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Hello friends! I've been big fan of the band Nothing But Thieves for a hot minute, but things have gotten even better recently when Conor Mason, their lead singer, released his own EP.
The self-titled EP is a beautiful discussion on mental health. There are five songs on this release, and I absolutely love them all. Conor Mason uses his powerful voice and stunning imagery to describe the rediscovery of self and a redefined authentic happiness. Lyrics like "What does it mean to be me?" and "I'm waking up for the very first time" in his song Brain in a Jar show him emerging from his internal shadows and trying to reclaim his life and it's so fucking powerful.
Arguably his most popular song from this EP is Life's Gonna Kill You (If You Let It), where he discusses how crucial it is to "be warm" and "be brave", that we have to "find solice...find something in what [we've] got", or we may feel mentally swept away. It's hard to reclaim your mental health, but this song is a beautiful reminder that you're the one ultimately in control of how you save yourself, and that you're not alone.
And finally, one of my favorites from this EP is the song Rosebud. This song is about pulling yourself up, that you have to treat yourself well if you expect to grow and blossom from rough times. "And how can I get out of the cold?...a rosebud don't bloom in the snow." This song has one of the most powerful choruses among the entire EP. The metaphor regarding roots and being stuck in the clay is so creative, and the rise and falls of the orchestral sound with it gives me chills. "And how can I get out of this hole, when that's all that's left of you now?"
And beyond the gorgeous music and lyrics, I adore the fact that Conor includes mini-doc sorts of BTS videos on the Man-Made Sunshine YouTube channel. He speaks in-depth about the production process and the inspiration behind his different songs. I just have a ton of appreciation for the fact that he's so open about where his heart lies with this EP, how he feels emotionally. I think that's such an important discussion, and I appreciate that he's sharing that through his music and interviews.
Similarly to previous blog posts, I wanted to create a makeup look to reflect both the EP's sound and vibe, and the album cover art. I've done this most recently with Highly Suspect's "Midnight Demon Club" album, and I've also discussed albums like Foster the People's "Sacred Hearts Club" and Hosier's "Wasteland, Baby!". So before I share my makeup look, let's quickly chat about the cover art.
On the cover, we see a grayscale Conor Mason holding the sun (or another burning star), while he looks collaged into a galactic background. The only pops of color we see is this bright orange of the star and the pops of yellow in that same star, as well as in the title "Man-Made Sunshine". So when it came to strategizing the makeup look, I wanted to create something that would showcase that bold black shade on the cover, while also reflecting the softness of the lyrics and that delicate overall message. The only pop of color I plan to use is an orange shade and a light dusting of gold flecks to resemble those stars. So let's get into it.
The Makeup Look
I'm starting out this process by moisturizing my face and filling in my brows. It's the essential pre-requisite to any of my tutorials. Unlike my typical makeup looks, howeveer, I'm saving concealer/foundation until after I do my eye makeup. This is because I'm planning to work with darker eyeshadow shades as well as some shimmer shades, so I'm mentally preparing for some cleanup work at the end.
Next, I'm tapping into this stark white shadow and applying this to the inner corner of my eye. It has a slight pearlescent effect, so it will be working as my highlight for this look. The reason I'm using this pop of white instead of the typical highlight shade is because I wanted to emulate that grayscale space scene, where there's a gorgeous contrast between the distant white stars and the black background.
Next, instead of a yellow like shown on the cover, I'll be using this dusty gold shimmer shade all over my lid. I also used a tiny amount of brown in my crease to contour.
After I applied the first couple shadows, I went in with a black liner and created a basic cat eye. This is going to act as my template for my soon-to-be smudged and dramatic winged look.
And onto the next step, I went in with a smaller brush and used black eyeshadow to smudge out that initial cat eye template I made a bit ago. I also crept into my crease a bit with this black shadow to give my makeup a cooler shape than your standard flick. I'll be building onto this in a bit, so don't worry, this'll get bolder and neater soon enough.
Next, I dove into some orange for that pop of color that I was alluding to earlier. I dusted this along my lower lash line and added some above my crease as well to bring the whole color scheme together evenly along my whole eye.
After adding that pop of color, I deepened the wing a bit more with a dark brown contrast in the crease, blending it towards that wing, and then building more black shadow on top of that shadow to redefine the cat eye shape I'm going for.
Here's a brief cat intermission before I finalize my look. Look at my Bobby boy. Look how he holds on tight. This man is iconic. The perfect man doesn't exi--
After some matte lipstick, some setting powder, some concealer and contour and liquid highlight, and maybe even a bit of mascara, I call this look complete.
Let me know if you like this soft, smudged liner look. Like I said, I wanted to create something with deep shades, while also looking soft to emulate Conor's EP.
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Happy holidays, have a safe and wonderful New Year's celebration, and remember to keep on grinning.