Jeff Lewis, a six-time Emmy nominated Hollywood makeup artist and Edwardsville native, has recently opened a one-of-a-kind make up store and makeup academy at 1043 Century Drive in Edwardsville.
The Makeup Department & Academy offers personal consultations, makeup applications for special events like weddings, homecomings and proms, as well as applications for special effect, theatrical and fantasy. In addition, this new business offers unique workshops featuring special effects and prosthetics and, beginning in January of 2018, will offer a full training course for those wanting to become a professional makeup artist.
Lewis grew up in Edwardsville. He attended EHS and then Illinois State University.
After graduating from college, he set out for Los Angeles to pursue a career as a professional makeup artist in the film industry.
He’s been working in the film and television industry for more than 25 years, providing makeup expertise ranging from beauty, theatrical fantasy and special effect. During that time, Lewis has developed an impressive list of movies he has worked on including all the Star Trek movies, “13 Reasons Why,” “Up in the Air,” “Paranormal Activity,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Prom.”
Lewis moved back to Edwardsville in 2005 to raise his family, but has continued to work in the industry by traveling to California when he is needed for a movie. “I work out there all the time. I was gone for nine months last year in San Francisco,” Lewis said.
He pointed out that he enjoys his job, but that as with most jobs, there’s fun days and also some not fun days.
“The hours are just killer,” Lewis stressed. “The last show I did – ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ – last year we shot basically six-day weeks – 17 to 18 hours a day. That was a long nine months. So this is a nice break.”
Lewis said that he took this year off to open his new business – The Makeup Department & Academy – a store featuring professional makeup lines that are used in the entertainment industry by makeup artists on some of the most famous faces in Hollywood.
He explained that they set up the store similar to the boutique style stores found in the L.A. area.
“Pretty much it’s just kind of a unique place for around here,” Lewis said. “All the makeup in here from the beauty makeup to the special effects to the theater stuff, it’s all made by Hollywood makeup artists. This is the majority of stuff we use in the industry.”
Lewis emphasized that they decided to carry these lines of makeup because they aren’t available in the Midwest and because the makeup they use they know “will really work.” “We do a lot of personal consultations,” he said.
“We’re doing homecoming, prom, of course Halloween makeups. We kind of opened the store to cater to the everyday makeup user and also to theater students because there’s lots of theater around here. And then to makeup artists – there’s a lot of local filming around here. A lot of people are getting more interested in makeup and special effects. So we kind of carry everything to match everybody’s needs.”
“We’re also doing a lot of after hours parties where between 10 to15 women are getting together and coming in to do a beauty party or effects parties,” he said.
“We do a demonstration and then mini-consultations with each person whether they want to work on their eyes or their face or whatever. They can bring in food if they want. Just a good little get away for two hours and play with makeup, and then they get to go home with different makeup and stuff. We’re booking a lot of parties for the younger girls too – 14 and 15 year old range – that are going into high school.”
Aside from personal consultations, The Makeup Department & Academy is offering workshops.
There are two upcoming SPFX workshops. Latex Prosthetics will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 1. In this workshop, participants will learn to use latex prosthetics to create scary, fun Halloween makeups that will frighten and amaze. The fee is $100 which includes a demo and kit.
Then on Oct. 15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Silicone Prosthetics will be offered. In this workshop participants will learn to use silicon appliances to create dramatic makeup looks and effects. Cost for the workshop demo, which includes a kit, is $150. Workshops are limited to 10 participants.
While October’s workshops are designed more for Halloween makeup and special effects, Lewis noted that they would be offering other workshops around airbrushing, beauty makeup and life casting (casts of pregnant bellies or a cast of a face, head or hand) after Halloween.
Then throughout the year, they plan to bring in guest lecturers. “Makeup artists will come in and talk about their career and who they work on. Maybe do demonstrations on something they specialize in,” he noted.
The Academy part of the business includes a 24-week makeup course designed for those who want to pursue a career in the entertainment industry doing makeup and special effects.
A winter academy session will start Jan. 16 and costs $25,000. Those who sign up before Nov. 1 receive a 10 percent discount or a total cost of $22,500. “The reason we started this store was because I like teaching,” Lewis said. “Most of the students that go to makeup schools come from basically the Midwest and they head to one of the coasts.”
He’s currently teaching one local student, Sierra, to become a makeup artist, and it was this teaching experience that provided the catalyst to offering the academy in the future to other students. “We’re going to expand the school in January next year,” Lewis said. “We’ll do between four and six students. We’re actually getting a lot of interest in the academy portion.”
“Other things we are doing is that we’re trying to work with cancer patients, burn survivors because when you’re going through chemo, a lot of makeup doesn’t adhere to the skin so we have makeup that’s especially designed for that as well as skin that has been burnt,” Lewis added.
He also has experience offering quite unique services such as when he made a new nose for a client who lost his nose to skin cancer or when he made a woman a silicone ear to replace the one she lost in a fire.
“We’re just trying to offer lots of services that I don’t think anybody has ever thought existed or if they did, it existed on one of the coasts. . . so it’s kind of bringing that back to here,” Lewis said.
The Makeup Department & Academy is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Visit them on Facebook, follow them on Instagram or call 618-650-9270 for additional information.