Brush-Loads of Talent

IMAGE: The Blooming Labyrinth; photographer: Lori Neilsen-Carr; model: Poppi-Rose Harris. The makeup skills of Cassie Harris have to be seen to be believed - so it's no wonder she walked away with the top gong at the 2018 Australian Makeup Industry Awards.

If you picked up last September’s issue of HUXLEY, you may recognise the work of Cassie Harris. The local makeup artist uses entire bodies as her canvases, creating unbelievable artwork rather than the everyday dash of eyeshadow and blush – and her creativity has paid off, netting her the 2018 Australian Makeup Industry Awards’ (AMIA) Fantasy Makeup Artist of the Year as well as the overall AMIA Makeup Artist of the Year. We caught up with Cassie to find out what the recognition meant to her. 

AMIA 2018 Make Up Artist of the Year – Cassie Harris sponsored by Mocha Publishing with Linda Woodhead

Posted by Australian Makeup Industry Awards on Tuesday, 31 July 2018

For those who haven’t seen your work before, how would you describe it?
I would describe my work as vibrant, creative, often colourful and sometimes quirky.

How broad was the work of finalists in the Fantasy category at the AMIA?
The Fantasy Makeup category finalists were from a vast array of backgrounds and included everything from fine detail macro work, body painting, character building and prosthetic work. A very impressive collection from an amazing group of creatives.

To not only be recognised in your category but as the overall Makeup Artist of the Year must have been very special – were you prepared for either win?
I entered the competition to get a feel for the type of makeup looks that were on trend and to see where my work sat in the larger scheme of artistic work within the makeup industry.  I was shocked to have been awarded a position as a finalist in two categories and felt extremely honoured. After seeing the incredible works from my colleagues, I honestly didn’t think I stood a chance. I create because I love art and having the chance to display it on a national level was a dream come true.  When they called my name I was shocked and a little overwhelmed.  I felt very privileged and humbled.  After I received the award for the Fantasy category I thought I could settle into the night as the winners for my categories had been announced.  When they were announcing the Overall Australian Makeup Artist of the  year I had literally taken a mouthful of sausage roll thinking it was a vegetarian roll (being a vegetarian)! So was completely caught off guard. I remember the lovely Kristin Martin (Townsville Makeup Artist and finalist in the bridal and formal makeup category and finalist in 2017) screaming at me that I had won and my sister grabbing my face with both hands. It was very surreal. I made my way on stage and the rest is a blur.

“Hive of Activity” by Cassie Harris. Photographed by Gary Griffin and Fiona Cochrane Duff from G&C Photography; Modeled by Poppi-Rose Harris

What do the wins mean to you?
Winning these categories means recognition for my love of colour and creativity.  I feel extremely blessed to have shared the night with so many wonderful creatives and meet so many of idols in the industry. Townsville is a creative hub and I acknowledge that these achievements could only be achieved with the support I had from local photographers, models and other artists within the far northern region. These awards have given me the confidence to continue in a field I’m not trained in and to never be limited and to never give up following a dream.

You also entered the Brisbane Hair and Beauty Expo while you were down there – what happened there?
I entered the online photographic beauty competition at the Brisbane Hair and beauty Expo as an emerging artist. Competitors  had to choose one of the 4 elements to represent using makeup. I choose fire and choose a close friend Georgia OGorman to model for me with her lovely auburn hair. I chose fire to represent my recent struggle with a chronic pain disorder (Fibromyalgia), and represented it by creating anatomical muscle structure on one side and the skin being pulled up on the other side (similar to symptoms I regularly experience). The hair was created by the amazing Ken Wallace from Hairby Ken and then photographed by the very talented duo of Fiona Cochrane Duff and Gary Griffin from G&C Photography who have supported me throughout my entire journey. I’d like to mention that the wonderful Rebecca Dainer from Becca Jean cosmetics in Townsville also won 3rd place for professional artist within this category with a beautiful ethereal Earth look.

Cassie’s “Fire” entry for the Brisbane Hair and Beauty Expo – Photographed by Gary Griffin and Fiona Cochrane Duff from G&C Photography; Modeled by Georgia O’Gorman

Do you think being based here limits you at all?
Townsville has limited me in a sense of products available as a prosthetic artist however not in terms of creativity. Townsville is an epicentre of creativity. There is so much inspiration here.

What’s next for you?
I’ve realised through this experience that I need to step my game up.  My love is with body painting and prosthetics.  I’d love to see my work move into this category.  I also love the quality of editorial work and fine art macro work.  I have dabbled in this field however would love to execute these looks as they are very clean and precise.  I’d love to work more in the film industry also.  I love the genre of film and the energy that creatives have when on set.

Anything else to add?
I’d like to thank everyone who has supported my journey and continues to support me. Id like to also thank the sponsors of the Australian Makeup Industry for being so open to creative art within the makeup industry. I feel extremely blessed and honoured to have been recognised and acknowledged in this way.

To see more of Cassie’s creations, follow CMH Artistry on Instagram.

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