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Insight: Ines alpha & Madrona Redhawk’s futuristic face-filter

Text by CLOT Magazine

Face-filters are probably one of the biggest current trends in our digital existence. From the more fun or artistic versions to the beauty cannons enhancing ones, over-used by some ageing entertainment industry stars. At the same time, digital artists have also started using face filters as their means of expression while challenging ideas of beauty.

A few months ago, two boundary-pushing beauty creators, Madrona Redhawk, an Indigenous makeup artist, based in Las Vegas, and Ines Alpha, a 3D makeup creator based in Paris, released a new face-filter collaboration: two artists using different mediums in very distant parts of the world. The collaboration was facilitated by HUH, a website and global platform that brings creatives together from different parts of the world for content collaborations that reflect how their cities feel. The prototype was launched in October 2020 as a pandemic passion project by the Toronto-based creative agency Somewherelse.

Both artists have an alternative view of beauty, taking inspiration from the intangible and creating fantastical looks. They share the idea that beauty is not one thing nor uniform, but it should always be fun. Having collaborated before already, this time, they worked under the guiding mood of ‘otherworldly’ to imagine how humans could look in another dimension without norms and genders—a world of total aesthetic freedom.

I’m thankful to live in a time where it’s possible to collaborate with people from different cultures and backgrounds; it’s inspiring and uplifting, says Ines Alpha. I’m a huge fan of Madrona’s work. It’s not only captivating but plays with beauty standards in unconventional and confusing ways, which aligns with my own ethos. Anyone can and should be able to wear makeup, and now anyone can play with our creation and be transported to another world.

Madrona shares that the biggest part of the creative process was choosing a mood and colour scheme and determining how intricate the makeup and filter would be. Once they figured out the parameters, the creative process was Madrona doing makeup and sending a high-quality video to Ines, who digitized the makeup and designed and animated the amazing “tentacles” around it. It is always a joy to work with Ines, she continues. She is one of the nicest people I have had the pleasure to know. We both have very futuristic art styles, of course. Her work is literally futuristic because AR and filters are so new (and she is also a pioneer of this genre!), and I’m using an ancient method in a futuristic way. I would also say we often use similar colour schemes. 

For Madrona, this collaboration skewed from her normal process, which is raw, unplanned, and internally inspired: I tried to maintain those values while taking into account Ines’ needs and aesthetic and our shared feeling of ‘otherworldliness’. Since I never do makeup on anyone but myself, I’m excited to see my look come alive on the faces of others.

The main aim of developing this filter for the artists was to morph their two art forms and create something awesome out of mutual respect for each other’s art. Madrona thinks this collaboration goes even further than the first collab with Ines, where Ines added AR in a post on top of my makeup. This time she digitized Madrona’s makeup and added more to it.

Anna Wiesen, creative director of Somewherelse & HUH, concludes that it’s been fascinating to watch these two unconventional beauty creators meld their distinct mediums: This collaboration brings together the tangible and the intangible—makeup and face filters—to change how we can visually express ourselves and offer a chance to explore a unique intersection of beauty.

Check the filter here.

(Images courtesy of HUH)
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