Dream team: Kat Von D's Artistry Collective share their makeup secrets

Dream team: Kat Von D's Artistry Collective share their makeup secrets

Face painters

Text: Renée Batchelor

Image: Instagram: @juscallmetara,

Meet the four members of Kat Von D Beauty's Artistry Collective, and find out what they love most about being part of this creative hive

Talk about assembling a dream team. When Kat Von D found the travelling and education demands for her burgeoning brand, Kat Von D Beauty (KVDB) to be too much for one person to handle, she decided to hit — where else but Instagram — to find bright, inspiring, young makeup talents to join her Artistry Collective. Says Von D, "I am so excited to expand the Kat Von D Beauty family with these extremely talented women who are the perfect reflection of the brand. I discovered these gifted artists through their remarkable work on their personal Instagram accounts, and while each one of these ladies is brilliant in her own right, we are unstoppable together as the Artistry Collective."

The praise doesn't stop there. Says Von D, "I can honestly say that I am a fan of each of these artists — Leah excels with complexion and has the ability to make anyone look flawless, Tara has a raw style that stems from her art background, Steffanie's gothic aesthetic is romantic and beautiful, and Kelsey blows me away with her power to manipulate makeup to look like a painting, especially at such a young age. These ladies are true artists with big hearts and are so essential in spreading Kat Von D Beauty all over the world on a much more profound level. I hope that the unique content we create with the Artistry Collective will also be an inspiration to others." 

The four women she 'discovered' — Leah Carmichael, Kelseyanna Fitzpatrick, Tara Buenrostro and Steffanie Strazzere — were more than up to the task representing the edginess and creativity that have come to make the brand what it is. Just head to their Instagrams to get a taste of their skill and artistic genius much of which they paint on themselves, as well as for some major makeup inspo. Read on about their reactions on joining the KVDB global artistry team, and their personal tips in their areas of expertise.


What to you is the coolest part about being in the artistry collective?
Leah Carmichael (LC): The coolest part about being in the Artisty Collective is that I get to travel the world with my three best friends and teach people about the brand. The most special moment is the 'aha' moment when I show someone a certain shade or technique. Watching them fall in love with KVDB is a feeling I just can't explain and I am so grateful I get to share that moment with the girls.

Tara Buenrostro (TB): Having the opportunity to make a difference all around the world to inspire people through creativity. The opportunity to travel with artists I admire and work for someone I have admired for so many years is a dream come true!

Kelseyanna Fitzpatrick (KF): Its pretty cool traveling the world sharing the brand I love so much with people everywhere, and people who are so excited to try it. Getting to travel with my three best friends and artists who inspire me and always have my back. Getting to show people that it's ok to be yourself and it can take you far.

Steffanie Strazzer (SS): It would be absolutely impossible for me to name just one things about why being part of the Artistry Collective is so cool. Where do I possibly begin? I work for my favorite makeup brand, every product is incredible! And their morals and beliefs are the same as mine (cruelty free/ vegan). I feel so proud to be a part of such compassionate beauty! My boss and friend, Kat Von D is one of the most insanely talented, inspiring and compassionate people I've ever met! She hand picked us (thanks Instagram!) and her support means the absolute world to me!. And then, the cherry on top... I work and travel the world beside three of my all time favorite makeup artists and best friends. These three girls push me every day to be a better person and artist. I truly wake up every morning feeling like I won the lottery

What do you admire about Kat Von D (the person and the brand) and how has being with the brand enriched your artistic experience?
LC: Where do I start? Kat has shown me that there are enough hours in the day to change the world. She is a full time animal activist, shoe designer, constantly working on her music, tattooer and cat mom. Oh, and she runs a makeup empire!

She really changed the way I look at the world and myself. I am now 100 per cent aware of the chemicals and cruelty that go into making makeup products. I admire her so much for creating such a pure brand that not only doesn't test on animals (it gets tested on our beloved Kat Von D herself) but is raising awareness around the world.

TB: She is a super inspirational human being in general. She does it all! She is a bad ass rock'n roll tattoo artist but at same time an incredibly compassionate animal activist who plays the piano and writes poetry. I can honestly say I wouldn't be the person I am today without having the opportunity to spend time with Kat and the opportunity to work for the brand. Having a boss and friend that stands for everything I believe in is truly amazing.

KF: I personally fell in love with Kat's passion and compassion for others. We have connected so much over art I admire her love of art and she changed my life and inspired me to become vegan. I love the brand because it stands for everything I belive in and I feel so proud to be a part of the Kat von D Beauty family.

SS: There's truly so much I admire about Kat, of course everyone knows she's beautiful and talented beyond measure. But, it's really so much bigger than that. The way Kat pours her heart and soul into every single thing she creates, her passion is everything!  Whether it's a tattoo, drawing cosmetic packaging, or music. Nothing she does is ever done half-assed, no matter how busy she is. She works hard and gives her all on everything, and it shows. Kat inspires me to always give everything I have. She is one of the most compassionate and kind people I've ever met. The way she has opened my eyes into veganism and animal testing and animal cruelty has changed my life forever. She is truly a voice for the voiceless.

How has your life changed since becoming part of the artistry collective?
LC: Everything about my life has changed! I get to wake up everyday and create whatever crazy look is floating around in my head to post and share with the world with no restrictions or rules. My favorite part comes after the post —  it's communicating on a personal level with my fellow Instagrammers! Inspiring young girls and boys to keep pushing to do what they love and getting the chance to see what they are creating.

