Legendary Sean Conklin
SEAN CONKLIN is a freelance make-up artist, graduate of Make-up Designory, Instructor at MUD’s Los Angeles Campus, and most recently an Emmy winner for his work on the HBO Max Original TV Show, “Legendary” for Outstanding Contemporary Make-up for
a Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Program. Follow fabulously talented voguing houses on “Legendary” as they ignite the runway at extravagant balls showcasing their skill, style, and stamina for a shot at a $100,000 grand prize.
Beyond his recent Emmy WIN, his experience extends into film, television and print with professional credits that include American Idol, BET Award Show, VH1 Honors Award Show, IPSY YouTube Videos, and numerous WB spots (Where L.A. Lives), HGTV spots (Selling L.A.) MTV's Next, TV Land's She's Got the Look. and various infomercials and feature films.
From catalogs to magazines, Sean’s work has been featured in Lands’ End Catalogs, LA Weekly, Flaunt and Elle magazines. He’s worked with notable entertainment personalities including Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliott, Rhianna, Fergi, Brittany Spears, Brie Larson, Chris Brown, Marcia Cross, Jason Alexander, Adam Arkin, Bill Mosely, Camryn Manheim, Jane Kaczmarek, Justin Kirk, Jason Priestly, Alanis Morissette and Giovanni Ribisi. Sean led a team of MUD make-up artists behind the scenes at the 2014 & 2015 Miss USA and Miss Teen USA competitions.
His commitment to perfecting his art and years of dedication implementing MUD’s brand philosophy earned him the role of MUD’s Lead Artist. He is an active contributor to the development of MUD products, designer for MUD’s seasonal campaigns and has been an International Brand Ambassador educating and training MUD partners around the world. His work as a featured artist on MUD’s official YouTube channel has helped garner millions of views and countless online fans worldwide. When Sean’s not on-set you can find him at Make-up Designory teaching his craft to future make-up artists.
What inspired you to become a make-up artist, and how did you get started in the industry?
Sean: My sister, Nancy, was my greatest inspiration in my make-up career. As a young adult I struggled to find direction for my future. Nancy reminded me that I had a love for art and perhaps I should find something in that field. She suggested that I add theater make-up courses to my college schedule. About mid semester, my makeup instructor Larry Jorgensen invited an educator from Make-up Designory to demonstrate make-up applications for our class. Larry was a huge advocate of MUD and encouraged me to enroll to further my education in film and television make-up. I applied for The Master Make-up Artistry Program and that's where it all began.
Can you walk us through the process of creating the makeup looks for this particular show? How do you collaborate with the director and actors to achieve the desired result?
Sean: On this particular show each episode had a category or theme. The houses (houses are made up of 5 contestants) were given the category and they had to communicate their ideas to costumes, hair and make-up. So, we listened very carefully to their inspirations and ideas. At that point, we met with the various departments to begin the process of finalizing the look. Our goal was to turn their visions into reality. It was a ton of hard work. The kind of looks we did took hours of preparation and patience. I have to give a shout out to the Department Head, Tonia Green and the Key Make-up Artist, Tyson Fountaine. Not only are they both creative and talented, but they built an amazing team to ease the process.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a make-up artist, and how do you overcome them?
Sean: Time is a big challenge I face as a make-up artist. You need to work fast. You have to know when to walk away from an application. Let it go! I also keep a small digital clock on my station to log my time. You'll find that production is always trying to take it away from you.
Can you share any tips or tricks for aspiring make-up artists who are just starting out in the industry?
Sean: I've always encouraged my students to take additional art courses to train their eye in highlights, shadows and color theory. It helps tremendously in their make-up applications. Another tip, be clean and organized. But I have to say, the most critical component for success is to be a be a great person. Kindness, punctuality, and always take criticism in stride.
What has been your most memorable project or experience as a make-up artist, and why?
Sean: I have to choose Legendary as my most memorable project, because it challenged so many aspects of my artistry. Corrective beauty, drag and special make-up effects were all a part of the looks that we created. It was a super fun show that in the end allowed us to receive multiple nominations, and awards.