Renowned Japanese make-up artist, Aya Kudo is a young style prodigy who firmly believes in challenging herself to etch her expertise in the industry. Based out of New York, Kudo’s outstanding work spans editorial, fashion, photography, catalogue, to name a few. Kudo shares her incredible journey with Salon India.
How and when did you get started in the make-up industry?
It all started in High School. I was interested in Chemistry and Art classes, and so my main focus was to become a chemist. However, I loved to paint, too! So, when the time came for me to decide the profession I would be taking up, there was a conflict. Mixing colours, making my own tones and textures on canvas was such fun! Soon I became passionate enough to shift all of my attention to learn and create make-up as much as I could. Later in Tokyo, I took the Shu Uemura Makeup classes, and then started assisting to learn at work.
What was your first big break?
My decision to shift base to New York opened up a world of opportunities. I started to work with creative professionals from the industry, and it was one of the turning points in my career.
Did you have a mentor?
There were a few amazing artists who I followed at the initial stage of my career. Michiru, a renowned make-up artist in Japan, inspires me immensely and I still love her style. But, I always strive to carve my own niche instead of emulating anyone. I realised that by watching my peers, I was looking at a platter of ideas and techniques. I adapted the ones I liked and gave them my personal twist.
What were the challenges back then?
Basically trying to get into other areas of the world besides Japan, was one of the biggest challenges. I wanted to learn and see more, as well as showcase my talents.
What are the key factors to be kept in mind while doing make-up for different platforms like, fashion, editorial and movies?
For fashion and editorials, make-up can be creative, even crazy and surreal. In videos or films, the idea is to keep the skin more matte and less shiny. One needs to be well prepared when working. There are no set rules, but having a creative bent of mind is a prerequisite. Be calm, learn to handle pressure and you will be able to sail through.
What are your favourite products and brands in make-up?
Kevyn Aucoin Skin Enhancer, MAC face and body, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, Chanel Aqua Ultra Light Palette, Tom Ford Traceless Foundation, Dior and Gucci eyeshadows, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and Glossier for eyebrows are some of my favourites.
How would you like to define your evolution as an artist?
Evolution is an ongoing process that cannot be capped at any age or stage of life. I love to push the boundaries of creativity and challenge myself from time to time. I have come a long way and believe have a long way to go.
What is your advice for aspiring make-up artists?
Being humble and passionate will always take you ahead. Learn the tricks of the trade at work, so it is a good idea to assist experienced make-up artists.
What are your views on the global make-up industry? What are your future plans?
Organic cosmetics are going to redefine the future of make-up industry. With rising awareness about the environment, brands are gearing up to create organic products without compromising on the quality. I am planning to launch my cosmetics brand, and work on my skills to evolve as an artist.