SLIPPAGE SPOTLIGHT: DAVID SALAZAR-TORRES
An exclusive interview with 22 year old makeup artist, David Salazar-Torres. We talk about the journey to discovering your true passions, staying creative during quarantine, and of course, makeup.
BY AUSTIN BRALYNSKI
Using his face as a canvas to empower the idea of a male in makeup. 22 year old makeup artist, David Salazar-Torres is using his talent with a brush to redefine what it means to be male in a modern society and break down gender roles. He tells us, " I am masculine and strong while in lipstick and rhinestones. I define my own masculinity."
For our readers that don’t know you, could you introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is David Salazar-Torres. I am a 22 year-old makeup artist based out of Virginia Beach with hopes of inspiring others through the art of makeup. I’m an introvert with extroverted tendencies so I love my alone time, but I love meeting people and making new friends! I like to tell people that I’m a makeup artist, with emphasis on the ART.
How are you managing during quarantine? What are you doing to stay creative and inspired?
Not going to lie, the beginning of quarantine was rough. I was laid off from my job and I didn’t know what was going to happen. The only thing that got me through it was knowing that I had my art to fall back on. Staying positive is how I’ve kept myself inspired. I really hit the ground running and took advantage of everyday that I was in quarantine, creating as many looks and videos as I could. There were no off days.
When and how did you get into makeup?
I actually got into makeup through theatre. I went to a performing arts high school where I studied traditional theatre for four years. My initial plans were to move to the big city and pursue an acting career, but things took a different direction once I discovered my passion for makeup in technical theatre. I was 16, and heavily influenced by horror films and TV shows. I remember practicing makeup almost every day at home. My skin hated me for it. I started experimenting with Halloween looks and special effects, but eventually gravitated towards more creative and colorful designs.
How would you describe your style of makeup?
I like to think that I don’t have a specific style and that I branch out into many different genres of face and body paint. However, I’ve been on a geometric kick lately. I really take pride in my line work, as it’s a really tough skill to master. Crisp lines and clean shading are very important to me and during this time, I’ve been taking advantage of every day to perfect my craft.
What are your three most favorite ride-or-die makeup products?
This is probably the hardest question I’ve been asked. Number one would have to be Mehron’s Water-Activated Paradise Paints. In my opinion, they are the best face/body paints on the market. I can’t execute a look without them. Second would have to be Tako by Sugarpill. It is an extremely pigmented, white eyeshadow. A lot of drag queens use this product because of how bright it is; perfect for performing. It’s amazing. My third item would would be Lipstick Queen’s lipstick in the shade Medieval. It’s perfect for neutralizing your lip color and adding a bit of color/shine. I use it for almost every look.
What does makeup mean to you, especially as a male in makeup?
There’s something very empowering about being a male in makeup. It gives me a voice in redefining what it means to be male in modern society and the power to break down gender roles. Growing up, I always struggled with the false and unrealistic ideas of masculinity. It always held me back in expressing who I truly am. Makeup gave me the freedom to express myself in ways I couldn’t find anywhere else and taught me that I can be ALL things “male.” I am masculine and strong while in lipstick and rhinestones. I define my own masculinity.
Are there any makeup artists who you look up to? Or brands you would like to collaborate with one day?
Artists like Dain Yoon, Gabriel Watoniki, and Sarah Tanno are some my biggest inspirations in the makeup industry. Artists with a specific point of view, artists that tell a story, really capture my attention. As far as brands go, I would love to work with Mehron, Kryolan, and Ben Nye. These companies are my ride-or-die and it would be a full-circle moment getting to collaborate with the brands that I used when I first fell in love with makeup.
Besides makeup, what are some other things that put you into a creative flow and keep you inspired?
Two things I can’t survive without: makeup and music. Listening to music is the best way to get me into my creative flow. I like to turn music on, pull out my iPad and start sketching random ideas until I find the perfect one. Each one of my looks is a creative process that always starts with a sketch. When I’m not feeling inspired, I’ll simply search images on the internet, interact with other creatives on social media for ideas, and/or just take an off day for myself. One thing I try to never do is force creativity.
Do you have any tips or advice for those looking to become a makeup artist?
Practice. Practice. Practice! I swear it makes perfect. When I first started makeup, I was practicing everyday, taking pictures of everything I created. The more I noticed improvement, the more inspired I was to keep going. There’s no better feeling than seeing yourself improve on your skill.
What does the future look like for you? Any goals or dreams that you are wanting to achieve?
Hopefully I will be in NYC very soon, pursuing a career in makeup. COVID-19 put a lot of things on hold for now, but I am staying positive. I am using this time to grow my platform and make as many connections with artists as I can. Staying connected is more important now than ever. I’ve already been in contact with some MUA’s in New York and will hopefully make a name for myself in the industry!