Pics or it Didn't Happen
So, I put my fear aside and asked her some questions. Naturally, she was just as inspiring as I imagined. See for yourself, below.
What was your experience at Pratt as a fashion design major and how did that help you figure out that you wanted to pursue makeup?
I grew up being pretty obsessive about makeup. I wasn't like, super crazy about it when I was younger, but I was very obsessed with getting perfect eyeliner. Like, people would say things about it. When I went to Pratt, I was very interested in fashion at the time, and my experience there was intense. There was definitely a culture shock coming from Nashville—I think Pratt, in general, was really stressful. My reaction when I got out was like, ‘Wow, I hate the fashion industry.’ It’s not that I hate New York, but it was just shoved in my face for so long and the teachers at the school were trying to push so many things down my throat. Forcing someone to be creative is a hilarious way to go about creativity.
But it ended up kind of serving me in a way, because I hated it so much that I blossomed in another way. So, I left for three years and kind of chilled out, figured out what it was that I wanted to do. I started posting makeup and people just responded to it like that. It was not something I ever thought about doing before—it was very in response to people. It's like, you're getting a huge response to something and you think, ‘Well, what if I push it a little more this way?’ It's almost like a communication between your followers and you. That’s how it happened and it just grew from there.
What do you see as the biggest differences between fashion and beauty?
I would say that makeup, in a way, is really more inclusive than fashion because you don't have to be a particular way to wear makeup. In my mind, I have less pressure to show off my entire body instead of just creating a picture on my face where I can contort it into any shape that I want. You can do that with fashion, too, but it's almost more work to source clothing, and making clothing is very time consuming. I do love making clothes and I would want to do it more, but makeup is so fast in the social media world. Also, people are automatically attracted to faces. I’m responsive to what people like, and I want to give the people what they want—but in my own way.
Do you ever think about the images you’re posting on Instagram in a historical context? Are product arrangements and your own content this generation’s version of a still lifes?
Absolutely. Thinking about it in a historical context is very strange. Not everyone is on Instagram, but not everyone was in an art museum. It feels to me like it’s at that level. I feel like less people go into museums now—they go online. Also, I just got a VR headset the other day for the first time, and I’m so excited. You can go anywhere. It’s freaky, but I love it. There are art museum tours in the headset. I know it’s going to be the future of a lot of things. Of course, real things will exist, too. But it's so interesting that we're so hooked into social media that they're going to keep pushing it into different dimensions.
I actually just watched the video that you posted for your palette where you're layering it all over your face and I was just like, ‘Thank you, yes, someone needed to do this!’
I know! I would post stuff like that all the time because I love doing super perfect lines and everything—for years I would just film myself drawing all over my face. Some people's responses were hilarious. They were like, ‘What's wrong with you? You need to go to the psych ward.’ People post way crazier shit—that’s actually not that intense. And it just feels good. What is the level of what’s okay to post? Six, seven, eight years ago, this platform didn’t even exist. So, should there be any rules?
I also feel like I’m drawn to maximalist beauty, but I grew up with people telling me to find colors that ‘matched’ my look and to always tone it down.
That’s the bane of my existence! I want to do whatever I want, whenever. People have done palettes a million times, I'm aware of that—I’m aware I’m not bringing anything new in terms of that. But the assortment of colors is new, I think. And I think partially what I’m selling and trying to promote is a freedom from whatever the current beauty world is trying to do. I like yellow highlighting my cheeks; you can literally put whatever shape you want on your face. You look to the past, and there's so many different types of adornments, culturally. Why don't we create something new that's specific to our generation that has nothing to do with perfect winged eyeliner? As much as I love to wear it, we’ve got to push through!
How did you find the confidence to put yourself out there and be so colorful, with your beauty routine and your personality?
I can't help it. My mom’s a designer—she designs fabric—and I was just around a lot of color growing up, so it's natural to me. When I see people dress in a certain way, I think, ‘I have to break out of this.’ But it's like I'm not wearing crazy things all the time. It's mostly on the internet that I act this way, and I really like pushing people. Like, ‘Oh, you hate this? Great. I’m doing something right.’
I think that’s needed. Going back to your Claropsyche palette—how did you go about picking the colors?
Well, I've tried a lot of different makeup in my lifetime, and I knew that I love creating bases for any intricate design that I'm doing with just matte colors, because it creates more of another layer, if that makes sense. Sometimes I think about it like I'm on PhotoShop—like, there are different layers when I'm putting things on my face. So, I would think of this palette as my background layer before I put on everything else. Color-wise, I really want it to be vibrant because it really sticks out when you're posting online.
Also, the pastels—two are my favorite colors, in general. So, I just combined basic colors with my favorite pastels and black and white. It really is the perfect palette! Anyone can use it, and you can make whatever you want.
Where did the name ‘Claropsyche’ come from?
A few years ago, I had I started with the account name @lettersmack, and that's when I started doing makeup. People were re-blogging my pictures like crazy and not crediting me, and it was driving me so insane that I deleted the account. This was before you could archive stuff. So, I deleted all of my pictures and changed my name to Claropsyche. I just wanted something clean-feeling. Claro means clear, and in Greek ‘psyche’ stands for soul or butterfly. So, ‘clear soul’ is what I wanted to use—I just made up the word basically.
Do you ever wear your designs in public? Or are they solely for artistic purposes?
It's totally half and half—it depends on what the situation is. I used to wear them out a lot more, but it would really stress me out. I’d be like, ‘I'm gonna wash this entire thing off my face and do a new look,’ but lately I've been very okay with not putting on a base before I put makeup on, and just kind of letting it be because I've been having a more freestyle feeling, which really feels good. So, I'll just rub a little bit away and leave purposeful things in some places. It just depends on the context. If I'm going to a party with a bunch of people I know, then I'll just leave it on my face. But if I'm going out—I live in Nashville—so, if I don't feel like being confronted on the driveway about what I’m wearing, I'm just not going to do it. There’s this weird stigma like, ‘Do they wear that makeup out or not?’ But why does it matter? I created it in the first place, and it's an image that I put in the universe, stuck in our psyches. That's the only way people see me, anyway—people on the internet see me through that view, because they're never gonna see me in real life.
I’m really fascinated by that idea of ‘Did this look really exist if you didn’t wear it outside?’ Like, ‘Pics or it didn’t happen.’
I honestly feel like whenever I take a picture of it, I'm getting a specific angle of the look that looks good. Oftentimes, when I’m editing it, I make it look nice. So, it's never going to live up to the perfection that you see in the picture IRL.
Lately, I just love drawing big flowers on my cheek because I think I get the best reactions from people with those naturally. Like, I wore a flower on my cheek one night and nobody treated me differently, whereas the next morning, I was going through a coffee shop and people were like, ‘I like your flower!’ I like it too—it’s really simplistic. But I'm changing all of the time. Right now, I feel like I'm moving away from eyes and going into more face stuff. I’ve gotten attention for eyes for so long that now I'm over it. Like I said, I want to do whatever I want, whenever, and when I see people wearing certain things, or liking certain things, I have to break out it and do something new. That’s just how I am.