Makeup artistry is an exciting and rewarding career choice. Every face on a stage, television or film screen, in a magazine or on a billboard has a makeup artist behind it. The makeup industry in Toronto has experienced a boom since 2011. The global economy is recuperating from the recession, big budget Hollywood movies are making a comeback, new state-of-the-art facilities are opening, and consumers are once again spending money on clothes, films, theatre and more. Toronto is now the best city in Canada to pursue a career in makeup artistry.
Film and Television
In the field of film and television, the artist works with a creative team including hair and wardrobe designers to bring the writer’s story to life and to realize the director’s artistic vision. This includes music videos, television programs and series, movies of the week, commercials, documentaries, major motion pictures, independent film, and reality TV.
Toronto is a major location for many Hollywood films and television shows, and home to TIFF, one of the world’s largest film festivals. Both major film unions, IATSE and NABET, have chapters in Toronto. In the spring/summer of 2011, the Hollywood remake of Total Recall began filming. This movie is the most expensive ever shot in Toronto, with an approximate budget of $200 million. More recent Hollywood films shot in Toronto include Prometheus and the Carrie and Robocop remakes.
Because of CMU’s close proximity to TIFF, many graduates first find work with independent films. It is not uncommon for these films to be showcased at TIFF and other North American festivals.
Many of Canada’s national media outlets are based in Toronto. Each of these provide numerous opportunities to makeup artists. Some of the more prominent outlets based in Toronto include CBC, CTV, CP24, Much Music and Entertainment Tonight Canada.
Fashion Runway, Magazines and Print Work
A fashion makeup artist is part of a creative team that consists of designers, stylists, editors, photographers and choreographers. They are integral in developing a creative concept, whether for a fashion runway event, a magazine spread or advertising shoot.
Toronto is a hotspot for Canadian and international fashion. The city is home to countless talent agencies, including the highly esteemed Plutino Group. CMU graduates MinMinMa, Natalie Blouin and Vittorio Masecchia are all represented by this agency. They have an impressive celebrity client base and are recognized as extremely successful makeup artists. Many top fashion designers also hail from Toronto. This includes such big names as Pink Tartan, Jeremy Laing, Greta Constantine, Comrags, Roots, Alfred Sung, Lida Baday, David Dixon and Franco Mirabelli.
Many of Canada’s largest fashion magazines are based in Toronto. This includes Elle Canada, Flare and Fashion. CMU instructors and graduates are regularly published in these and other fashion magazines.
The massively successful cosmetics line MAC is similarly Toronto-based. MAC Cosmetics regularly hires CMU graduates not just in Ontario, but across Canada as well.
Toronto also hosts LG Fashion Week and the annual International Makeup Artist Trade Show (IMATS) Toronto. The MMVAs take place in Toronto, the Gemini Awards have almost always been held in Toronto, and Toronto was the birthplace of the Juno Awards.
Theatre and Performing Arts
From a Shakespearean tragedy or touring musical to an operatic production or ballet performance, career opportunities arise for the specialist in period and stage performance makeup. Many of Canada’s largest theatrical companies are based in or near Toronto, including Mirvish Productions, the Canadian Opera Company, the Canadian Stage Company, the National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
Prosthetic and Special Effects
The demand for prosthetic and special effects makeup artists has increased dramatically in the last decade. Prosthetic makeup artists are hired for mould making to create museum and specialty displays. Individuals skilled in designing and building prosthetic appliances will find work in film, television and theatre, and can also work with specialty manufacturing companies. Many graduates have found lab work at the beginning of their careers for Hollywood productions such as Pacific Rim and Resident Evil 5 and worked for prestigious Toronto studios.
Creature design has become an integral part of working on the technical side of makeup in prosthetic and special effects labs. The ability to create movable characters and creatures for production is a unique and increasingly in-demand skill both in the film and video gaming industries.