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With over a decade of doing hair and makeup in the fashion industry, Janina Zais felt that her inner artist was being held back. To satiate her creative cravings, she found a way to marry her skillset, turning shaved heads into a canvas for vivid designs. Her first foray into hair art came by chance about two years ago, when she met Belgian web artist Tom Galle and members of the Sucuk und Bratwurst creative collective. They quite literally had a brainchild, with Zais painting the anatomy of the organ onto one of their shaved heads. Since then, she’s continued transforming the back of heads into one-of-a-kind works that merge self expression and visual culture.
From peace signs to anarchy symbols, the Berlin-based artist has made hair into a new medium for making a statement. The sky’s the limit when Zais collaborates with her friends, who are also usually her models. Experimenting with shaving in designs, spraying on color, or hand-painting the head, she creates radical looks that are as eye-catching as they are playfully irreverent.
Here, Zais fills CR in on her creative journey and finding power in quarantine.
How did you come to doing your hair art?
“I come from an artist family. My grandma was a very talented painter and my father, too. I started ballet at the age of three, so I got in touch with makeup and dressing up very early. I have always painted and I never wanted to do anything else. I knew very early that I wanted to make art, but the way was not quite clear to me until my mother told me to do something that I enjoy and that is easy for me. I have always been interested in the fashion world, so I decided at 16 to become a hair and makeup artist. I have been working in the business for over 10 years now and I always missed the artistic aspect. I have a feeling that as a makeup artist you are more of a service provider than an artist, so I discovered hair art as an art form for me.”
The hair art provided that creative freedom.
“I have always tried to incorporate my art into my makeup, but it was never enough. It was always too one-sided for me, so I am very grateful that today I can use the heads as a canvas and it reaches people.”
Do you have a favorite look you’ve done?
“‘Frank’ is one of my personal favorites because the story behind the picture was a project [close to my heart], and was destroyed by the coronavirus. I don’t know if I can continue working on this project in Poland again, but the memory of that time will always be in my heart.”
What products do you use to create the hair art?
“I mostly use body painting colors. When I do commission work for clients I use colors from Artistique Freak, which last the longest and are very color intensive.”
What is your personal makeup routine?
“I’m super easy. I don’t like the feeling of makeup on my face, so I use really soft makeup. I use Mac [Cosmetics] for the face, I have eyebrow gel, and then a little concealer. Really simple and easy.”
How have you been staying creative in quarantine?
“I used quarantine time to calm down and to question everything–myself and my art and what I actually want to express. I am slowly getting back into my power and I have a lot of ideas I am working on right now.”
Anything you can share?
“At the beginning of the year, I spent a lot of time in the art studio of my friend Mateusz von Motz. He is an incredible artist and painter from Poland. We worked on different ideas to take my hair art to the next level. Since the lockdown, I couldn’t continue to work on new ideas because my work material was left in the studio, but the plan is to also do hair art on other types of hair. I’d like to go one step further, do something more unique and special.”
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createdAt:Thu, 11 Jun 2020 22:21:51 +0000