We were excited to catch-up with Viktorija Bowers for our next A Few Questions With feature. Makeup artist and painter, Viktorija’s work is an exquisite blend of talent that crosses the boundaries into each artistic realm. Check out how she got her start in the industry below, as well as her advice for up and coming artists in the industry today.
What inspires you right now? (and Why?)
I get my inspiration a lot from my family. I am lucky to be a part of an all creative force, with my husband who is an artist and photographer, my mom a hairstylist and my ever growing imaginative firecracker 3 year old daughter. They inspire me to create, to strive to be better, and to both provide for them and create with them.
Who are three of the biggest influences in your career? (and how have they effected your career)
It all started with Kevyn Aucoin’s book and which took a life of its own. That is probably the first time I saw how powerful makeup was and how you can transform people with a few brush strokes. Later I discovered Topolino, who has been a big influence on me in the ways he approaches makeup, from a quirky unconventional way. Also Alex Box comes to mind, for her powerful creativity, and Matin Maulawizada, for his clean approach and his beautiful humanity. I feel besides makeup artistry, what influences me the most are successful people who live their life in beautiful, noble and elegant grace. I always say, I want to be like them when I grow up.
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.
A defining moment in my life was the day I started doing makeup in a little mall in North Carolina, for MAC cosmetics. I was going through such personal trauma, from being a young immigrant, to taking care of loved one with severe illness, the world seemed so bleak to me. But, makeup changed that. I was not able to finish college at the time, but when I started doing makeup, I knew I could have a career. It gave me hope and it saved my life. So picking up that brush for the very first time, it changed the course of my life and it lead me to all the beautiful things in it.
What advice would you give to a makeup artist or hair stylist starting out in the industry?
Don’t think you can skip steps, there is something to be said for paying your dues. In this Instagram world for example, everyone fancies themselves makeup artist, but your skills will be tested once you are put into real life situations that require your expertise. I always say if you want to build an amazing house, you have to lay sturdy foundation.
And when someone says to me, “it will be just light makeup, nothing too complicated, or we can’t pay you your rate,” I pass. Because, you need to remind people that with what you charge, they are paying for your expertise, your time and the value you bring to a project. That takes time and hard work to build.
What is more important to you the work (a makeup artist or hair stylists artistic skill) or the artist (the person themselves – personality, professionalism)
I think it is combination of both. I can’t admire someone’s talent if they are unpleasant to be around, it dims the light of the otherwise brilliant talent. I have always been more focused on building lasting human connections with my colleagues and clients, than latching onto someone who is hot at the moment, but is just an unkind person. It is the person behind the brush strokes I find true beauty in.
What is the key to a successful work-life balance?
To never forget that we are not curing cancer or saving the world. Not to say that I do not find what I do unimportant, but I am fully aware that the job I have is artistic and fun. I try not to take myself too seriously and create a hostile environment for myself and others. Stay professional, stay out of gossip and controversy, focus on your work, and make sure you build a strong network of friends, colleagues and your family that will keep you grounded no matter what. I think in any industry, it’s filled with people who are your best friend when you are flying high, but it is when you struggle when your true ally will be revealed. So focus on being the best version of yourself and leave fluff behind.