New gen bosses is a new series created to guide and inspire more people to go out there on their own, either as new business founders or freelancers. And what better way to do that than to ask the ones that already succeed at it? We want to know about big fuck-ups and even bigger successes, and the risky decisions they had to make along the way. We want to be the last little push you needed.
Job title: Digital artist, 3D makeup artist
Company founder or freelancer: Freelancer
How long have you been doing it: 3D makeup for 3 years and digital art for 6 years
What pushed you to start on your own?
I was working in an advertising company, and I had been working there for 7 years. I was already experimenting with 3D at that time, working on HD cosmetics still lives at work, and video clips with Panteros666 at home. I quickly felt a knack for it. I’ve always dreamt of finding something very special to make and share to the world, finding my art, the way I wanted to express myself, my vocabulary.
My fascination for 3D growing bigger and bigger, I later on found my own self defining way, uniting two of my favourite things in this world: makeup and 3D. Adding 3D elements on people’s faces, I accidentally created makeup from the future. I never thought I could earn a living from doing what I love. I started doing 3D makeup experimentation while I was still in the advertising company. My community on Instagram grew, and I started getting interviewed by magazines and I got commissioned for works. I felt the urge to take a risk, I had to try being independent and sell my art. So I quit the ad company and went freelance.
What was the very first thing you needed to do to set everything up?
I think the first thing I needed was time. Developing ideas and 3D files is enormously time-consuming. Luckily in France, we have a good unemployment benefit and you also get credit for education. It helped me a great deal to focus on my things only, learn new skills, practice a lot, push my aesthetic and my statement further, as well as what I wanted to say and share to the world with my art. To fully support myself financially I also did freelance stuff during my free time.
What was the riskiest decision you had to take?
Quit my job for sure! Take the risk of not earning your living every month. That’s the scariest thing, you have no security anymore, no parachute. If you fall, you crash.
What was a skill you didn’t foresee needing that you had to learn?
When you go freelance you have to become several persons in one, you have to learn many different jobs. In addition to your creative knowledge, all the software you have to learn depending on what you want to do—and that’s a lot of them (photo retouching, video, editing, 3D modelling, sculpting, augmented reality now…)—you also have to learn skills you would not really need in a company: marketing to sell your stuff, producer to manage your projects, accountant for your income, search and boost business for your company. That’s a lot to handle!
Everywhere around us, new gens are founding businesses and redefining their careers. New gen bosses is here to inspire those who might want to do the same, this time with extra tips, some lols from those who have been there, done that, and £20 in your new ANNA business account if you dare to take the leap.
At what moment did you realise that this was going to work out?
When I got my first paid job for a famous brand. It was when Nike asked me to collaborate that I thought “ok, I haven’t done all that for nothing.” But you’re never really sure how long it’s going to work out for.
What did you spend your money on?
Software, hardware. A better computer, a kick-ass graphics card!
What was your biggest fuck up?
I think I fucked up negotiating some of my first fees and copyrights. It’s hard to know how much you’re worth and how to protect your art when you start. It’s still very hard for me after 3 years working independently. So you ask for a low fee because you think you don’t deserve being paid and then you have to work your ass off for days or weeks because you still want to do a great job!
I always try to think of it as a lesson to be learned.
What was your biggest success?
There have been a few but among them, my last brand collaboration with Dior is definitely a huge accomplishment! Since I’ve started working in advertising, working with Dior was a goal for me. I’m even prouder I could work with them thanks to my art!
What do you know now that you didn’t know then?
I think it brought me to realise that I have something personal and artistic to share. I’ve always struggled to find my way. I never thought I would and that made me lose a lot of confidence. While I was working in the advertising company, I met the music producer Panteros666, who believed in me and in my power of creation. He really pushed me to go out there. I’m very thankful for him.
What are three tips you would give someone who wants to start on their own?
One: Take the risk to do what you love fully, find your own brand, no matter what people say of it.
When I started, a lot of people said what I did was weird, they did not get it. They thought it was useless. It’s easy to say now for me and I would have hated this advice back then but you have to trust your instinct!
Two: Get paid. You work hard. You’re worth a good fee. Never work for free, even if your work is what you like to do the most in your life.
Three: Be endurant and pugnacious.
Feel like you could great some amazing 3D makeup too? There’s only one way to find out. Take the leap, open an ANNA business card completely free of charge for the first 3 months and get £20 in it, too.
Want to discuss taking the leap with other new gens? You’re in luck! We’ve created New Gen Bosses, a Facebook group to continue and expand the conversation started through this new series.
Augmented reality (AR) filters, or, more commonly, face filters, are now all over our Instagram stories. Not only do we have access to the typical and predictable ones made by in-house creators at Instagram, but we can now also use more experimental ones, created by independent artists that share the filters on the platform.
