Beyond Paper with Aleena Qaiser
Welcome Back, Readers!
When it comes to describing artists and their work, our own words tend to diffuse away from the depth of what the artist wants to say. This is especially true when it comes to writing tributes on paper. So, for a refreshing change, here’s the story of one such endearing artist, but narrated in her own very style.
As Paper Crush went to seek out aspiring artists who have already earned the merit of resonating well beyond in their communities through their work, we were lucky to find Aleena Qaiser! A talented self-taught makeup artist, who belongs to the few people in Pakistan with an admirable SFX portfolio. Thankfully, she held her brush for us and stroke our papers with her insights about being such an amazingly profound and illusionary artist. What’s even better? She’s from NUST and is currently studying in SADA blending creativity and innovation every day. You can find her on Instagram at her account @aceface
Presenting Chapter 3 of Paper Crush: Beyond Paper
Greetings Aleena! Please start off by telling us your back story, transcending from childhood to where you are today.
Well, I was born in Pakistan but spent some part of my childhood in America where I finished elementary school. Then, I moved back to Pakistan and finished high school. I was (and actually still am) eager to go study abroad and gain experience, so I went to Malaysia for University. And if there’s one thing I can say from my time there is: if you ever get the chance to live alone in a foreign place, take it. I lived in through some very harsh times and did end up leaving within three months. Regardless, still in those three months, I went through both the best and worst days of my life. My experiences there have drastically shaped me (in a good way) into the person I am today. And I highly recommend others to have an independent experience because you learn so many things when you’re out alone in the real world. Other than that, I have visited Canada and Japan. Japan was amazing, just remember to take some language lessons or something because barely anyone spoke English and it frustrated me A LOT.
If someone offers you a job in the film industry as a professional highly paid makeup artist, would you own up to it or continue as an office worker/ industrial designer?
Wow, that’s a tricky one. It depends mostly on the situation at the time. If I am loving my job as an Industrial Designer, I might stick to it, however, I have always wanted to work in a movie as a makeup artist and been interested in what happens behind the scenes. Whenever I’m watching a movie, especially a thriller (literally that’s all I ever watch), I’m always wondering what is going behind the scenes and how long it has taken to do the makeup. I was even offered a job as a makeup artist for a movie but I was not able to take the offer so if i ever get the opportunity again I would love to take it and live my dream. Although my passion for makeup was always a side hobby, whereas Industrial Design has long been my main focus as a career.
Judging from your account, why do you experiment so often with illustrative, gory SFX makeup styles?
This may sound odd, but whenever I see wounds, cuts, gashes, etc. in movies, they would get me intrigued on how they appeared so realistic. Aha, Serial killer vibes fun fact: the reason I started watching the Walking Dead was because of the makeup effects for the zombie look. I always think what materials/products have the artists used, and exactly what part is real and what is CGI. In normal glam makeup, we all know eyeshadow and eyeliner have been used, but the world of SFX is extremely big and complicated. The main thing is to make something look natural so to trick the eye into believing that it is real. However, I don’t get sick when watching such gore scenes because I know it is all fake, but I cannot stand the sight of real blood.
When you do horror themed makeup does that ever affect your mood or creep you out?
Oh my god YES! When I did the nun makeup, I had it on for quite a while like 3 hours and I COMPLETELY forgot about it, and as I passed by the mirror I almost gave myself a heart attack. And then obviously after that I couldn’t stop laughing! But this has happened countless number of times even when I answer the door unaware of my makeup and scare away people or when I accidentally turn on my front camera.
How much time does it take for a complete makeover?
It can take 3-4 hours for an SFX look (2 hours for glam maybe even less) and after that 40mins to one hour for the photoshoot and maybe half an hour for editing. Now do the math.
Do you think photography and social media are important to show your skills or should there be another platform?
Instagram is growing day by day, and it’s probably the most used social media app right now. I have stopped using Facebook because I prefer to keep everything on just one platform. It’s an unnecessary hassle to have different apps on your phone and stay active on all of them. And I think Instagram is great for photography, I follow so many pages and they really inspire me. It’s incredible what photography and photo editing can do, always fascinates.
There is a famous quote that says, “makeup magnifies the beauty that already exists” but you alter that beauty into something horrific, why so?
Like I said before, the world of SFX is so big. It’s crazy how many ways there are just to make a cut. You could use scar wax, latex, silicon, or gelatin. You work with completely different materials as compared to glam makeup. I am in a way magnifying the beauty of gore. I find it beautiful to look at scars and blood unless obviously, they are real. My favorite characters are zombies. I like to magnify the beauty of such creatures. How their jaws are popping out and their skin is peeling off and their teeth are rotten and falling apart. Is it weird to find that beautiful?
What makes you happy?
I really don’t want to sound cliché, but honestly just spending quality time with my family or friends. When my family gets together or when I meet up with old friends, it really relaxes me and puts me in a good mood. But other than that obviously doing something I’m passionate about makes me happy too. I love photographing my friends, taking portraits of them and learning new editing techniques and also playing video games.
And finally what is your ultimate dream? We would love it if it’s cheesy, feel-good dream!
I have always liked living in solitude and being on my own. After graduating I want to move to Australia, share a flat with friends or live alone in a studio apartment where I have my own personal space. Work as an Industrial Designer maybe in an automobile or phone company. And as a side hobby works as a makeup artist here and there.