Interview with Kerry Clayton, make-up artist

Talented theatre and film make-up artist Kerry Clayton talks to our Voice Reporter Isis; about her career, past and future ambitions, and success tips for aspiring artists.

Interview with Kerry Clayton, make-up artist

Kerry is an industry-trained make-up artist. She has assisted in theatre and film productions, including special effects, face and body painting. Currently spending most of her time either teaching in theatres, being a body paint model, or a creative nail technician, she took some time out of her day to answer some questions we were dying to know!

Thanks for taking time to participate in this interview! Firstly, what are a few of your favourite productions you have been a part of?

I love teaching in youth theatres and my favourite productions would be Jungle Book, Hairspray and 101 Dalmatians. I recently assisted Angela Youngs with a special effects demonstration and always enjoy these!


Artist Angela Youngs with assistants Kerry Clayton and Viki Tester, models Kerry Clayton, Daniel Kerry and Viki Tester

Why did you choose this profession, and has your passion for it developed?

My parents own a production company so I have always been involved with the theatre. I knew I didn't want to be an actor and prosthetics fascinated me. More recently my mum has become an award winning body paint and SFX artist and my passion has moved more towards the modelling side and collaborations.


Collaboration with Angela Youngs, photographer Stephen Candy, model and nail tech Kerry Clayton

Can you tell me about your education, what did you study, and did it prepare you well for your career?

I did a local beauty make up course in the evenings when I left school as it was the only course available to me. I then did a course in theatre film and special effects and this was much more the style I was into. I feel this course prepared me to start in the business, however it has been hands on work experience that has been the most helpful. Attending events such as Paintopia, United Make Up Artist Expo and Professional Make up Academy, which included speaking to industry professionals, are some examples of how I feel I've benefited most.

What is your favourite form of art?

I like brush and sponge work but equally I love nail art! Being able to create tiny pieces of art fascinates me!

Can you give an example of one of the biggest challenges you've had to face?

I have a joint disability which prevented me from furthering my career in film and theatre, however through this I had to re think what I wanted to do and found teaching in youth theatres which I adore!


How do you prioritize your work when you have multiple projects… or a daunting long to-do list?

I have a notebook with endless drawings of faces for all the characters for each production, lists of products needed and what colours to use. This enables me to walk in and feel fully prepared even if I'm doing 2 or 3 different things at once I have a reference guide!

Have you ever accidentally "failed" or messed something up ? How have you recovered?

I always mess things up! Most of the time things don't go the way you want them to but a key part of that is learning how to adapt and knowing how to fix things or change them about. You could spend hours on one tiny element of a piece but you have to keep stepping back and looking at everything as a whole. I think I recover by smiling and pretending like everything went to plan!


Who do you admire the most in the make-up / special effects industry?

My mum Angela Youngs!

Where do you see yourself in the future? Short term or long term, up to you!

I'm due to give birth to my second child in a few months so short term I see myself with very little sleep! I see my career moving more towards focusing on nails and teaching as this is something I can do around my children.

And finally, what words of wisdom would you give for people, both young and old, aspiring to be in your profession?

Never give up learning, never think you know everything. You need to also be true to yourself, you can go on a course and be taught the skills but use your own creativity to set yourself apart from the crowd. I see many people going on workshops and then coming out trying to replicate the style of the teacher, go on workshops to learn HOW someone does something and adapt that to your own style.

Thanks for your time, Kerry!


Isis Sky

Isis Sky Voice Reporter

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  • Diana Walton

    On 27 October 2016, 19:24 Diana Walton Voice Team commented:

    Great interview Isis, and fab photos!

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