Quad Style: Eri Rogers

Quad Style: Eri Rogers

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"If you need to ask if you have enough makeup, the answer is no" says second-year Eri Rogers when she talks about how her days in color-guard influence the way she uses makeup now. To Eri, makeup is a form of art, a mode of self-care, a performance to the standard, and a method of expression. If you thought that you can't balance a Comp-Sci major with a Physics minor, a love of the arts, and some serious make-up skills, read below because Eri is here to show you how it's done.

You have a love for visual art, digital art, physics, and computer science – where is makeup's place on your palette of interests?

I try to keep my life balanced: art, creative writing, and the humanities on one side, and STEM on the other. I don’t think it’s necessary to draw clear lines between the two categories, as there is often overlap, but in my life at least I’d say they’re somewhat distinct. Right now, as a Comp-Sci major with a Physics minor, STEM occupies the center of my focus. I feel more pressure in those subjects and most of my structured time goes into them. As a result, the majority of my free time is dedicated to projects in the other set of interests. I find this setup ideal: I enjoy art more because I keep it on the low-pressure periphery of my life, and simultaneously, STEM stays manageable because my other interests provide relief from the buildup of stress. I think if I were ever to switch to art as my major focus, the relationship would invert, and I would use STEM as my outlet instead. Makeup fits loosely into the category of art. It’s a stress-reliever, something that carries very little pressure, and ultimately a form of self-care.

How do you work with colors?

I choose colors and styles based on my outfit, which doesn’t always mean that my eyeshadow will be the color of my shirt – sometimes it’s complementary instead of matching. I love gradients, so I incorporate them into my makeup whenever possible. I have one eyeshadow palette with just about every color on it, and I don’t have anything against using dramatic colors. Natural looks can be nice, and I do them when I don’t have much time or inspiration, but I don’t find them as fun.

Are there any rules for makeup? Why, or why not?

Don’t share makeup with anyone with pinkeye! And always wash it off before you go to sleep. Other than that, there are guidelines, and some techniques look better than others, or work better on different faces. But I don’t think that should stop anyone from trying new things. One personal rule of mine is that I refuse to wear any combination of blue and orange.

Do you consider yourself a make-up artist?

I don’t even consider myself an artist, really. I do art, and it’s an important part of my life, but I don’t particularly identify with the label. And I’d say the same about “make-up artist.” Part of the reason I wouldn’t call myself one is that my makeup – and my art in general – are intensely personal. My motivation for both is intrinsic. As I mentioned earlier, I use art as a way to reduce stress through non-structured creativity that isn’t required to meet any set of standards. Because the process is internally driven, I would feel uncomfortable assuming a title related to the industrialized version. I don’t mind others thinking of me as one, but it isn’t the way I perceive myself. 

Do you attribute your style to any specific techniques?

I don’t even know if I have a “style.” I just do things I think will look interesting. I would say that doing color guard in high school helped me learn to try weird looks – it was nice to have an environment where I was supposed to cake on as much eyeshadow as possible. One of the mottos of color guard was “If you need to ask if you have enough makeup, the answer is no.” I’m most adventurous with eye makeup—For the rest of it, I stick to established routines. As for techniques, most of what I do is based on the shape of my eyes. I often do variations of cat eye and smokey eye. Recently I’ve been experimenting with little swirls at the end of my eyeliner. Other odd things I’ve tried recently include mixing eyeshadow power with coconut oil, using lipstick on my eyelids, and putting glitter on the tips of my eyelashes (this works best with dark eyeshadow).

For you, is makeup a form of expression or a performance to a standard? Are they necessarily mutually exclusive?

I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. Nor do I think that “performance to a standard” needs to carry negative connotations. I use makeup as an artistic expression of self- and most such expressions are intended for an audience (it could even be argued that they are pointless without one). On the other hand, I’m comfortable without makeup on, and I don’t feel pressure to use it to meet societal standards of physical beauty. Makeup is performance to a standard – the same way wearing a suit to a job interview is performance to a standard. Performance is in some ways synonymous with expression: the shaping of the perception of others to match what performer desires. As long as it is you who defines your performance, and not the other way around, tailoring your physical appearance is a healthy way to communicate with those around you. I don’t think it’s a bad thing.


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