A Q&A WITH MAKE UP ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE DICK PAGE
Dick Page is, as Sting once put it ( and I’m not a Sting fan by the way, but I do love a cliché on the odd occasion) an Englishman in New York. He is “a legal alien” as they like to call us Brits when we’re living there……… or even “an alien of outstanding ability” ( as our work visas suggest). Although Make-up artist Dick is now a resident of the US and no longer requires the work visa.
Dick was born on the south coast of England in Portsmouth, but due to having a father in the Navy he moved around a lot and finally ended up living in Watford just outside of London in the late 70’s. In 1987 he made the move to London and started to carve his way into London’s new fashion scene – the anti Supermodel, anti 80’s Glamour generation.
Without any real formal training, nor assisting anybody either ( something he didn’t even know was an option back then) Dick began to work on shoots for The Face and iD magazine with photographers Corinne Day and Juergen Teller. These were the leading grunge fashion photographers from the UK at the time as well as David Sims, Nigel Shafran and Glen Luchford, with Melanie Ward and Anna Cockburn leading the way in fashion styling with these now iconic photographers. All of these people Dick became friend with as he worked with them more and more.
I initially met Dick on one of my first ever shoots with Juergen Teller back in the 90’s. I’m not going to lie, I was intimidated by him, firstly because I was huge fan of his work, but secondly because it soon became apparent to me that he had strong creative opinions that the whole team ( Juergen included) would all listen too. I was so humble and shy back then that I would find it harder to find my voice in those situations. But over the years as I’ve gotten to work with Dick more and get to know him, I realised we have the same dry, dark sense of humour, ( he makes me laugh a lot) and whilst he has strong opinions in both a work and non work situation, that doesn’t mean to say he doesn’t want to listen to yours. He’s just a force to be reckoned with, that’s all.
From his humble fashion beginnings of catching buses with a then 15 year old Kate Moss to get to a shoot, eating numerous sandwiches and pizza slices on shoots for lunch, because the budget was so low if any budget at all, to being booked for his first ever fashion show with Calvin Klein in the early 90’s, here we are in 2016 where Dick has now become one of the leading make-up artists in the world with numerous covers and iconic shoots under his belt, plus a long standing contract with Shisheido since 1997 becoming their Artistic Director in March 2007.
Dick’s latest campaign for Shiseido photographed by Mario Sorrenti.
He’s also an accomplished chef ( on the sort of low down- although his Instagram keeps you up to date with his latest culinary delights), and a happily married man to his long term partner living in New York with their 2 dogs.
So without me waffling on further, I give you ladies and gentlemen, Dick Page.
A few covers, Dick has worked on.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?
The usual. Fireman, astronaut, Kate Jackson ( Charlies Angels)
HOW DID YOU BEGIN TO DO MAKE- UP. IT WAS SUCH A DEPARTURE FROM YOUR PREVIOUS JOB?
I just kind of fell into it. I loved the music and fashion of the 70’s and 80’s and, as I could draw and paint pretty well, I figured makeup was a natural move.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
In Soho and Long Island, NY, and airports…
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU MOVE TO NEW YORK?
In the early/mid 90’s because I was coming here so much, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
IS THERE ANYBODY YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE IF YOU WEREN’T YOU?
I’m still sort of working out how to be me. If I could be someone else it would maybe be an athlete of some sort, a gymnast, dancer or someone physically coordinated and graceful in the way that I’m not and will never be!
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING IN YOUR CITY WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I’d make it more affordable. A lot of creative energy and spirit has been priced out of the city, and even parts of Brooklyn and Queens now.
YOU’RE MARRIED TO YOUR PARTNER, DID YOU EVER THINK YOU WOULD BE MARRIED, BECAUSE I DON’T IMAGINE I EVER WILL BE.
Awww Neil! I didn’t think about getting married because even getting laid seemed unimaginable, but old age never comes alone! Be careful what you wish for…
more of Dick’s work
WHAT ARE YOU INTO RIGHT NOW (MUSIC, FASHION, ART, FOOD)
Oh Gawd, music, John Grant, Perfume Genius, Gillian Welch, Olafur Arnalds (could be an endless list). Fashion, I still love my second hand bits and bobs but I’m a big lad and it’s hard to find stuff that fits, designer wise, the occasional Margiela but not much else, it’s all made for skinny boys! As far as fashion for other folks goes, I still love how uncompromising Rei Kawakubo is. She’s special. Art, Sarah Lucas, Jim Lambie, Wilhelm Sasnal, Paula Rego, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Kara Walker and classics too numerous to list, Turner, Sargent, Caravaggio, Goya, Velasquez … Food, wow! Too much to get into here. Give me another article!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ANIMALS?
