Behind the Biz | Gaylinyet Roberts

I became familiar with Gaylinyet Roberts' hair and makeup artistry in the Seattle photography community. Every time I came across a set of portraits of an individual and adored their overall look, it was the work of Gaylinyet (or Gaylin for short). Besides the fact that I desperately wanted her to work her magic on me, I wanted even more to meet Gaylin and find out when she discovered her amazing talent and how she she got started making the rest of us look like the very best version of ourselves. That makeup look in between "way too much" and "hardly anything at all" - Gaylin calls it the "beautiful in between," and that's the look she aims to achieve on all of her fortunate clients.

Through a series of strategic steps and by being candid with herself about what she wants, she has been able to earn new clients and new opportunities. Gaylinyet's advice for others looking to move forward in their careers? " Whatever work you give time to is the work you’re going to put out there, which inevitably is the type of work that you’ll continue to attract.  It’s cyclical. So, focus on booking work that gets you fired up." I think Gaylin's advice can apply to all careers, regardless of industry or level of experience.

I'm excited to share Gaylin's story because it deserves to be noticed. Whether you have an interest in this particular industry or something entirely different, her lessons and approach to following her dreams are nothing short of inspiring.

"Seeing someone smile so brightly they can’t contain it because I’ve helped them feel beautiful- that’s everything to me." 

How can you not want to work with a makeup artist with that kind of philosophy?! Gaylin is one of the most gorgeous women that I've ever gotten to know, inside and out. Do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with her work. As you get to know a little bit about her here - you'll see what I mean.

Name of studio, Year established, Services offered, Studio address, etc.
I don’t have an official studio, but my business name is Gaylinyet- which is my first name. Most people call me Gaylin or G for short though.  I am a make up artist, and the majority of my work is done on location.  I started doing make up when I was 18, so 12+ years now! I just launched my new site over at gaylinyet.com too!

Why and when did you decide to become a full time artist?
I started doing make up out of necessity. I just had too many experiences of going to get my make up done make up counters and salons, and I never left looking like how I wanted to look.  I would either look like a clown, or like I had nothing on at all, and I wanted to find a beautiful in between. So, I learned how to do my own make up.  Once I started wearing make up, people started asking me for help with their own make up and it kind of snow balled from there.

How has your art changed since you started? How would you like to see it grow?
When I started, I was anchored to one brand because I worked in a department store.  Now, as an independent make up artist, the sky is the limit! There are SO many smaller indie make up brands that I love playing with.  Of course I still have my go-to brands, but its nice not being limited, so much more artistic freedom, textures, colors to choose from.

Becoming a full time makeup artist can be a huge risk financially. How have you handled this hurdle? What advice do you have for others who are trying to overcome the financial aspect of becoming an artist full time?
I tend to be very financially conservative, so I made sure I had a solid 1 year, 2 year, 5 year business plan and plenty of savings just in case I have a light work month.   For many years I balanced my day job and make up, until I had enough steady work to make the leap to full time make up.

How can potential clients contact you to book your services?
My website! Gaylinyet.com or e-mailing me directly Hello@Gaylinyet.com.

What advice can you offer other aspiring artists?
Don’t get trapped in boring work that makes you want to poke your eyes out. Whatever work you give time to is the work you’re going to put out there, which inevitably is the type of work that you’ll continue to attract.  It’s cyclical. So, focus on booking work that gets you fired up.

How has being a makeup artist affected you personally?
Being a makeup artist has turned me into the WORST makeup client actually! It would be nearly impossible for me to have my make up done by someone else.  Even for my wedding I did my own make up.  My wedding coordinator begged me to let the on site make up artist do it, but I just couldn’t! Her words were, “I have never seen a bride do her own wedding make up.” But I just had too! Kind of a funny moment really.

