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Experienced professor gives students’ skills a makeover

Students meet in the basement of the Center for the Arts for the principles of makeup for stage and film class. CHRIS FRANZ / chrisfranzphoto.blogspot.com

BY RACHEL LEINGANG
leingara@mnstate.edu

Film studies junior Samuel Johnson had never worn makeup before.

After taking theater professor Ricky Greenwell’s principles of makeup for stage and film, Johnson not only knows how to apply stage makeup, but found a real-life application.

Many different types of makeup are layed out during a principles of makeup for stage and film class. CHRIS FRANZ / chrisfranzphoto.blogspot.com

“I was badly hungover the day I had to act in a directing scene,” Johnson said, “and I had to use the corrective makeup to remove the bruises under my eyes. That was kind of awesome.”
Greenwell’s makeup class is tailored to theater students, but film students often take the class as well. Greenwell demonstrates techniques during one class period, then students do the applications themselves in the following class.

“It’s structured on a core for what I see needed for theater students,” Greenwell said. “It’s an introduction course, so I’m teaching students how to read their face, how to understand it, the contours.”

Tutorials on basic fashion makeup, old age, thick and thin, animals and latex application have allowed art education senior Moriah Thielges to see the art in makeup application. She is considering incorporating it as an art teacher someday.

“I could see some of this, like the old age makeup and the animal makeup, would just be really fun and interesting for kids in an alternative media or intro to art class,” Thielges said. “It’s very similar to painting or pastel.”

Senior Sarah Chamma gets a thin layer of latex applied on her face during a principles of makeup for stage and film class. CHRIS FRANZ / chrisfranzphoto.blogspot.com

Greenwell has been teaching at MSUM for seven years and has had makeup certification for over 15 years. He is still active as a professional makeup artist, doing commercial work, film shoots and work with the Fargo-Moorhead Opera.

“He’s really helpful,” Johnson said. “He knows what he’s talking about. It’s pretty obvious that he’s had experience with makeup as a professional, not just academically.”
Thielges appreciates Greenwell’s ability to advise during application days.

“He’ll come and look at you and say, ‘This is how your face contour is working, maybe try these tips,’ because he’s done it for years,” Thielges said. “He knows how all the makeup acts on different people’s faces.”
For Greenwell, although other majors take his class, the focus is on professional development for theater majors.

Dawn Lundstrom (right) uses a blow dryer to dry recently applied latex on Sarah Chamma's face during a principles of makeup for stage and film class. CHRIS FRANZ / chrisfranzphoto.blogspot.com

“The exercises are things that should be in their arsenal if they were presented with a character and had to reproduce it,” Greenwell said. “You don’t have a professional makeup artist as an actor. You are your professional makeup artist.”

Principles of makeup for stage and film is offered in the spring. Advanced makeup, which teaches prosthetic appliances and is also taught by Greenwell, is offered on a rotating basis.

To read more from this writer, view her blog at rachelleingang.blogspot.com

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