I walk into Make-Up-Pro’s studio on Broome Street and enter a creative realm. Bright lights sit above mirrors, reflecting the room’s white walls — grand spaces that stand like giant blank canvases ready for a brush stroke. It’s not just a make-up studio, but instead a haven that embraces the artistry within us all.
On an unusually brisk spring afternoon in New York City, Cheve Chan, partner and sister of Pro director, Chika Chan, greeted me at the entrance. She introduced me to their artist of the month, Zeehan Wazed. The second artist in their #makeupthewall series in which a local artist paints a mural on one of the white wall canvases in the studio. #Makeupthewall is a project that aims to provide a platform for artists to showcase their work. A conviction that Pro is founded on.
Zeehan is standing on a step-folding chair in front of an electrifyingly vibrant piece of work. As I observe his process, shapes and colors increasingly captivate me. I lose myself further in the piece, discovering hidden objects and constructing personal interpretations. It is beautiful yet complex. A piece that contributes to the studio’s creative culture and celebration of self-expression.
With a team of make-up artists attending to their clients on my left, I sit with Zeehan and dive into the rabbit hole:
OD: Hey Zeehan, tell me a little bit about yourself.
ZW: I grew up in Queens and art has always been around me. Painting is the thing for me – I can zone out and do it endlessly. I don’t ever get tired of it. In the moment, I’m never nervous about how it is going to end up. I just have to do it.
OD: Is your artwork ever complete?
ZW: (smiles) I’m always working on all of my pieces. It’s hard to say. Sometimes, I stop because there isn’t any more space left for me.
OD: So Zeehan, talk to me about your thought process behind this wall mural. What inspired you?
ZW: I usually use a lot of black and white – it gives people room for what they want to see. And, I’m inspired by perception psychology and shape theory — people might see more of what they want to see and in the process, discover something about themselves. I want to know what people’s experiences are when walking in and seeing it for the first time.
Nothing is a mistake. Everything is art!
OD: You mentioned you normally use black and white, why did you choose to use this set of bold colors for #makeupthewall?
ZW: I thought about using the studio’s color scheme too, but then, I just became really inspired by the make-up artist’s color palette.
OD: Why did you choose to use multiple angles and shapes?
ZW: Generally, I like to work with one line, but you know what? Life isn’t so linear — there are tangents in between. Some of the larger shapes and faces that are inter-layered capture some of the objects in between. It portrays this element of synchronicity — everything comes together. We just have to step back to find the bigger meaning in it. Nothing is a mistake. Everything is art!
I’m a perfectionist and really meticulous when it comes to my work. I don’t want to put it out there unless it has that wow factor.
CC: As partner of Make-Up Pro, it was like that for us in the beginning – we are engaged in so many things, but it does all come together. There are so many parts for us to fill in and create, and when we do, it makes an impact.
OD: On your website, Zeehanwazed.com, it says that you like to include components of freestyle dance in your artwork as well. Can you tell me more about that?
ZW: I think it’s really about highlighting the improvisation process.
I want people to be art and wear art — every little thing in your life is part of your art!
OD: So, Make-Up Pro prides itself on being a brand that isn’t just about the make-up, it is also about the art. How do you think your wall mural expresses this message?
ZW: This piece captures the intersection of discipline and the decor. And, I really admire how hard Pro artists work here. They raise their art to a level of high quality, which I respect. I can relate because I’m a perfectionist and really meticulous when it comes to my work. I don’t want to put it out there unless it has that wow factor. But, yeah I think it’s important to return to the discipline of art — no short cuts, not just a splash on the wall. It is like make-up art – you have to take your time.
OD: Tell me about what’s on the horizon for Zeehan Wazed. What should we all look out for?
ZW: I’m launching my clothing brand. My t-shirts come from my paintings and I’m really excited to sell them at this week’s launch party. I use a process called ssublimation – you can print as many colors as you want on any polyester material. And, if you put them on performers, it accentuates their movements. I like how it inspires people to move. You can see them from every angle. Another mission of mine is to incorporate social and political messages in my work.
ZW: Yes, I always thought art was a selfish endeavor, but after watching Waste Land and learning about Vik Muniz, it changed my entire perspective on art. Now, the goal is to make a difference. I want to create opportunities for dancers and connect with charities.
OD: Thanks for sitting down with me today, Zeehan. Any closing comments?
ZW: I think it is really cool what Make-Up Pro is doing right now. They are creating a culture. They are bringing art into this neighborhood and inspiring others to do the same. I want people to be art and wear art — every little thing in your life is part of your art!
By: Olivia Diaz