We recently sat down with Ryan McKnight Owner/Agent at Kreative Kommune, for our A Few Questions With series. We hope you are as inspired as we are by Ryan and can’t wait to catch his presentation at this year’s The Artist Summit produced by The Powder Group and happening this Fall from October 1-6, 2017 in Provincetown, MA. For more information about The Artist Summit visit www.theartistsummit.com
What inspires you right now? (and Why?)
Individuality, it always has and always will be my main source of inspiration. When an artist of any kind is able to execute their individual point of view and make me say “wow this is so fresh and new” it really makes me smile.
Who are three of the biggest influences in your career? (and how have they effected your career)
Shelia Mckenna. Shelia was the first makeup artist to believe in me and my talent. We started at MAC in 1998 at the same time and I was a newbie and Sheila was an accomplished makeup artist. She always treated me as if I was in the industry for years. Her talent was awe inspiring for me and having that support from someone of that caliber made me feel like I can do anything in this business.
Susan Houser. Susan is one of the most kind and talented makeup artist I’ve ever met. I thought since I was doing my own print work as a makeup artist, I knew everything. But, Susan took me under her wing and showed me there were many things I still needed to learn. She also taught me humility and how to focus my energy into something more.
Last but not least, Pat McGrath. Susan introduced me to Pat I think 12 years ago and ever since I have been on her team. Working under Pat I learned a lot. I mean it’s Mother…enough said LOL. As I transitioned from makeup artist to agency owner Pat has been such a huge support. Her faith in me and my artists made me realize I’m on the right path with Kreative Kommune. I can never thank her enough for her support of me and Kreative Kommune’s artists.
Why did you start Kreative Kommune?
I was doing makeup for 18 years, and working as a Dj in the nightlife since I was 16. I was always helping other people and not really where i thought I would be personally. I soon became a mother agent for a male model Ian Sharp and I thought there’s something here. I thought agencies were not very personal, but I wanted to represent an artist’s view . So Kreative Kommune was born! A place were I can channel all my experience and use it to grow artists in a way I have never seen before.
Can you tell us about a defining moment in your career? One that made you realize this was what you were going to do with the rest of your life.
There were many actually but two in particular stand out the most. One, doing Courtney Loves makeup for the cover of ID magazine with David LaChapelle and two, my first time in Paris working on couture shows.
What advice would you give to a makeup artist or hair stylist starting out in the industry?
Stay off social media! Do your research on professional makeup artists, hairstylists and photographers, you admire. Learn about each timeperiod’s style and about the trendsetters of the time. Go to a bookstore or a museum for inspirations, influences and ideas. Social Media and the inter-web is great BUT, once you understand the beauty industry and who you are as an individual those outlets can be very misleading. You can’t go to a fashion shoot and do bake and contour makeup, it’s not acceptable.
What is more important to you the work (a makeup artist or hair stylists artistic skill) or the artist (the person themselves – personality, professionalism)
They are all equally important. You have to be humble, professional and talented. You cannot succeed in one without the other.
What is the key to a successful work-life balance?
Making the time to reflect and regroup. Since I’ve switched to an agency owner of Kreative Kommune I don’t have much of a social life. However, I work from home which is important as I am able garden and go to the gym for respite. You have to work hard but, also take time for yourself and find something outside of your work that is special to you, whatever it maybe.
Photo: JuanKr @juankrzorilla