Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Airbrush Makeup Guru Profiles: an interview with Dani Fonseca

Our Profile series continues with the amazingly talented Dani Fonseca! Please click on each image to see every amazing makeup in full size.

Amazingly talented: Dani Fonseca
One of the reasons why I decided to go to the New York Makeup Show on its first day rather than the second was so I could attend Dani Fonseca's seminar "Airbrushing Beyond Foundation". Like many other airbrush fans around the world, I had become familiar with Dani's work thanks to the many videos she has starred in for the wonderful brand Temptu Pro, so I was excited to meet her in person. Dani has a very impressive list of credits, including one that is actually listed among Temptu's own highlights timeline: the iconic skeleton makeup on Lady Gaga for her Born This Way video. Dani also regularly collaborates with some of the world's top brands, and she is a proud member of the Make Up For Ever Artist Alliance Team. She has her own body art and event production company (The Body of Art) and she creates incredible Halloween looks in seasonal workshop called the Monster Mash Salon. In spite of her very busy schedule that day, Dani took time to answer a questions from the many people who filled out her seminar, and kindly agreed to answer a few questions focusing on airbrushing for our readers.

You are so incredibly talented with airbrushing. When did you decide to add this technique to your makeup skills?
-I started considering using airbrush techniques in 2004 when I started my company The Body of Art. As most may know, body painting can take an extremely long amount of time to complete, so I thought airbrushing would help make that process faster. I chose Temptu almost 10 years ago as the brand to explore this new possibility and not only fell in love with the possibilities for my body art but also discovered an amazing new way to do my beauty makeup.

How important do you think airbrushing skills are for new makeup artists, what doors do you think it could open for them?
Makeup by Dani Fonseca
-I think that airbrushing is an amazing tool. I stand by the belief that every makeup artist should of course learn how to do everything conventionally first, however airbrushing is an extension of what you can do with more ease precision and expedience. I do believe that most artists would be missing out if they did not know the advantages of airbrushing, however there are many make up artists out there who know how to airbrush and still choose conventional which is perfectly fine. Everyone has their own style and choice of technique. However what sometimes concerns me is that people will not try airbrushing because of the myths they have heard out there about it. I say to those people take a class and try it out before you shun it completely, because you may be pleasantly surprised and wondering what you have been doing all your life without it.

Body Art by Dani Fonseca
What do you consider to be the single best advantage of airbrushing as opposed to traditional application?
-The best advantage to using airbrush depends on what formula you use and what kind of makeup you are using it for.  As for beauty, I have always been a big fan of the silicone-based make up like Temptu's SB formula. It mimics skin in such a way that you can barely tell anyone is wearing foundation yet creates beautiful highlighting and con touring with ease, in a way that doesn't look overworked. Not to mention that it is water resistant and flexible so will not crack or run under adverse environmental conditions. As for body painting, as I mentioned before airbrushing helps me to do things precisely and much faster. Highlighting and contouring faux fabric or objects that I've created as an illusion on the skin is so effortless with an airbrush because of the gradient quality it gives with such ease. It takes a lot of practice to hold your hands still and create strokes that look clean but it's just like riding a bike: you just need to do it over and over again until you get it.

I always admired your makeup, but now, seeing you up close, I can see how incredibly flawless it really is. How much airbrushing do you like to include in your own routine?
-To be honest I used to airbrush my skin quite a bit however I find there is less and less room on my kitchen table which is actually my make up vanity. A little bit too much for me (and my husband) to have an extra machine sitting out all the time. Airbrushing has actually taught me how to apply makeup to myself with the "airbrushed look" technique using certain synthetic brushes conventionally. I think I've mastered it at this stage. I'm a big fan of cream make up whether it be foundations or blushes for highlighters so that ends up being my alternative to airbrush makeup. However I still do use it when I'm going to big events.

