The first real glimpse of Painted by Kashfi, or affectionately known by others as Khalil, working on set was when he had the model’s hair over her face, shielding his masterpiece from our view. It was when the model walked out for a wardrobe change did the full make-up uncloak and left us stunned.
It felt out of place in a sense of time, as if we were in the presence of an old movie starlet of a box office film instead of a photo shoot. Absolutely captivating!
Suffice to say, Khalil ably delivered the retro aesthetic. He revealed that the idea for the whole look was borne from his love for the colour of the past and one of the theatrics he had done before.
“As a MUA, I have always been fascinated by the fashion and looks from the yesteryears! So, for this shoot, I wanted to revive the look that I did last year on a stage musical by Relentless Entertainment, ‘HAIRSPRAY’ – a story set in the 60s – where big bouffant hair and cool toned eyeshadows were prominent.
“Only this time, instead of styling a wig and making into a giant poofed-up hair, I actually styled the hair on someone’s head!” he exclaimed.
That explained the hissing sound we heard from outside the makeup room before we sat down together.
Bridal make-up usually uses colourations that are on the delicate side, with blush tones and neutral hues. On days he works on stages and projects like today’s shoot, it is always a thrilling feeling for him to unearth his bolder eyeshadow palettes and finally put it into good use.
“I chose to put on blue eyeshadows on the model because I don’t really have the chance to use this colour as often as I want elsewhere – so, this shoot was the golden opportunity – a cut crease with blue eyeshadow!”
Khalil’s fascination in make-up was further explored through his time in New York while studying for his masters in NYU. From signing up for workshops as part of his university’s extracurricular activities, to going out of his way to enroll himself to actual make-up classes just for him to sharpen his skills even more.
“So, over the weekends, whilst attending to my studies, I would just attend the workshops organized by Alcone – a well-known make-up store that caters to everyone from the day to day make-up wearer to Broadway and Hollywood. But, it was not until 2015, when I returned from my studies that I started doing make-up professionally.”
He first learned make-up through observation from his mother when he was young and “dabble in make-up” on his cousins. Knowing that he still had make-up supplies left over from his days in the Big Apple and encouraged by his friends, particularly Muaz of Dragons & Pixie Dust, Painted by Kashf was born as his side business.
Aside from bridals, his work has extended to local dramas and entertainment shows including the upcoming Progresif Media original drama series and the recent Bintang Search where he was able to work with artists such as Fakhrul Razi, Nana Farhana and Rizal Rasid. His involvement in the program throughout June and August was a definite highlight of 2020 for him.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love doing weddings and everything, but doing stage make-up gives me an entrancing sense of satisfaction.”
During the interview, Khalil’s bold spirit and ardour for make-up shines through in the way he spoke about the state of the make-up business in the country. Referring to the importance of quality, he addressed its correlation with the issue of price that most make-up artists face; the perception of their services to be overpriced.
“I also feel make-up artists, the good ones in Brunei, are very underappreciated.”
He then added the rates charged by newcomers are affecting the standard price normally charged by local MUAs. Ergo, he cautiously expressed his grand dream of setting up a form of coalition with other make-up artists to form a board of experts in Brunei to which the members signed would be recognized.
His emphasis on dovetailing quality and passion were not just empty words as those traits seep in how he executes and perceives his work. It gives us a lasting impression not only in his character, but also in what he believes in.