TB:  Being able to do what I love on a much larger platform and having the opportunity to travel the world. I love education and teaching and the connection it makes between the world and the brand and I get to do that all around the world.

KF: I am humbled by the fact that people will approach me on the street and want to connect. It's a honour to get to share a moment together with them and connect over art. It's cool to me there are so many people who appreciate being an individual and celebrating individuality. Plus, I get to meet so many artists all over the world. Being a part of the brand gives me passion with a purpose. My life changed with the opportunity to meet new people and for someone who is somewhat of an introvert that is pretty cool.

SS: Since becoming part of the Artistry Collective my life has changed quite a bit. This year alone I've been on close to 100 planes. So needless to say we travel a lot.  Being an artist and doing what I love, with some of the best people I've ever met... I truly feel so thankful for this insane once-in- a-lifetime experience. I wake up every morning and think to myself, is this my real life?

Known for helping clients achieve a flawless complexion, Leah Carmichael shares her top tips with us.


What to you is the most important part about achieving a flawless complexion?
In order to achieve a flawless complexion you have to go into it with patience. Skin must not be rushed. Not everyone's skin holds and wears foundation the same, so when starting a makeup I will use my hands to apply some primer so I can really get to know my clients skin. I like to spend a majority of application time fine-tuning and appliying only where its necessary.

What are your go-to products for complexion from KVDB and why?
My go to is the Lock-It Hydrating Primer. I love using this as a moisturiser and primer. Not only will it give you that long-wear hold but it will pull a natural, glowy skin look through the foundation.

In a hot, humid environment like Singapore's, what is the best way to use the Lock-It Foundation so it lasts the day but doesn't look too heavy?
Always apply foundation with the Lock-It Edge Foundation brush in your areas of concern and blend out with a Beauty Blender. That tends to sheer out any areas you may feel are too heavy and setting it with the Lock-It Setting Powder is really going to help your wear in that hot and humid environment!

Apart from makeup, what is another passion of yours?
As most of you know I am a full time mum and as my son grows older I find my passion is helping him find his way in life. I love encouraging his passions and inspiring him to keep pushing forward. I dedicate 100 per cent of my time doing so when I am not working.

If you scroll through Kelseyanna Fitzpatrick's Instagram you'll adore her dreamy, ethereal interpretation of makeup. Here she gives us some insight into her inspirations.


Where do you get your inspiration for the makup looks you create?
I am inspired by everything from K-Beauty to my favorite Instagram artist Greta_ag, and painters like Michael Hussar.

Whenever I need some inspiration I look around the room and look for colours that I see together and use them in my makeup creation. Movies have also inspired me throughout the years in the creation of looks. Now it would be Crimson Peak.

What is your favourite KVDB product and why?
The Alchemist Holographic Palette is my favorite because it's the icing on the cake for every look. Since they are transformer shades you can use them on top of everything from eyeliner to the lips. One pro tip is to dip the brush into the product then spritz it with setting mist to get a super metallic payoff. The more you blend the product, the more the undertone will show.

What do you think will be the next, big makeup trend?
Something I love and that I've seen a lot of is a move away from solid Instagram brows to super bushy brows. There are lots of amazing things coming in the near future that will excite everyone that we can't wait to share with you.

If you've ever screwed up your eyeliner, you'll want to learn a thing or two from collective member Tara Buenrostro, who is especially lauded for her eye makeup skills.


What are some graphic eye makeup looks that you would recommend women to try?
A graphic line can be intimidating, but to simplify a graphic eye and to enhance your eye shape follow the lashline and bring the eyeliner out at the sides.

Fore you daredevils, hooking liner around across the eyelid and into the crease makes eyes look bigger and more dramatic.

How does graffiti inspire your art?
I draw inspiration from graffiti all around the world. The use of color play that you see graffiti art is inspiring

How does KVDB Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette make appying eyeshadow easy?
It's super easy to blend and the way the eye shadows are grouped by undertone — neutral, warm, cool — helping you easily work out the colour that works best for your skin. It's also a great canvas for any eyeshadow look, all the colours are matte, so its super flattering and you can easily paint colourful looks over the top. One pro tip: You can also use Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette for eyebrows.

Known for her skill in painting portraits, Steffanie Strazzere translates that into her bold and dramatic makeup style.


How do you translate your love for portraitures into your makeup?
Transitioning from doing my charcoal and water color portraits into makeup was for the most part a very easy transition for me. I was already so familiar with the human face. However, foundation matching and how to create perfect texture on the skin — that's something that took me much longer to learn... hell, I'm still learning.

How would you describe your signature look or style?
My signature look is ever evolving from one day to the next. I like to create a theme or character and go from there. Last summer my theme was 'a Western ghost' with lots of fringe. Currently my biggest inspiration is Jim Henson, the creator of 'The Muppets'. I'm obsessed with faux, shaggy fur, playing with lots of textures and a sprinkling of '70s space vibes.

What are your top tips for using the Everlasting Liquid Lipstick?
My tips for the best application possible are pretty straight forward. Apply your first layer and let it dry, just like you would your first coat of nail polish. Once it's dry apply your second layer. Never press your lips together in between steps — it will ruin your perfect layers. Once my second coat has dried I go back with a tiny brush and perfect the line work.

Kat Von D Beauty is available at Sephora