How did you attract a client base? Was it marketing or more word of mouth?
Word of mouth for sure.  I am lucky to have a lot of repeat business.  I have one client that I did wedding make up for, then her bridesmaids contacted me for their weddings, and then THEIR bridesmaids- 3 degrees of separation, and still going. I like it because then I become part of their group- and we have a good time.

What advice can you offer other aspiring makeup artists?
Don’t get trapped in boring work that makes you want to poke your eyes out. Whatever work you give time to is the work you’re going to put out there, which inevitably is the type of work that you’ll continue to attract.  It’s cyclical. So, focus on booking work that gets you fired up.

What was the biggest challenge you have had to overcome in your work?
For years and years I took pride in not putting myself out there, or having a website- yet still having more than enough work by word of mouth.  I liked being the secret make up artist that only certain people knew about.  But looking back I think about all the good work I have done over the years, and there’s nothing to show for it. Now I have a little place to call my own (Gaylinyet.com) and I love that people have a place to go to actually SEE my work.

Who is your ideal client?
My ideal clients are badass photographers, creative agencies, and people that want to do beautiful work with a bit of an edge.  I just want to do cool work, so I’m open to whatever capacity that might be in.

Best moment of your career so far?
There are so many!  Recently at my "Oh Sh!t, The Desert" workshop I did make up for a shoot out in Joshua Tree.  I was wearing 5 inch heels, probably not the smartest but I love me some heels, running around in the desert, dodging fire ants, doing make up on a hot couple. I had this moment like, “This is so so AWESOME!"

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t doubt your intuition.  I think the times I have been most successful, both personally and as a make up artist, are when I have listened to my gut.

What is the most rewarding part of doing what you do?
The most rewarding thing I do is seeing people’s confidence EXPLODE when they see what they look like after I’ve done their make up.  And I’m not saying anyone needs make up to be pretty.  I’m saying, seeing someone smile so brightly they can’t contain it because I’ve helped them feel beautiful- that’s everything to me.

If you weren't doing makeup, what would you be doing?
I would be a therapist. I learn a lot about someone while doing their make up- insecurities, what makes them tick, as well as what makes them happy.  Over the years, I’ve learned that there’s usually a root cause to why people do the things they do. I recently did make up on a girl who came to me with Foundation just caked on, wrong shade, wrong formula, etc. After talking with her about it she opened up and told me that someone significant had told her that she was ugly, and that she needed the make up to be presentable. It gave me a clearer picture of where this girl was coming from.  We wiped away the make up, I taught her how to put make up on herself in a way that enhanced her natural beauty, rather than cover it up- and oh my goodness, she just beamed.  She couldn’t believe she could look that good.  Afterwards, we hugged and cried.  I still talk with her regularly and love seeing her confidence journey.

What does a typical day look like?
Every day is different! That’s one thing that I love about working for myself- never a dull moment.

What products do you use on a regular basis? Do you have any favorite application methods? What products are in your purse?
My make up kit is ever evolving based on what I like for that season and what type of make up I’m doing.  One of my favorite things about traveling abroad is finding amazing make up that’s not available in the U.S. I think it makes my kit really unique and diverse.In my purse I have a Shu Uemura nude lipstick that I got in Tokyo, a YSL compact that I got in Paris, and an Illamasqua high lighter that I got in London. Some people collect souvenir trinkets, I collect souvenir make up (and handbags!)

How do you balance your different career roles and goals? What advice do you have to stay organized and efficient?
I am a planner so staying organized and goal oriented has never been a challenge for me. I’m the type of person that will make a plan, then a back up plan, than a back up plan for the back up plan- and then analyze the plan…and then probably analyze how I’m analyzing. If anything, I should make it a goal to plan less. :)

Describe your makeup style.
My make up style is playful, classic meets edgy. Always pretty though! That’s my one stickler with make up. I’m not really into being different for the sake of being different, make up should enhance your beauty not take away from it- so for me, it has to be pretty. But then again, I think ugly pretty is pretty too!