Just James and Raggio.( The Dogs)
WHAT MUSIC WERE YOU INTO GROWING UP AND ARE YOU STILL INTO IT NOW?
I loved soul, funk, disco, punk, new wave and all sorts really. It’s still there and I’m always learning and loving different stuff, new and old.
YOU BEGAN TO WORK WITH SHISEIDO IN JAPAN IN 1997 ON A LINE CALLED INOUI. SINCE 2007 YOU BECAME ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, ACTING COLOUR CREATOR AND PRODUCT DEVELOPER FOR SHISEIDO WORLDWIDE, CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THAT JOB AND WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCTS FROM THE WHOLE LINE?
It’s a huge part of the timeline of my professional career. It’s been quite an education and an amazing experience and it keeps evolving and changing. I love so much of the stuff I’ve made with Shiseido, but my heart is really in some of the early colour products like ‘Skin Tints’ and ‘Colour Stick’ that I designed for INOUI ID circa 1999, as there really wasn’t anything like them in the market at that time.
LIST YOUR TOP 5 FAVOURITE BEAUTY PRODUCTS THAT AREN’T SHISEIDO ( CAN BE HAIR/ SKIN/ BODY/ PERFUME)
Habit Rouge by Guerlain, my default fragrance for many years.
Japanese bath salts, mostly the really sulphurous smelling ones, they remind me of Japan of course, but also Iceland.
Neutro Roberts soap from Italy, I get it in the supermarket, it has a good clean smell.
Bien-Etre cologne from France, it’s as cheap as chips and I keep a massive bottle in the fridge to cool me down during nasty New York summers.
Aquaphor, it’s just grease really but it’s great on lips and scratchy elbows etc…
even more of Dick’s work.
IF YOU WERE PUT ON A DESERT ISLAND AND COULD CHOOSE ONLY 10 SONGS TO HAVE ON AN IPOD WHAT WOULD THEY BE? ****PLEASE NOTE: ONE WHOLE ALBUM CAN BE CLASSED AS 1 SONG, SO YOU CAN CHOOSE 10 ALBUMS IF YOU PREFER *** (EXPLAIN IF YOU WANT TO, WHY YOU CHOSE THEM)
John Grant “Queen of Denmark”
Stevie Wonder “Innervisions”,
Brian Eno “Ambient 1, Music for airports”
Rickie Lee Jones “Pirates”
David Bowie “Station to Station”
Blondie “Plastic Letters”
Bill Withers “Greatest Hits”
The Beatles “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Gillian Welch “Time (The Revelator)
and a million others that I’ll be smuggling in my hidden life raft…
IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE BESIDES WHERE YOU ARE, WHERE WOULD IT BE.?
Iceland or Venice…Italy, not California, although I like it there too.
MASTERMIND IS AN ICONIC BRITISH TV QUIZ SHOW WHERE THE CONTESTANTS ARE QUESTIONED FOR 2 MINUTES ON THEIR CHOSEN SPECIALISED SUBJECT. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR SPECIALISED SUBJECT IF YOU WERE A CONTESTANT?
The wit and wisdom of Vivienne Westwood.
WHO OR WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
All sorts, French and Saunders, Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, Tim Minchin, Alan Davies, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Pamela Adlon, John Roberts (Bob’s Burgers), Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal), I could go on…
A shoot for Flair Magazine with Edita Vilkeviciute May 2015 that I worked on with Dick
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE ONE LINER EVER?
“It’s not mean if it’s true”
IN A FILM OF YOUR LIFE, WHOM WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY YOU?
Mark Rylance, because he can do anything and I’m not worthy, or Murray Bartlett, even though he’s younger and cuter than me.
WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNERS THAT YOU WOULD WEAR?
I like suits from Margiela, quite classical tailoring. Other than that I’m shoehorning my fat bastard self into my Helmut Lang archive.
