This latest 'Meet The Artists' is with Eryn Krueger, a phenonemanl makeup artist whose story I am so excited to hear as she is the Makeup Department Head for one of my current TV obsessions, American Horror Story. If you watch AHS you will completely understand my obsession and if you don't, you're missing out! Everything about AHS is magnificent, including the makeup and the makeup effects which are so wonderfully imaginative and absolutely contribute to the massive success of the show. Eryn has been a makeup artist for 28 years working as Department Head on some of the hugest shows and movies on TV like Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Nip/Tuck, Glee, Everyone Loves Raymond, Liz & Dick, Eat Pray Love. I am thrilled Eryn took the time to share her career path and stories, as well as sharing some of her pro tips.

Snapshot of a 28 year career

MANW: How did you start your career and what was the progression it took?
EK: I started out in a makeup effects lab in the height of horror in 1986. John Buechler gave me a chance, I worked for him for a while then moved onto other shops where I worked for Stan Winston, Rick Baker and many others. I started doing small makeup projects on the weekends and moved away from the shops to start department heading low budget films. My career kept building and, although I've been doing this for almost 28 years, I consider myself a late bloomer. 

MANW: You mainly design the make-up for TV dramas, including special effects makeup. Did you ever want to work in fashion or beauty?
EK: I've always been most driven towards film. I rolled into television because of Ryan Murphy and he's kept me very busy for the past 11 years. I've done some fashion and beauty but it's not my passion, I really still dig the monster squads I work with.

MANW: Do you have a preference for the type of jobs  and make-ups you like to do, and do you prefer straight or effects makeup?
EK: I love the development and research of characters best, which can be makeup effects or beauty. I like them both equally but for different reasons.

MANW: What is the process of creating character looks and how much say do you have in the designs? 
EK: On AHS Ryan Murphy tells me about the characters he's writing, we talk about what he wants and I will add to his ideas. We do a lot of testing, I mostly get it on the first shot but occasionally we do many looks to fine-tune until we nail it. Ryan says "it needs to be something totally original and never-seen before" to me a lot.. no pressure! If I have a general idea of what direction I want a makeup to go in I will start googling pictures or look in my references. Sometimes it pops in my head while I'm sleeping.

MANW: How much do logisitcal issues come into play with character designs and how do you keep continuity on characters with heavy/intricate effects?
EK: Continuity for prosthetics is the same as beauty makeup, it's all about taking great notes and very detailed pictures. Running both departments can be very stressful-it's all about your team and how efficient and creative they are. We help each other on every makeup.

MANW: You have worked on some legendary shows like American Horror Story, Glee, Everybody Loves Raymond.. can you tell us about some of the stand out moments of your career?
EK: They are endless! Shooting in Iceland on "Flags of Our Fathers" was very memorable, we had to drive quads to get to set on the beach. We were filming the Americans landing in Iwo Jima and it was quite bloody with lots of bombs going off, I was in charge of the practical effects gags and it was amazing. Glee memories are unfortunately tainted by the passing of Cory Monteith. I was the department head for the pilot and first two seasons when it all started and those were my kids, the Lady Gaga/KISS episode and the Thriller episode are my two favourites. Another wonderful memory was filming Everybody Loves Raymond in Italy for a week which was so beautiful and so much fun! American Horror Story has been unbelievable challenging, this last year we spent Halloween and Thanksgiving in New Orleans (we were there 7 months) and we still managed to have a great time even working 100 work weeks. I've been lucky enough to get to travel all over the world with this job and I wouldn't change a moment.

MANW: You've been in the industry a long time, how do you think it has differed and what advice would you give to new artists starting out?
EK: New artists need to know every aspect of makeup, producers do not want to hire a bunch of different people to do simple effects. Know your craft; beard work, bald caps, injuries, beauty, tattoo coverage, airbrushing.. you need to make yourself indispensable to your department head to keep your job and move up. I only hire people that can do everything.

MANW: All artists have 'the wish list'; a face they would love to work on or a show or film they would have loved to have worked on. My current one (other than AHS which has amazing makeup and effects makeup) is the show Nashville, I'm obsessed with the country glamour and Connie Britton's amazing hair. Who or what are yours?
EK: I love Connie Britton! She's awesome. I also love Downton Abbey and of course all things Harry Potter.. that would have been my dream job.

MANW: On to the good stuff, what are your tricks for flawless looking skin?
EK: Anti-aging products like RoC night cream is terrific and I use Laura Mercier Primer or Makeup Forever primer to smooth out any rough spots. Highly pigmented makeup applied and buffed into the skin with a foundation brush and a damp egg sponge works well for me.

MANW: What are your top 5 holy grail kit products? 
EK: I love Senna Uplift right on top of the cheekbone, Julie Hewett white eyeliner, Estée Lauder highlighter in Soft Pink, Peter Thomas Roth matte lip balm for men, and a tie for Makeup Forever HD and Stila Stay All Day.

MANW: What's your best make-up artist tip to give women?
EK: Blend! Brush through those eyelashes..the spidery look is ageing. And don't forget blush and bronzer all year round, it's important for a healthy look.

MANW: Finally, false eyelashes - the longer the better or enough already they look ridiculous?
EK: I don't mind eyelashes at all, but leave the giant heavy ones for Halloween. False lashes are dramatic no matter what size..a little goes a long way.

You can find out more about Erin on her website or follow her on twitter.

If you liked this interview and would like to read other leading industry makeup artists stories have a look at the rest of the 'Meet The Artist' series here.

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