Richard Phillips surprised even himself with this project. Using the expert skills of a photo-retoucher, he subjected his own painting to a M·A·C makeover with the new eye shadows, blushes and lipsticks. Andy Warhol did a cameo on The Love Boat in 1985…and in the same spirit, Richard Phillips’ 1998 painting, Spectrum, made its debut on an episode of the scandalous Gossip Girl – a sign of the times! Recycled and re-imagined ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s advertisments and images, and every colourful issue ever considered when pondering the question of “identity” is what Richard Phillips is all about. His bold and beautiful portraits are highly technical, a refinement of precise, academic painting, so relevant to everything M·A·C artistry is all about. A collection of Eye Shadow quads, Lipsticks, Lipglass, and The Perfect Cheek Blush just leap off the canvas!
Lipstick ($14.00 U.S. / $16.50 CDN)
Front Lit Light white yellow (Frost) (Limited Edition)
High Strung A deep pink silver (Frost) (Limited Edition)
Lovin’ It Cool neutral with yellow undertone (Lustre) (Limited Edition)
Hold the Pose Brown plum with gold pearl (Lustre) (Limited Edition)
Full Body Deep red plum (Lustre) (Limited Edition)
Lipglass ($14.00 U.S. / $16.50 CDN)
Young Thing Yellow neutral with gold pearl (Frost) (Limited Edition)
Personal Taste Dirty rose with pink and gold pearl (Frost) (Limited Edition)
New Spirit Light yellow coral (Frost) (Limited Edition)
On Display Purple with yellow pearl (Frost) (Limited Edition)
Skintone Eyeshadow Quad ($36.00 U.S. / $43.00 CDN)
Skintone 1 Light white pink (Lustre) (Limited Edition)
Skintone 2 Dirty gold (Frost) (Limited Edition)
Notoriety Dirty brown with gold pearl (Velvet) (Limited Edition)
Rich & Earthy Rich coral bronze (Veluxe Pearl) (Limited Edition)
Private Viewing Eyeshadow Quad ($36.00 U.S. / $43.00 CDN)
Lightfall Pale pink (Satin) (Limited Edition)
Look at the Eyes Light violet (Frost) (Limited Edition)
In the Gallery Dirty blue pink (Matte) (Limited Edition)
Private Viewing Deep brown plum (Matte) (Limited Edition)
Photo Realism Eyeshadow Quad ($36.00 U.S. / $43.00 CDN)
Photo Realism Gold shimmer with gold pearl (Frost) (Limited Edition)
Fresh Approach Cool mint green (Veluxe Pearl) (Limited Edition)
Image Maker Dirty grey green (Frost) (Limited Edition)
Grey Range Deep blue green (Veluxe Pearl) (Limited Edition)
Plush Lash ($12.00 U.S. / $14.00 CDN)
Plushblack Black (Permanent)
Powder Blush ($18.00 U.S. / $22.00 CDN)
The Perfect Cheek Dirty pale pink (Matte) (Limited Edition)
Notable Dirty brick brown red (Satin) (Limited Edition)
Lipsticks: Front Lit, High Strung, Lovin’ It, Hold the Pose, Full Body
Lipglass: Young Thing, Personal Taste, New Spirit, On Display
Skintone Eyeshadow Quad
Private Viewing Eyeshadow Quad
Photo Realism Eyeshadow Quad
Plushblack Plush Lash
The Perfect Cheek Powder Blush
Notable Powder Blush
Richard Phillips makes lush, provocative,
seven-foot tall oil paintings of men and women based on photographs he cuts out
of magazines. Most are fashion models or female pop stars, though he also
painted Leonardo DiCaprio and George Bush. Removed from their original context,
cropped and pumped up with vibrant colour, he teases out the subliminal messages
embedded in each image, often an equation of sex, propaganda and power. Now 46,
Mr. Phillips welcomes collaborations with fashion companies; previously he
created an ad campaign for Mont Blanc. He also has adapted one painting to
evening bags by Jimmy Choo, and contributed another to an episode of Gossip
Girl, in which he also appeared, playing himself. He lives in New York with his
fiancé, the German-born artist Josephine Meckseper, and is represented by the
Larry Gagosian Gallery, with which he has had successful shows in both Los
Angeles and New York.
Linda Yablonsky: Have you ever worn makeup, Richard?
Richard Phillips: Oh, sure. Absolutely. I was on the death-rock Goth scene in Boston in the early 1980s. I lived with members of a Goth band and an actual witch, so wearing eyeliner and black nail polish was really standard at that time.
Q: For your collaboration with M·A·C, you were given the colour palette of a particular line of makeup to work with. Not black.
A: It was hard to make sense of it at first.
Q: That surprises me. Aren’t you used to painting women in makeup?
A: I know how to make it look as if the makeup is on flesh but I don’t know how the makeup artists actually do it.
Q: So how did you figure it out?
A: I worked with Pascal Dangin, the number one photo retoucher in the fashion business. You know how the human body changes to adapt to its environment? Pascal takes evolution farther, beyond what is physically possible. He has adapted the body to meet unreasonable expectations of beauty, literally creating forms that the eye wants to see.
Q: But didn’t you adapt this painting from one you made for your last show at the Gagosian Gallery?
A: When M·A·C approached me, I knew I wouldn’t have time to make a new painting but I thought I could “retouch” the one I had just finished for the show. Why confine retouching to photography alone? Instead of trying to repaint my canvas with the M·A·C makeup, I thought I could ask Pascal to put the makeup on the painting by digital means.
Q: So you virtually “made up” the painting, the way a makeup artist would a living model?
A: Yes. It was quite a unique collaboration. Cosmetics create different types of appearances for a face and to have them put into a painting of a face – I don’t think it’s ever been done before.
Q: Can you describe the process?
A: Pascal created six different possibilities from the M·A·C palette, using so many different layers and separations of colour it made my head spin.
Q: Then how did you decide on the right “look” for the painting?
A: The first examples were shocking because they were too bright. The M·A·C colours were much more muted and subdued. So we made the lips darker and cooled down the skin tone. The eye shadow is also radically different than it is in the painting, where the head appears upside-down. Here it’s sideways. We really put a lot of effort into creating something extraordinary.
Q: Did you choose this painting to work on because it’s a close-up of a woman’s face?
A: She’s not wearing heavy makeup in the original, so she made the perfect canvas. It’s called “Bondensee,” the name of the lake that joins Switzerland, Austria and Germany. In my painting, it appears in the background behind the model, whose image I took from a porn magazine.
Q: It’s a very arresting image, partly because it is cropped so closely, and partly because of the dark tones of the M·A·C colours you’ve applied to it.
A: In painting, you can create power through beauty, and when I speak of power I am speaking of creating unfulfilled desire. This image is advertising something that isn’t there – the unseen eroticism of the rest of her body. The painting is really an expression of sensuality.
Q: Funny, but the reproduction still seems more like a painting than a photograph. The eyelashes alone are incredibly detailed.
A: I know. You could put your face right up to this face and it will still look exactly as if it were painted. I was floored when I saw it. I’m still not over it.