Monday 13 April 2015

United Makeup Artist Expo 2015

This weekend I spent as much time as possible at the 2015 United Makeup Artist Expo in the Business Design Centre, Angel, London. I've always raved about this event and this year will be no exception. It wasn't all good news - though I felt the event itself had been really stepped up a notch in terms of exhibitors, classes, talks and demonstrations I felt it was incredibly under publicised. As a previous attendee, a blogger who is a big fan of the event, and a make-up artist I have never been sent a scrap of info about the UMA Expo. No email, no annoying mail in the post, nothing. I am constantly sent details of an event in Birmingham I have never been to and can't see myself being able to go to and yet they somehow manage to get all the bumf to me every year. I can't understand why the PR for the UMA Expo isn't better - the event itself is fantastic and a favourite amongst a lot of pro artists so why not make more of it?

That is my only gripe though - the event itself was absolutely wonderful this year. Even as I type my (lovely) husband is rubbing my pregnant feet that look more like sandwich loaves as I spent the whole time on my feet chatting, shopping, staring opened mouthed at demos and not enough time at the fantastic talks on offer this year. One of the thing everyone says about he UMA Expo is the friendly supportive atmosphere and this year that was really evident. Being 8 months pregnant meant that I ended up talking to some of my major idols and top artists - Phyllis Cohen, Louise Young, Spob O'Brien, Julia Townend, Sam Chapman - about how hard it is being a mother and a make-up artist. Having felt the pressure of this for some time it was so refreshing to hear how all these amazing women have had to juggle their lives and found the balance difficult (and unfair) at times too.

Events are incredibly hard to review as it's a lot about the atmosphere. So much so that I spent some time filming a vlog which I'm hoping to put up on Friday though I haven't checked the footage - if it's rubbish there will a different video! So in this post I thought I'd talk through some of the exhibitors, some of the amazing deals they offered and the talks and demos that were on.

First lets talk the price. The earlier you buy the tickets the better the deal you get and there is a discount for professionals and students. The full price regular tickets are £55 for one day and £65 for two. For students and pros it's £45 for one and £55 for both days. Now this may seem like a lot of money to some - believe me all the people there have been in a position where that's a lot to shell out for a ticket - but if you take into account the classes on offer, the demonstrations you can see and the discounts offered at a lot of the stands I really think it is money well spent if you are serious about make-up. You could easily spend 5 hours each day learning and get up to 35% off products for you kit as well as getting to speak to people who have worked in the industry for years.

So first, the stands. Well there were some great names this year, some regulars, PAM, Illamasqua and Em-J, and some new, Inglot, Ben Nye and Le Maq Pro. PAM and Illamasqua really stood out for me this year - the discounts they were offering and the range of products available were matched by the fantastic, friendly customer service and amount of available staff on hand to help.

The new Gel Sculpt from Illamasqua
At Illmasqua the feel was of being in someones house with chairs, carpet and a fireplace. You could see, but not buy, the amazing new Gel Sculpt products, though if you had a UMA Expo wrist-band you could go to the store and purchase the Gel Sculpt at a 20% discount. I bought the Hydra Veil for £18 instead of the usual £30 - a product I've been wanting to try for a loooong time. I also had a demo of the new Summer collection from the Head of Professional Development - out on the 1st May these products are Illamasqua at their unusual best - more on them nearer the time. 

PAM had a fantastic selection of brands as usual with the awe-inspiring Louise Young there in person to talk through her products. Make Up For Ever, Glamcor, Ben Nye, Sigma were just some of the brands on offer here and the discounts on this stand ranged from 15% to a whopping 35%. I got the new Make Up For Ever Ink Liner for £11 instead of £17.50. Why oh why didn't I get the Z palette I've been wanting for ages?

Em-J doing her thing - note the gorgeous Lexi brush belt
The Em-J stand was absolutely beautiful - what fantastic products, all handmade, designed by a pro make-up artist and it was lovely to see her doing her thing and body painting at her stand on the Sunday. Regular readers will know that I love the Jiminy range but the new Lexi brush belt is an pretty fantastic in action and you can now get brush pots and mesh zip bags so it's basically now your one stop shop for all you make-up storage needs.

It was also great to see Inglot and Le Maq Pro there - love both these brands and feel like they really fitted in with the whole event.

On the majority of stands there is some form of demo going on most of the time be it special effects or a full-on body paint so there's always something to watch. And the classes and speakers this year were amazing. From live demos of products (David Horne using the House of Glam Dolls Glam Base Wheel) to seeing how artists create a particular look or hearing from some of the most influential people in the business you could have spent both days fully occupied learning from people at the top of their game. Greg Cannom (Mrs Doubtfire, Dracula, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Titanic) gave a two part talk over both days about his extensive career in television and film. Iain Smith, film producer, talked with Charles Porlier, Greg Cannom and Corey Castellano about a film producers view of the make-up department. MAC offered education seminars for Designing Makeup for Film, Career Opportunities at MAC and a pro workshop (for the first time this year there was a MAC stand where you could sign up for the Pro Card). Mandy Gold did seminar as did Alex Chalk for Inglot and Brian Kinney.

Please leave me a comment if you have any questions about this event. I've posted more photos below - they are all taken by me but often I don't know who is pictured or who's work it is so if you know please let me know so I can credit them.

David Horne using the Glam Base Wheel on the Love Makeup Stand

The almost-complete Em-J stand body paint

The Louise Young stand at PAM

Make Up For Ever at PAM

The PAM stand - always a queue, always great friendly customer service

The Screenface stand complete with JT Makeup Studio products and Andrew Gallimore's book

Emily Dowd talks about the challenges of working on Jesus Christ Superstar as Head of Hair and Make-up


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