In Europe, where we are based, airbrushing is still a very new technique and like many new things some false myths are often quick to spread. Which would you consider to be the greatest misconception about airbrushing today?
"The Kiss" by Dani Fonseca
-I think we can attribute all the false myths to the type of airbrush makeup that first came out on the market in the 90s. It was very dry and matte, and if you put 1 drop of water near it it would completely destroy it. Not to mention if you put too much on and your face moved it would crack. There have been so many amazing advancements in airbrush makeup products since then. If you are buying a water based make up today, like from Kett Cosmetics, you will find that it's very beautiful and flexible.  Another myth that I have come across is that if you use a silicone-based airbrush makeup it looks like oil or grease on the face. This is because silicone-based makeup happens to be one of the thicker formulas on the market. It's purposely thicker so that it can do what it does. Some people have compressors that are not powerful enough, and often think they need to dilute the product in order to get it to pass through the airbrush gun. Again if they have not sat in a class, people often think that they can dilute such a product using its very greasy cleanser,  which is the cause of the oily pay off people hear about. I cringe when I see or hear of people using the product like that.  If you use the SB make up from Temptu properly and with its proper equipment it is one of the most beautiful foundations on the market made for all skin types and meant to last for hours. Why on earth would you not want to use that in your make up? One last myth I've come across is that it is too hard to clean your gun and you will often get clogging issues. Again you need to not be lazy and take the time to clean your gun properly. If you do not know how to do this yet again there are plenty of videos online as well as classes you can take that will help you to learn how to properly service your own equipment.

Makeup by Dani Fonseca
When it comes to airbrush makeup there seems to be a big a lot of disagreement over the water based versus silicone based formulas. Where do you stand? Do you prefer using one over the other?
-Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of silicone-based make up. I've been using it for 10 years and has very rarely found any issues with it. It mimics skin, it lasts for hours, it's lightweight and flawless and is very flexible on the skin.  Every student that takes my classes falls in love with it instantly because they taught how to use it properly. It's just a personal preference for me. It doesn't mean that I do not think a water-based formula is good. There are amazing water-based formulas on the market, and they're absolutely dreadful water base and silicone formulas on the market. You need to go to trade shows to test them out and/or do your research to find the people who are actually using the formulas and see what they say. Be careful of bloggers and You tubers who don't have any idea what they're talking about when they're reviewing airbrush products. Find actual airbrush makeup artists who use it all the time and learn what their opinion is.

Makeup by Dani Fonseca
While we are mentioning Europe, I know you have been here many times with different projects. Are you coming back soon? Will you be teaching any seminars here?
-I just finished doing a three day airbrush beauty workshop at the Academy of Freelance Makeup in London in May. I also did a demonstration master class while I was there.  My next trip to Europe will be at the end of September when I travel to Paris to be a guest instructor at the new Make Up For Ever TV and Cinema Academy.  I am very excited and honored to be working with this new Academy twice a year. However it's a week long class that is part of a program so unfortunately it would not be open to the public.

You have worked on many high profile projects and with many celebrities. Would you share a fun memory or a lesser known fact about one of these remarkable achievements? 
-To be honest for the most part when I work with celebrities I very rarely have a memorable moment with the celebrities themselves. My memorable moment is always with the team I work with. People always ask me "What's it like to work with Lady Gaga"? As you can imagine the woman is so busy and focused on what she's doing that I barely ever had a chance to have intimate memorable moments with her. I usually have more fun hanging out with my partner Will Lemon, or the dancers, or my friend Sarah Tanno who keys the dancers, and my assistants backstage. It's a job and I love it, but usually when I work with celebrities its quick, its business, and people have to keep it moving. One of the nicer moments was when I was body painting girls for a 50 Cent video and he put his arm around me and gave me a hug cuz he thought the work looked so good... I thought it looked hilarious (big cat faces painted on "well endowed" backsides), but as long as he was happy!

Lady Gaga and Zombie Boy, Makeup by Dani Fonseca for Temptu

What is your ultimate professional dream?
-I just would love to get to a point where my business is running itself, I have made a my impact on the world by inspiring other artists to make a difference, and I'm a mom who lives in a house with my husband by the park so I can go running whenever I want.  I'm getting there.  I have launched my new makeup artist leadership program called The Body of Artists this year, and I continue to educate people around the world on ways they can follow their dream in this insane industry we have chosen to have a career.  I am very blessed and put a lot of hard work into what I want, and do my best to not allow any excuses to get in the way.  If I could body paint Pink before I die, that would be cool, but that would be a bonus. 

I really enjoyed meeting Dani. I was already a big fan of her work, but I found myself quickly won over by her off beat sense of humour and by her personable approach, which left me hoping to see more of her and her fantastic work soon.


  1. I am so in love with her work! Great interview! :)

  2. Passione, professionalità, innovazione...un connubio perfetto. Congratulazioni!

  3. Bè che dire fantastica intervista...passione e innovazione connubio perfetto.. Complimenti!!!

  4. ma questa ha una mano geniale, fra il bacio e lo scheletro di lady gaga sono rimasta stupefatta.che talento ragazzi!

  5. What a great woman, it takes a lot of passion and commitment in what he does, you see that he loves his job, I love her body painting

  6. Really a great artist ! I love his Masters and his work in general!

  7. I love his Masters and his work in general