Previously only available for Facebook and beta testers, the software Spark AR Studio that lets you create custom face filters and other effects for Instagram is now available to all users. This is the chance for up-and-coming visual artists to post their own filters on the platform, and the perfect way for them to reach a bigger audience. One of the most successful AR filter creators, Jade Roche, also known as @ramenpolanski, started creating them just for fun when she first saw that the Spark AR Studio software was available to anyone, thinking, “Really, can we do that?”
Face filters boomed on Instagram after the ‘Beauty3000’ filter was released by Johanna Jaskowska aka @johwska. Her most famous creation was a phosphorescent mask that wraps around the face of anyone using the filter, making them look almost robot-like with perfect skin and pastel reflections. Not long afterwards, this new aesthetic took over Instagram as more people started using ‘independent’ filters, including the ones of Jade Roche.
At 28, the French artist already has an impressive career resume. She’s a photographer, video maker, and graphic designer, but, mostly, she describes herself as a visual artist. Roche has worked with the famous French music label Ed Banger Records, and also helped to organise Corsica’s popular summer festival Calvi on the rocks. “I’ve always been into visuals, whether it is photography, video, or more recently digital. It gives everybody easy access to software that allow people to create whatever they want.” The first filter Roche created, called ‘LA TOUR EIFFEL’, is a face mask that simply adds the Eiffel Tower on the user’s face.
Since releasing that first viral filter, Roche has been experimenting with new and more complex ideas, like her most famous one called ‘PSYCHO’, a filter that circles the user’s silhouette in a multicoloured line instead of just covering their face as most filters do. A few months ago, at Paris Fashion Week, many celebrities used ‘PSYCHO’ as well as some of Roche’s other creations, with big names like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and SZA adapting it repeatedly, shining a light on Roche’s talent as well as her Instagram account. Talking about her newborn ‘fame’, the artist stays humble, “It’s like if I had created a new fashion brand and gave some free clothes to my friend and it somehow ended up on someone famous.”
But creating fun filters for Instagram users requires more than imagination, psychedelic inspiration, and coding skills, all of which Roche has plenty of. It also demands from the creator an understanding of the platform, its users, and what they want. “I’m a 28-year-old girl who lives in Paris, I use Instagram and Facebook a lot. That means that the people I’m creating for are just like me. I create filters because I would use them myself.”
Most AR filter creators on Instagram are software developers, whereas Roche comes from a creative background, meaning she’s got “the visual skills more than the technique”, which explains some of her more surprising designs for Instagram. “I think more about how it’s going to be received on social media, and how people are going to use it than about the filter looking perfect”.
We live in a constant obsession over our social media appearance, and so it would make sense for filters to give us an opportunity to transform our faces and pretend to be someone else. Talking about our selfie culture, Roche maintains a positive outlook, “Filters give us an occasion to reinvent ourselves; some use them to ‘ameliorate’ themselves, but filters are just an excuse to post a selfie. I find selfies amazing. Something big is going to happen in the future. Filters only boost people’s need to post on Instagram.”
It seems that Roche is right. Even though filters push us to give in to today’s selfie craze, creators of this new aesthetic also refute the message that previous filters were spreading, which encouraged young girls to look ‘perfect’, to have full lips or hide their real nose with a fake dog nose. Most of the ‘independent’ filters don’t perpetuate traditional beauty standards. They’re more creative and experimental, and are not created to make Instagram influencers look more beautiful. Shimmering masks and rainbow-coloured backgrounds are mixed with darker designs, some particularly otherworldly—a new aesthetic that people are slowly adopting.
Talking to Screen Shot, @fvckrender, another face filters creator, says he wants to step back from making Instagram filters, “I’ve stopped making them because I didn’t like the attraction it brought to my profile, I want people to enjoy my work, not just my filters”. Unlike Roche, @fvckrender’s opinion on selfies and how important they’ve become to us is not enthusiastic, “I think the selfie addiction is a real problem, and depending on the creators, it can be more damaging or less damaging with the face filters added on top of that, this is why most of my face filters have a self-help meaning behind them.”
The rise of augmented reality filter creators and their newly found ‘fame’ could be an indication of what’s to come for Instagram and its influencers. As a new important part of Instagram, some of these artists are slowly beginning to resemble influencers. “There’s almost a new market with filters and filter creators, where the creators’ profiles look like the new version of influencers,” says Roche, adding, though, that “It’s hard to know for sure.”
From the ‘like’ feature possibly disappearing to influencers wearing digital clothing, there are numerous possibilities concerning the future of Instagram. What about filters? Roche dreams of filters that would allow users go into a virtual room, grab items on the screen, and look at them from every angle, “Imagine not having to get out of your house at all!”
Augmented reality filter creators are still testing most of their work out. With the Spark AR Studio software now being available to all users, it raises the question of exactly how big the trend could become. Until then, Roche has her future planned out, creating filters as a hobby and freelancing the rest of the time. “Wherever this is going, clearly, it’s not changing my life, but it accelerates things by giving me visibility.”