Painting With Lipstick And Strengthening Beauties: Interview With Katherine Mason
Katherine Mason started her Lipstick Series in order to support women who have battled or are currently battling, breast cancer. When she asked women what the hardest part of their journeys with cancer had been, they had a shockingly similar answer: They didn’t feel beautiful anymore.
After finding out that a good friend was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, Katherine had the opportunity to sit down with her and try to better understand the battle she was fighting. She told her that before chemotherapy treatments, she would apply lipstick because it was the only thing that made her feel strong and beautiful again. From then on, Katherine decided to create paintings entirely out of lipstick. Her series continues to grow thanks to the generosity of those who have donated lipstick in honour and in memory of their loved ones. Katherine’s privileged to be able to incorporate these people into her work, keeping their spirits alive!
Join us in the conversation with the artist, Katherine Mason where she shares her journey of painting with lipsticks after she felt deeply for her friend who was fighting cancer, how she paints with lipsticks giving so much vividness and depth, sharing some bits about the theme of her paintings and works with just donated lipsticks and also shares insights about her series ‘Body Collection‘.
1. Katherine aka Painted with lipstick, the name says it all. I read you support a noble cause and that is in fact how you started working entirely with lipsticks. Would you share the story behind it?
Of course! I started my Lipstick Series back in 2014 after a family friend of ours was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. At that time, I wanted to challenge myself with a new series and I felt God was leading me to focus on breast cancer as my subject matter. In order to come up with my overall theme for the series, I asked her what the hardest part about her recent breast cancer diagnosis had been and she had a shocking answer! She said, aside from losing your hair, there are so many physical side effects to chemo and radiation that people never talk about. Due to all of these changes to her body and her appearance, she no longer saw herself as feminine and beautiful. Her doctors mentioned how important it was to find something that made her feel positive so she started applying lipstick before all of her treatments. She said it was the one thing that made her feel beautiful, powerful and in control again. I loved the fact that something as small as a tube of lipstick could make such a positive difference during a difficult time. I took that thought and expanded on it, promising myself that I would find a way to create an entire series of work completely out of donated lipstick to raise money for the breast cancer community. It’s been a long and difficult road of experimentation and study but it has been the most fulfilling work I’ve done thus far.
2. How do you achieve depth and vividness in your artwork using Lipsticks?
I wish this was a simple answer but unfortunately, it’s not! Over the years I’ve developed various application techniques that have allowed me to build multiple layers of lipstick on top of one another. This, along with having a diverse colour palette, allows me to get a great range of depth within my work. As far as vividness goes, there are a handful of brands that have incredible pigment formulas, which allow me to get vivid colours within my paintings. Some of which include Chanel, Estee Lauder, Yves Saint Laurent, and Mac. I use such
pigments in areas of my paintings where I want to draw the viewers’ attention to or highlight a specific focal point within the subject matter.
Cancer is dark and destructive but these women, and the light they exude, take center stage. I want to capture that light.
3. I noticed your artworks are majorly Roses. Would you share why you chose them as your subject?
My rose painting was actually the second subject matter I focused on within my Lipstick Series. I transitioned from the female figure into florals for a couple of reasons, the first being I wanted another feminine subject matter that could appeal to a broader audience since not everyone is comfortable purchasing and displaying nudes in their home. The second is that roses are very symbolic of the feminine essence. They’re both beautiful and fragile, while still exuding strength and tenacity represented through their thorny base. I felt the rose
was a perfect representation of the female spirit when facing any challenge that life throws at us.
4. Katherine, I am just curious to know how the donation of Lipsticks works for you. As in do you make all your artwork out of the donations you get?
Yes, every painting is created through the use of my donated lipstick tubes! It was harder in the early stages of this series because I had to work within the limited inventory I had at the time. However, as donations have rolled in over the years and my inventory has grown, I’ve had much more freedom and versatility when it comes to building my colour palettes and producing my paintings. A lot of people advise me to get sponsored by a large makeup company, but truthfully, the stories behind each lipstick tube I receive from women all over
the US are what makes these paintings so special! My work is an accumulation of so many women, and I have the honor of bringing them together on the canvas.
5. Your series ‘Body Collection’ is very touching. Each painting showcases the emotions behind it. Would you elaborate more on this?
My body collection is a part of my series that holds a lot of emotion and meaning for those who have personally experienced cancer, in any form. This collection is made up of four original lipstick paintings of the female figure. Each composition highlights a woman during a different phase of her cancer journey. Through the titles of the paintings DEVASTATED, ADJUST, DEBATE and REFLECT, you get an inside look into not only the emotions these women are experiencing but how that emotion is displayed through their physical form. Cancer is an emotionally draining as well as physically engrossing disease and I wanted these paintings to represent that hard truth.
6. Katherine, would you please share details if someone wants to donate their Lipsticks and help you in this noble cause?
Absolutely! This series continues to grow thanks to the generosity of so many! As of right now, my lipstick donations are closed until I can get my current inventory sorted out. Therefore, the BEST way to support this series and my mission is to purchase a print of my work or an original painting. I donate 20% of my proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Foundation which isn’t possible without your financial support! I also offer custom lipstick paintings for those who want a one-of-a-kind work of art, which can be created out of your very own lipsticks! For more information, or to purchase my work, visit my website at www.paintedwithlipstick.com
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