What makeup artists have greatly influenced your work? What your main avenues for inspiration? magazines, blogs, websites, etc.
I love Wayne Goss- he’s a British make up artist.  I never really get star struck when it comes to make up artists because I think we are all creative and talented in our own way.  But, if Wayne ever came to the states or I happened to be in the UK the same time he had a seminar- I would definitely go! He’s the only one that I consistently watch all of his Youtube videos and Vlogs.  (Wayne- if you happen to read this, I’m such a fan!)

Jeff & Darren | Seattle Portrait Photographer

this post is way late (as these two will remind me), but as i always say, better late than never right? and there was no way that my session with these two was never gonna grace the blog. it was just too beautiful. magic shots were made and gorgeous moments were had - all in a few hours with two of my best friends in seattle. 

as many of you know, jeff shipley is the brilliant mastermind behind my website design and entire brand. if you're looking for a website and brand revamp, i cannot recommend his work and the work of his business partner, jen olmstead, enough. check out their dual business venture, TONIC SITE SHOP for all things branding. you're welcome.

when jeff and darren asked me to snap a few photos for their new year's card, we schemed and headed over to ballard. we spent a few hours documenting their relationship and this time in their lives. our time together couldn't have been more delightful and inspiring and i was so honored to have these two in front of my camera. they're a couple of the very best souls on this earth and i'm the luckiest to call them two of my dearest friends.

Behind the Biz | Brooke Westlund

Billy and I were exploring a new part of town one dreary Seattle Saturday and we walked in for a late lunch at Bing's in Madison Park. Before we were even seated and had menus in our hand, I noticed the art on the walls. I was instantly struck by an abstract Seattle skyline piece and when i pointed it out to Billy, he loved it too. We decided to look up the artist, Brooke Westlund. I immediately sent her an email asking for a custom piece just like it.

Art does that, it makes you stop and notice it and when you connect with it something inside you sparks. Brooke's work is jaw-dropping and deserves to be noticed. 

I stopped by Brooke's studio near Pike Place Market to pick up our skyline piece and when i walked into her creative space, I was awestruck. I got completely lost in her studio and her work. As I got to know Brooke a bit, I just knew i had to interview her for this series. She's one spunky gal oozing with ambition, who is not afraid to share her talent and art. Brooke has taken advantage of so many resources in the city to show her work. Through her efforts and passion, she has made a name for herself and is currently killin' it in the Seattle art world.  If you're in Seattle, be sure to head to her studio just below Pike Place Market at 1516 Western Ave. Believe me when I say this girl is the real deal. 

Name of studio, Year established, Services offered, Studio address, etc.
Brooke Westlund Studio + Gallery. I got my first (tiny) space in the market in 2011 on the 3rd floor "downunder."  I was there for about a year and a half and then I moved to a bigger space down the hall that I shared with 4 other artists as a co-op space. Then in July of 2014, I moved to my current space by myself. I am definitely planning on staying here for a while. I love the windows and being part of the market even though I'm on Western Avenue at the base of the market. I can't imagine being anywhere else at this point in time. Someday, however, I dream of having my own home studio, as well.

Why and when did you decide to become a full time artist?
It's just way too much fun with tons of freedom and opportunities. It's official, I love what I do. I was bartending, painting, doing shows, selling my stuff. On top of that, I had my first studio in the market.  There was a certain point when I had a few big projects and my expenses were minimal so I decided it was the time to give things a try. Every moment I spent away from my art were moments when I would think, 'I should be in my own shop and painting my own work.'

How has your art changed since you started? How would you like to see it grow?
That's a hard question..... when I look at my older work, it's fun to think about the time of my life that I created it. I think that my work has developed and is always changing- I go through phases where it is all colorful and abstract and wild, and then I'll change gears and start a series of Seattle mixed media work that is more thought out and repetitive. I also have an ongoing series of black and white rough sketches of fruits and veggies that are super fun and simple. I have been fortunate enough to display some of these pieces in a few restaurants around town and I just continue to rotate them out as they sell. I think my work will always continue to change and grow as I develop my style. I have a million ideas in my head that haven't even been brought to life yet!

