Makeup Artist Ve Neill Talks Transformations in Wonderland


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When award-winning makeup artist Ve Neill teamed up with L.A.’s NYX Professional Makeup for her first-ever beauty collaboration, the Southern California native wanted to create something different. Just before Halloween she unveiled six “Wonderland After Dark” looks and product kits, each inspired by the curious classic, Alice in Wonderland.

Named after characters from Lewis Carroll’s fairy tale (“Alex, Bunni, Kitty Kat, Topsy Turvy, The Queen and Ace+Space”) Neill’s curated makeup looks feature lots of black-lite and glow in the dark products which are sure inspire way past Halloween season, especially with L.A. club-goers. Each comes with a step-by-step tutorial so customers can re-create the dramatic looks at home.

Pre-Halloween, NYX threw a wild wonderland ball at Vibiana downtown, where all of Neill’s wondrous inspirations were on full display. Here’s a slideshow featuring Neill’s creations and scenes from the tea party-like extravaganza, plus a chat with the artist below.

L.A. Weekly: How did you come up with the theme for this collaboration?

Ve Neill: NYX Professional Makeup is well aware of my fascination with transformative makeup looks – the synergy was innately there for me to work with the brand for my first-ever beauty collaboration. I have also always loved the way NYX celebrates and champions professional artistry and when they approached me to collaborate I couldn’t turn it down.

How did you come up with the Wonderland After Dark looks and kits? 

NYX had the idea of creating more twisted versions of the classic characters in the beloved Alice in Wonderland tale and thus Wonderland After Dark was born. I always strive to create a fantasy with makeup, so helping to concept these imaginary characters was a fun process. I sketched digital concepts and then worked  to find the best NYX products to incorporate into each look, along with a step-by-step tutorial for users to re-create at home. It was easy to find the right products from NYX for each of these looks – the brand is synonymous with endless color options and high-performing yet affordable products.

What is it about Alice in Wonderland that inspires us all & how did you approach your twisted take on its characters?

Alice in Wonderland is inspiring because of its quirky, colorful characters and unique fantasy world. My inspiration for these six looks were darker, edgier versions of the original Alice in Wonderland characters; ours include a curious zombie, a blood-thirsty vampire, a colorfully scary skull and more. I was able to show off my theatrical makeup skills when creating these different characters – I wanted them each to be something fans saw as truly transformative but still something they could achieve at home. Halloween is all about magic and illusion, and I think these unique makeup looks really bring this idea to life. Wonderland After Dark is equal parts twisted and fantasy.

Tell me about your favorite looks (Alex, Bunni, Kitty Kat, Topsy Turvy, The Queen and Ace+Space) and the curated product kits.

One of my favorite looks is Alex. I like her character because she’s unexpected. I thought it would be fun to take her innocence and turn it upside down knowing she’s going through the rabbit hole. Depending upon which side you’re seeing her face, she is either beautiful and innocent or dark and decaying. I also like Topsy Turvy’s look because who doesn’t love a skull? Since our skull lives in Wonderland, I wanted him to be hyper colorful. He is brilliantly bright while exuding the fantasy element. Bunni is another one of my favorites because she’s the only innocent in this bevy of beauties. I wanted to keep her that way but with a bit of a mischievous quality — luscious pink lips and eyes plus cheeks with a lot of sparkle.

How did you perfect these looks for your step-by-step tutorials?

One of my favorite elements was incorporating NYX’s new Glow-On Lip Gloss into each. I really loved mixing the product into different aspects of the characters to help bring them to life and really stand out when you move into the blacklight. For example, with Topsy Turvy’s look I layered the Glow-On lip gloss over the White liquid liner giving a neon pop to the skull.

What’s your favorite thing about being a makeup artist right now?

The ability to transform a person into anything or anyone you can imagine — that has always been my favorite thing to do and I imagine that will always be so. Actors and directors rely on their makeup artist to bring their vision to fruition and breathe life into their characters; I love that aspect of my job.

See more at nyxcosmetics.com.