Makeup is his medium

Zachary Bakos, a 20-something and usually-barefoot boy, is a studio art major at Johnson State College. His medium of choice? Makeup.

Originally from West Hartford, Vermont, he spends a lot of time traveling to New York City.

“I first started using makeup in my senior year of high school,” said Bakos. “My makeup-addicted friend was cataloging all of her makeup and some eye shadow got on my paper. I smudged it, and the eye shadow was sort of a cross between chalk and pastel.”

Makeup is very malleable and each product has a different consistency, so Bakos finds it hard to have a specific process. “I tend to use eye shadows, eye liners, lipsticks, and most recently I’ve begun to also use hair dye,” said Bakos.

Bakos creates art pieces that are typically of the human figure, as well as digital art that is as polished and glamorous as an ad. “My third semester at college was the first time I have ever attempted digital art,” said Bakos. “Through scanography, I completed a short series of scans that were composed of crushed eye shadow, lip-stick, crushed pills, and milk.”

He used his own lips to imprint on the scans, which branded the work with his theme of androgyny within his artwork.

“I think conceptually, androgyny is very intriguing and extremely modern. My art often relates to it,” said Bakos. “Symbolically, to me, androgyny is the juxtaposition of gender roles and the blending of them. It has a shock factor in society that is somewhat upsetting because our society is so run by gender role and stereotype. Most people are surprised that, as a male, I choose to work with such a feminine product.”

Bakos, a sophomore, has taken multiple art classes at the college and plans to apply to the B.F.A program for studio art. He finds inspiration in culture, theology, and mythology rather than specific artists. “As I go through courses on art history, I find my art becoming less traditionally Western just due to exposure . . . A lot of my inspiration comes from Victoria Zolnoski, who has also given me some much-needed advice of the concept of my work as ‘complete.’”

Having only worked with makeup for three years, he has yet to discover a brand he is absolutely in love with. “I think half of the enjoyment of art with makeup is the feeling of discovery when using each brand and learning how they layer, blend, act, and just the feeling of endless possibilities,” said Bakos.

Bakos grew up naturally experimenting with different mediums and making art as he went. “Even now, I have trouble considering my own work as real art,” said Bakos.

People can usually spot Bakos wearing exotic baggy pants, no shoes, and a comfy looking shirt outside of Arthur Hall or in the Visual Arts Center. For the many incoming artists of 2016, Bakos has some key advice to offer: “You are young. Don’t follow others or the rules. Find yourself in art and in experiment, and don’t try to fit yourself into someone else’s mold.”