Becoming a full time artist can be a huge risk financially. How have you handled this hurdle? What advice do you have for others who are trying to overcome the financial aspect of becoming an artist full time?
It definitely can! Personally, I was on the very cautious side of things. It was not a leap of faith thing like "I'm quitting my job and becoming an artist" on a whim. I was working and starting my art business for maybe 3 years before I even got my first studio space. Studio space requires a good chunk of change. I was painting in my apartment and even lived with my folks for a little bit. I painted in their basement while I was bartending on the side and trying to save some money. I finally quit my job after being able to consistently sell some art each month. Art sales can be completely inconsistent so i wanted to make sure I had enough savings to cover a few bad months. 

Where can we find your art to buy in addition to your studio?
The studio is where you'll find my newest work/in process paintings. Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery in Bellevue has a selection of my paintings all the time. I also have a few rotating shows around Seattle at restaurants, cafes, salons etc. Currently, you can find my work at: 
Paragon Restaurant, Queen Anne,
Annie Fisher Salon, Madison Valley
ReClaim Decor, furniture store on Western Avenue 
Bing's, Madison Park

What advice can you offer other aspiring artists?
Everyone has their own path, but my advice is to JUST KEEP CREATING - whatever that means to you!  It ain't easy, you gotta hustle! It's also important to constantly come up with new ideas on how to get your stuff out there. Don't be afraid if the hustle isn't for you. This lifestyle isn't for everyone. I personally love the excitement of it all - every day is new, challenging and different.

How has being a full time artist affected you personally?
I think it has let me find myself and learn about myself a lot. Each day, I have the choice to do anything I want to do and I'm so lucky to have the freedom to do that. 

How did you attract a client base? Was it marketing or more word of mouth?
Word of mouth has been the most effective tool for me. Clients display my art in their homes and when guests ask about it, I'll have a new client. Clients also find me through facebook, instagram and my website but hardly anyone buys art online. My experience is that when a person sees my art in person, they can get a sense of the colors, mediums and size of the piece.

Who is your ideal client?
Anyone with big empty walls and a little extra cash :)

Best moment of your career so far?
I think I'm in the middle of it right now! I'm currently in the middle of an awesome project that will put my work in the rooms of a popular hotel here in Seattle. Wow!

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Just keep creating and exploring. 

What is the most rewarding part of being a full time artist?
Selling paintings, knowing that it connected with someone enough to want to have it in their home and look at it every day! Every time I sell something I am so grateful.

Do you have employees? If not, would you like to someday?
No I don't have any employees. One day I would love to hire my best friend, Tania, to be my assistant and handle a good amount of the business side of things. It's hard as an artist because I feel like I need to be involved in every decision. I need to make sure things represent me in the best light. Its hard to trust someone else with your business but I know it will be necessary to pass on some responsibilities in the near future. 

What does a typical day look like?
I wake up, have coffee, make breakfast, head to the studio. Then usually I go to yoga and head home. A few days a week I am usually running around, going to the art store, meeting with people, hanging art at shows, taking down shows etc.... so my schedule each week is so random and different.

What's your immediate next step or next goal for the biz? next milestone?
I would love to work on some more big projects & corporate commissions. I'd also love to create and sell more big abstracts. They're my favorite :)

Describe your artistic style.
Free, abstract, mixed media, exploratory.

How do you get in the zone? Do you commonly listen to music or turn to other inspirations when you're creating?

I always have music playing in the studio. And it always depends - sometimes I go to the studio and I don't even paint. Other days I just HAVE to paint. Sometimes I'll paint for an hour or sometimes I'll paint for 6 hours and start 20 paintings at once. Because I can! 

What artists have greatly influenced your work through the years?
Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Warhol, a lot of the abstract expressionists. I love the freedom and exploration of that period.