Olly Fisk arrived on the UK makeup scene a few years ago and has had a seriously impressive career since. With an eye for flawless skin and an expert in airbrushing, the freelance makeup artist has worked on the BRITS, become musician Raye’s right-hand man, and has been featured in established publications such as Grazia and Notion.
Not originally destined for makeup artistry, Olly’s passion for beauty largely stems from love of art and music, saying “I became obsessed with performers makeup”. Here, Voir catches up with how he has navigated through his career and what’s next.
What was your first experience with makeup? what piqued your interest?
I was always into art when I was a kid and I have always drawn and painted. That evolved into creating art on faces. I remember going to see Cirque du Soleil for the first time, and becoming obsessed with the performer’s make-up. I also played around with drag make-up which actually taught me a lot about how make-up can transform not only somebody’s face but their confidence and attitude.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I hadn’t originally planned on becoming a make-up artist. I went to uni to study animation actually, but I studied colour theory and lighting which really shaped my approach to my work. I’m naturally drawn to creative people and I have a massive love for music so when I moved to London I made friends with similar-minded people who started getting me work on various jobs.
You have an impressive career – what are your highlights?
This year was my first time doing the BRITS, I got Raye ready. I remember always watching the awards when I was young and always loved it so it was a bit of a full circle moment for me. Other highlights for me is whenever I get to see my work in physical form, years ago I did the make-up for the promotion of a stage show and I saw my work on a billboard for the first time which was really awesome.
What has been the most challenging part of your career?
I find it quite difficult to not always be too critical of myself and my work. Also it can be hard to not always compare yourself to other people, especially with how popular social media has become. Sometimes it seems like someone’s talent comes second to their “following”.
How would you describe your signature look/style?
I use Airbrush make-up quite a lot which I don’t see a lot of people doing that much anymore. I love the finish it provides and how well it works for a variety or different jobs (i.e. works for TV, for flash photography, for events…) I don’t know if I’d say I have a signature look or style but I am obsessed with creating gorgeous skin. Whether that be a velvety matte finish or fresh and dewey, I just really love focusing on creating a beautiful base.
How did you grow your portfolio?
Still very much a work in progress. By doing test shoots by approaching photographers, stylists & hairstylists who I admire.
Do you have a beauty motto?
Honestly no, but maybe just to not take everything so seriously.
What are your goals now?
As the world is finally starting to open back up, I’m really keen to get to travel with work. I’ve also always wanted to do a big beauty campaign.
Who are your idols in the creative industry?
I find so many people hugely inspiring. Of course Kevin Aucoin is a big icon of mine, I think he really changed the game and I’m still obsessed with the 90s supermodel look. I love using Instagram to find inspiration. Right now I’m really loving the work of Michael Anthony, Mona Leanne & Ana Takahashi.
Have you worked with anyone in particular in the industry that you really enjoyed doing projects with?
Of course Raye, we work together so much. It is always a collaboration and we feed each other’s creativity and bounce ideas back and forth. We have worked together for years now and have really evolved her look.
Has Covid and lockdowns affected you as an MUA? and what positive/ negative attributes came out of it?
Of course, as with everyone! One positive outcome I have noticed is much more focus on artists’ hygiene practices, which I definitely feel was needed. A negative attribute that I’m still finding happening is people using Covid as an excuse to cut costs, not being able to go with talent to studios so then not being able to do touch-ups. That’s been quite frustrating.
Do you have any words of wisdom for a budding makeup artist?
Find your niche and perfect your craft. Reach out to people who you admire. Don’t feel like you have to say yes to everything. Please don’t undercut artists just to get a job – we shouldn’t have to work for free.
Interview By Rosina Findlay