An exclusive interview with Chile based makeup artist, Ignacio Bermùdez Curiche. We talk about childhood in Chile, staying creative during a global pandemic and gender fluidity.
BY AUSTIN BRALYNSKI
For our readers that don't know you, could you introduce yourself?
My name is Ignacio Bermúdez Curiche and I was born in Santiago, Chile. I am a 25 year old, gender fluid person who transits and flows freely between masculinity and femininity. I am a privileged person, not all people in my country have the opportunities that have been presented to me especially where I come from and everything is thanks to my mother. I'm aware and grateful of the privileges life has given me, as I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth.
I'm a stylist just like my mother. Throughout my whole life, I watched her work hard to get us out of poverty and grant me a better life than the one she has. She is one of the people I admire the most in my life and I try to follow her example and do my best from a place of humility, love and always being conscious of the social injustices and inequality.
At 12 years old, I was bullied and harassed at school, so I had to leave and change to a new one. The school inspectors told me I was giving my classmates reasons to be bullied for putting on eye makeup, but even so, I never stopped doing it.
How are you managing during quarantine? What are you doing to stay creative and inspired?
Being in quarantine has been pretty rough, as for everyone. It has interfered with my plans in a very significant way, so I’ve been going through a lot of ups and down, especially emotionally. Keeping the cleanliness and order around me is key since it takes up time and it makes me feel clear-headed to carry out different activities. By organizing my surroundings, I can get some inner order that allows me to channel and project myself and set goals. And the biggest thing yet has been makeup. It’s helped me to materialize my feelings and emotions, mostly demons and ghosts and release them in a very therapeutic way.
When and how did you get into makeup?
In 2008, I has my first encounter with makeup. I was 13 and I liked putting on red eyeshadow, being influenced by the emo subculture that in its time was a movement I felt deeply connected to. When I turned 20, I went completely into makeup with a more "dramatic" approach after studying visual arts in Argentina and taking a course on theatrical makeup. I then started to frequently visit clubs and put into practice different types of makeup and clothing looks.
How would you describe your style of makeup?
To tell you the truth, I don't feel comfortable with putting myself in a specific box. I always flow in different styles and techniques and aim to take ideas a bit further from what they can really be. In any case, I feel like the "spooky" look is my personal hallmark, with mixtures of impressionist and post-impressionist art. I always try to evoke deep political issues of what is beauty, identity, gender and even the social context I've been through of privilege, even for being a queer gender fluid gender half blood Mapuche in the Chilean society.
What are your three most favorite ride-or-die makeup products?
The products I would never leave my house without are my Pro Concealer and Correct Palette, so I can keep my skin glowing at all times, a good lipstick in a dark red shade, and the Urban Decay Naked Skin Shapeshifter.
What does makeup mean to you, especially as a male in makeup?
Makeup for me means a powerful tool that helps with the confidence that one wants to determine. I can say for me that gender sex and sexuality lose their centrality, since if one uses makeup as a tool of power and potentiality, none of the above really matters. The feeling and passion for it will always be the same. Seek to be at peace with oneself!
Are there any makeup artists that you look up to or brands you would like to collaborate with one day?
In all honesty, I admire a great number of makeup artists. It's difficult to name just one, but one that has helped me the most as an artist is Ryon Wu (@ryon01). In terms of brands, I think being able to work and connect with other people will always be a good opportunity for teamwork and boosting each other up. I like co-creating, so quite frankly, I do not close myself off from working with any particular brand.
Besides makeup, what are some other things that put you into a creative flow and keep you inspired?
I'm always investigating impressionist or symbolist artists, or any visceral artist in general. My greater sources of inspiration are John Everett Millais, Edgar Degas, and Francis Bacon. On the other hand, music is something that deeply inspires me, so I make playlists according to my mood. Every note, every rhythm, every word makes my mind and body take a ride on a rollercoaster of indescribable feelings, emotions and euphoria. Fashion is also something that takes a main role in my artistic development. I have always been faithful to dressing up as I please and as I feel, which I consider to be a very positive practice for connection.
Do you have any tips or advice for those looking to become a makeup artist?
Always and constantly, one should be true to oneself. Put aside prejudices and the fear of failure. It is important to allow oneself to make mistakes along the way without shame. Mistakes are part of what we were and what we are. Each person has their own rhythm, don't pull your hair or fall into despair if you are not doing as well as someone else. It is necessary to focus on finding your own way and stick to that, making improvements that are best for you and not for others. Don't let anybody tell you that you can't achieve something because anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
What does the future look like for you? Any big goals or dreams you are wanting to achieve?
I've got a lot of ambitions. I'd really like to develop artistically in other areas. I'm as passionate about makeup as I am with visual arts and styling. I always see myself working hard to achieve my goals and being able to do whatever my heart desires. I'd love to produce and mix music in the near future (I'm already working on it.) Also, one of my biggest dreams is becoming a makeup creative and image director for fashion houses or an art director of visual projects. The other thing that I would love to do is give a more live performative turn to my visual character and put it in the physical world, perhaps with a more "drag" turn, but obviously with my gender fluid interpretation. And next year, I'm going to live in Barcelona, to take characterization and special effect courses. So I am very excited about what fate Spain and Europe will bring me!