YOU’RE PACKING TO GO ON A TRIP FOR 2 WEEKS AND CAN TAKE 5 FILMS ON ITUNES OR DVD’S WITH YOU, WHAT WOULD THEY BE, AND IF YOU WANT, SAY WHY YOU LOVE THEM? (IT CAN BE SOMETHING YOU HAVEN’T SEE YET) IF NOT FILMS, THEN WHAT BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE?
The talented Mr Ripley
Women in love
I’VE HEARD THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE THAT YOU’RE AN AMAZING CHEF, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING YOU LIKE TO COOK?
It really varies, and thanks for the compliment! Tonight I’m making a sort of Iranian fragrant rice dish with dried limes and fresh herbs and serving it with pan roasted fish. Tomorrow might be mutton stew and carrots.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE DESSERT?
I don’t have a sweet tooth, thank God or I’d be the size of a house! I like a little bit of very dark, bitter chocolate or some good cheese.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN ONE WORD.
Blumarine Campaign A/W 1995/96 starring Milla Jovavich & Johnny Zander by Juergen Telller. ( The first time I met Dick- oh and that’s his hand holding the light metre in the picture)
WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
A Bearodactyl. See- www.theoatmeal.com
WHO WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL FOUR GUESTS TO A DINNER PARTY AT YOUR HOUSE (THEY CAN BE DEAD OR ALIVE)
Only four? Okay… Glenda Jackson, Panti Bliss, Stephen Fry and April Bloomfield
DO YOU HAVE A GUILTY PLEASURE, IF SO WHAT IS IT?
Aha! That would be telling… I don’t believe in guilt, although it can spice things up a bit.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO NEXT?
Who can say?
NAME ANY TYPE OF PRODUCT IE: FOOD, TOYS, CLOTHES, OR COSMETICS ETC THAT YOU ONCE LOVED BUT IS NOW EITHER DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND
I used to use Carbon Tetrachloride to clean my makeup brushes in the 80’s but it turns out (surprise!) to be incredibly toxic, so I don’t miss it and it’s lucky I’m still here really…
A HUGE THANKS TO DICK FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS.
BELOW I’VE ALSO INCLUDED PART OF AN INTERVIEW DICK GAVE FOR THE BLOG, “INTO THE GLOSS”. I FOUND WHAT HE SAID VERY INTERESTING, PROFOUND AND POIGNANT AND I WANTED TO SHARE IT WITH YOU.
“Once I started doing shows in New York, then people started asking for shows in Europe. But the shows then were not at all like the shows now. It was not a zoo. Obviously there were no such things as bloggers. And there were a handful of photographers. The only mainstream reporter was for CNN—plus Tim Blanks was probably doing something. Once or twice I got interviewed. In a way, I think it’s a terrible shame that backstage has become so important. There isn’t any mystery left to a show. I sound like a grandpa, but I like the idea of waiting for a magazine to see what happened at the shows. My sister is a nurse and she sees my work before I do. I’m backstage, and I’m still working on the girls, and then I’m on my way back from the show and she’ll text me and say, ‘Oh, Michael Kors looked lovely!’ And I’m like, ‘Good. Haven’t seen it…’
Anyone who does shows just knows there’s a raft of the cliché questions or directions you’ll get, and a big part of the training is how not to be a bastard about it. But if I had a penny for every time I heard ‘You know—like she did it herself…’ There’s some weird psychology here, but there’s a certain effect that people assume that the less that’s been done to the girl—in spite of her being this genetic anomaly in the first place because she’s six-feet tall and the perfect size—makes it somehow more authentic. Or, you know, they invoke Kate Moss, which is pointless. Invoking Kate is like saying Beetlejuice. It doesn’t mean anything, because it’s Kate. And you’re either Kate or you’re not. Every few years we hear, ‘Oh, she’s the new Kate Moss.’ Which probably happens in all media…’It’s the new X musician, the new Johnny Depp or whatever.’ Who cares. It’s the same with trends—they’re just mathematics and I won’t have anything to do with them. You have to rely on fashion’s goldfish memory that people don’t remember that we’ve done it 20, 30, 40 times before.”
TO READ THE WHOLE INTERVIEW CLICK HERE