They say it's quality over quantity, but what happens when you get both in a package? Bunny Hazel Clarke (@bunnyhazel) is one of those hard to come by artists who's work that is remarkable, no matter what form you might find it in. From makeup artist, to scout, to painter, Bunny's work is incredibly dynamic and we had to know more about her craft.
Q: You are clearly a multi-faceted artist, but what is your favourite artistic medium and why?
A: I’ve actually really enjoyed getting back into painting over the past year - it’s what I originally studied. During lockdown, I had no other faces to paint, as I left my kit in London to isolate with my parents in Devon, so I loved having the time to paint more of my ‘squishy’ portraits, as I’ve been calling them. Think of them as a celebration of when we think we look gross - when that front camera captures all of your double chins, but painted with love and kindness. I paint with oils which feels like makeup; it’s nice and gloopy and glossy. Mixing colours is so satisfying too - much easier than taking a whole suitcase of different products to make up a face. These faces don’t talk back though - not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing.
Q: Where do you take inspiration from for your work?
A: I really try my best to not just reference other makeup looks, as it can all get a bit diluted. I’m a people watcher, I also scout models, so I guess I’ve got a curious eye - whatever I see gets logged in and can be regurgitated as a look. Sometimes it’s a tasteful painting that might inspire me, but it also could be something that needs more of a sense of humour, such as a recent shoot that was inspired by Tanya from Footballers’ Wives. I had to buy a fake tanning mitt - first time for everything!
Q: Do you like to shock and take your audience by surprise? Why?
A: There’s no point in being predictable. Most editorial is unpaid. You might as well make it memorable and take the risk. Is my work shocking though? I showed one of my favourite stories (Twins Beauty - Vogue Italia) on a date once and he just didn’t get it at all and laughed nervously. So I guess it depends on who the audience is.
Q: What made you want to portray your makeup work in the polaroid form?
A: Put it this way, makeup gets washed off and it’s heartbreaking when you don’t get a good picture of it. I tried iPhone pics, but they looked lacklustre and I prefer having a photo to hold. It feels more special, and the sheer volume of how many I have now is my best reminder that I have actually achieved something in my career.
The project started when I bought a cheap yellow Instax camera from Argos to document a project I was doing with Grant James-Thomas back in 2015. We held an open casting in the warehouse we were living in with about 40 models over two days. Grant scanned their faces in my flatbed scanner with very abstract makeup on, so I knew I needed a way to record all of the looks I did. From there I was hooked - it was so satisfying to see the photo develop straight away, and I now have a way of showing all of my work unedited to clients. Most importantly, there are no forgotten makeup looks anymore!
Q: Are there any beliefs or quotes you live by?
A: Black Lives Matter!!!!
Q: Why do you think the beauty and fashion industry are so connected?
A: We all just want to be loved don’t we! To be seen, to be understood - fashion and beauty are such instant ways to ask for that. I may be biased, but beauty can communicate your character louder and clearer than fashion though - a stern eyebrow, a warm blush - it’s so fun and expressive to have control over how people see you. I wish more men got to experience as much transformation with it as women do - it’s powerful stuff.
Q: What motivates you to create new looks?
A: Knowing that if I don’t, I’ll be swept away by the constant tide of trends. I wish makeup artists could work like rockstars, we could produce an album of looks, tour it for a bit and then take a year out to be inspired for the next one. Imagine if we got royalties for everyone looking at our work too. Instead it’s all so transient - I feel a huge pressure to produce work constantly and wish we could all stick to quality over quantity.
Q: How would you define beauty?
A: Beauty is so addictive. It’s like a can of Pringles for the eyes. Ever found yourself staring at something? It’s beautiful. Ever walked an extra 5 miles just to see the view? That’s in the name of beauty. We are all guilty of zombie behaviour to try and experience it, the amount of times I’ve stood in awe drooling at an amazing building, or even getting a bit tongue-tied talking to someone gorgeous. It really does drive more of our impulses than you may think.
When we do a fashion shoot, the whole team is there to push beauty to our maximum output, and that’s the joy of the job. You can have conversations like - hmm, what if we went and shot this collection on safari at sunrise? And you can say, sure great idea - but can her hair be down to her waist and her skin be painted like a Rococo-style French queen? Then you get to do exactly that, and it’s all for the never ending search of pure, perfect beauty.