of beauty.
And I was so impressed and grateful for the amazing set of teeth created by Chris Lyons at FangsFX, and I would love to work with him/them again sometime as well.
Top 5 products you couldn’t create this makeup without –
If you had the chance to recreate this look again would there be anything you would change?
I am actually recreating the look again later this summer, as we always make a small art film with each of the characters I create. I just love being able to see the characters move around in an environment, and also maybe create a small story or moment where we can understand the character better.
I have decided to make a couple small changes to the design. I am changing the hair pieces to better fit the overall design and I am dropping the eye lashes on the cheeks, as I feel they add too much detail and clutter up the design.
If you want to check out more pictures of Ida's demo, or pictures from IMAT's weekend, head over to our PINTREST!