Amber Griffin is a Rock 'n' Roll makeup artist. The epitome of Rock ’n’ Roll is cool and the word cool is synonymous with Amber Griffin. She has worked with celebrities from Paul Giamatti to Paris Hilton. Musicians from James Blunt to Linkin Park. Not to mention she has been featured in TIME, People and Rolling Stone! Born a natural creative, from ice skates, to scissors & design, to makeup brushes; everything Amber touches is gold. With an incredible work ethic and constant hunger to push herself to her artistic limits she has created a stunning and unique portfolio of work. Plaid pony is proud to share a chameleon of cool, Amber Griffin with you.
What was a pivotal moment in your career?
There are many moments in my career that I would consider pivotal, but one that always stands out is the day I met Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. We were shooting out on a dried lakebed in the desert outside of Los Angeles. If you know anything about Nikki, it's go big or go home...the more outrageous the better. We did shots where he walked two panthers (yes, two live panthers) followed by shots in front of huge pyrotechnics. Not only was that an unforgettable shoot, it also was the beginning of friendship that has lasted well over 10 years. There have been moments along my journey with Motley Crue that are unbelievable: from the countless hours traveling for TV for appearances, to sold out concerts, to photo shoots for billboards, magazines, books and various press appearances all across the country. That moment, in the desert, early on in my career, set me on my path of working with musicians and record labels. Most of work has a fashion/rock-in-roll slant which, in part, comes from working with rock royalty early on in my career.
What has been your favorite set to work on? Why?
I love working on jobs that are more artistic and makes a statement. Collaborating with others who are at the top of their field is very exciting to me.
What is one of the proudest moments in your career?
One moment that will always stand out for me is the time I was walking on Sunset Boulevard and to my left was a billboard featuring Motley Crue and to my right was another billboard from a jeans advertisement that I had worked on. At the same time, there was another fashion billboard in Times Square that I had worked on. Three billboards at one time in the most notable places in both LA and NY was absolutely amazing. During that time, I also had my work featured in several magazines, four different books, various CDs, records and even tee shirts. Just thinking about it now, I am getting a little emotional because I had worked so hard, sacrificed so much for my career and never really looked around to see the results. Then, almost suddenly my work was shown literally all over the world.
What are some things you enjoy when you aren't shooting?
It’s important to always be in the process of creation. I find inspiration from my surroundings and from other artists. When I’m not on set, I can usually be found roaming around galleries or sitting in a quirky coffee shop with my sketchbook. I love wandering around new places and finding unique local restaurants and artisan shops in whatever city I am in. Now that Austin is my home base, I get to spend more time with my family. I especially love hanging out with my two little nieces. Experiencing the world from a child’s perspective is refreshing and reminds me of the magic in the little things.
What is your favorite part about being on set?
I love working on sets that push me to be my best artistically and creatively. I always appreciate having the freedom to be creative and make each shoot the absolute best that it can be. Whether the job is advertising, photo shoots, TV, etc., I thrive on variety and always enjoy that each job is unique and I that get to meet new people each time.
What does #createmoments mean to you?
I believe that if we don’t pay attention and be consciously present in the moment, then important experiences can pass us by without us even noticing. With our lives getting faster and the “to do list” getting longer, it is deeply important to take a breath and get out of autopilot. Living with an open heart and mind, and always looking for the beauty around me is how I #createmoments.
What is one thing your fans may not know about you?
Only a few people know that being a professional makeup artist was not even on my radar until I got into college. I was actually a competitive figure skater when I was younger. I was utterly and completely in love with figure skating. I was absolutely obsessed with it! Not long before I graduated high school, I suffered a knee injury and I had to learn how to walk again. I was absolutely devastated and had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I ended up going to college to study fine art and fashion. That is where I stumbled upon makeup artistry. I sometimes think of what my life would have been like, had I not had that knee injury. I remember spending countless painful hours in physical therapy and thinking that my life was over, having no idea that the adventures were just beginning.
What advice can you provide for future makeup stylists?
The best advice that I can offer to an aspiring makeup artist is to practice on as many ethnicities as you can as often as you can. It’s so important to also know color theory and what kind of makeup application to do for different types of lighting and cameras. Makeup artistry is so much more than just putting makeup on pretty faces. It is a tough business that relentlessly demands the best out of you. Assisting more experienced makeup artists will expose you to new techniques and products as well as other important aspects of the business. Two qualities that are imperative for success are the willingness to learn and being humble. Most importantly, never give up...even when you want to. Never give up. Always learn. Always expand. Always grow. That is the key to success and longevity.