The International Make-Up Artist Trade Show (IMATS) features professional make-up and body painting in annual events covering four countries.
Since the first show in Los Angeles in 1997 IMATS, founded by Emmy Award winning make-up artist Michael Key, has now expanded and there are trade shows in New York, Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Vancouver and Sydney. This 3-day event is the world of make-up’s biggest gathering of make-up artists, students and industry enthusiasts all under one roof.
Top professional artists often from the world of film and TV, and SFX experts, give demonstrations and hold seminars which gives the visitor a fantastic opportunity to hear first- hand the experiences of the very highly regarded professionals working in this fascinating and very diverse industry. There’s a whole host of exhibitors selling everything that you could possibly need for a career in make-up and/or body painting.
A Student Highlight
When I was a student doing my HND in Specialist Hair and Make-up at West Thames College a trip to London IMATS was definitely one of the highlights of the year. Listening to the seminars from my heroes in the world of make-up. Seeing the incredible SFX demonstrations and creations, watching the professionals at work at the various make-up booths, plus getting the opportunity to see, and try out, so many fabulous products was pretty mind blowing for a young student. I always left at the end of the day with my bag full of new brushes and beautiful products, a head buzzing with inspiration, sore feet, glittery bits everywhere and a large dent in my bank balance.
Since 2004 when I started out as a freelance make-up and body artist I’ve worked at IMATS several times both in London and New York representing various teaching academies and make-up and body art companies. This year I was delighted to be asked to demonstrate for Screenface London.
Below are some of my favourite designs from my body painting in past shows including my illusional design painted at this year’s show in London on Saturday the 4th of June.
London 2010 – Art Deco Body Painting
My first booking at IMATS London was for The Academy of Freelance Make-up Artists (AOFM) back in 2010. I took my inspiration for the design from the beautiful work of Polish Art Deco artist Tamara de Lempicka 1898-1980.
My model, Armin Grossegger, flew in from Austria especially for the event.
Once I had finished the painting I embellished the design with peacock feathers, crystals and superfine glitter.
London and New York 2011 – H.R.Giger and Superhero Body Painting
The following year I painted for AOFM again. At the London show in January in 2011 I used the amazing work of the Swiss surrealist artist H R Giger for my inspiration.
Then in April I hopped across the pond and represented AOFM at the IMATS show in New York. This time I decided on a series of Superhero images for my paintings.
London 2012 – Sugar Skulls and Alice in Wonderland Body Painting
In 2012 I was back in London and represented Mistair. MistFX face and body paint was quite a new product on the market and very different to other paints that I had used in the past. Unlike the solid paints that are activated with water, MistFX is a liquid paint and comes in a bottle. It comes in a great range of colours, it’s very durable and gives a really lovely professional finish.
I decanted the paint from the bottle into an artist’s pallet and painted my brilliant model with a very colourful sugar skulls design.
On the second day I painted a design inspired by Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen from the 2010 film ‘Alice in Wonderland’. I was really pleased with how it turned out and this has always been one of my favourite pieces of work.
London 2013 – Superman Body Painting
In 2013 I painted for Mistair again and this time the Superhero theme made a re-appearance. My husband is a huge fan of anything Marvel related and we’ve got shelves full of books and comics which are always a great source of inspiration for me. My model Ryan Mackins was huge. I think he must hold the record for the tallest person that I’ve ever painted!
London 2016 – 3 Dimensional Body Painting Illusion
I was delighted to be commissioned by Screenface London to paint at their stand at this year’s show. We had a last minute panic when the model who had been booked broke his leg the night before the show. After several frantic phone calls, Paintopia director Jennie Roberts arranged for the brilliant Kyle James to step in and save the day. Kyle was an absolute delight to work with and I decided to accentuate his great physique with a design made up of a combination of ripped skin and metal inner workings with a bit of flesh showing through for good measure!!
IMATS exhibitors include numerous high profile brands from the world of make-up, SFX and body painting; also make-up magazines, colleges and brush companies. The wide range and quality of the products, the artist demonstrations, the student competitions, plus the seminars, makes IMATS a must for anyone interested in the industry, or for those already working as a make-up artist or body painter. Just wear some comfortable shoes and take along a purse full of money! You’ll be tempted beyond belief and already planning your visit the following year!