Makeup As An Art Form

A brush stroke of chestnut there; a dab of gold glitter there. Self-taught freelance makeup artist Jessica Pagan of Roselle Park knows a thing or two about art.

“Art comes in all forms, and I want to share with the world my love and passion for art,” said Pagan, who currently teaches her craft at Artist Makeup Academy in Hoboken, where she’s taught since September of 2018.

Pagan specializes in beauty makeup for weddings, special events, photo shoots, theatrical makeup and special effects makeup. With over six years of experience, she provides her services in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and even travels internationally.

“My interest in makeup began when I wanted to explore more of my artistic side by creating colorful eye looks in 2010,” recalls Pagan. “Prior to that, I started drawing in middle school and in my senior year of high school [at Elizabeth High School in Elizabeth in 2006], I was introduced to face painting.”

Face painting quickly became Pagan’s hobby. It was Pagan’s sister that introduced her to beauty makeup.

“At the time, I couldn’t afford to pay to get my makeup professionally done, so I had to learn how to do it on my own,” she said.

Every day for Pagan was a new day to perfect her craft.

“It became a passion for me,” she said. “Whether I would practice on myself, my family or my friends, I would do it any change I could get.”

In addition to hands-on practice, Pagan would do research to learn more about different makeup products, brands and artists.

“I would test out different techniques and, in doing so, I would learn what worked for me and what didn’t,” said Pagan.

Pagan also has the ability to look at something and imitate it. She creates that to her childhood drawing days.

“I spent my childhood drawing cartoon characters that I grew up watching on TV,” said Pagan.

The sketching, shading and detailing that she learned in her art classes transitioned smoothly into makeup application.

Her favorite form of makeup is theatrical, however.

“Being able to create artistic looks by using a body or face and bringing these characters to life is therapy to me,” she said.

She also enjoys beauty makeup, which brings confidence to the women that receive her service.

“Making them feel beautiful in their skin makes me genuinely happy,” shared Pagan.

She also finds joy in being around like-minded artists. While teaching at the Artist Makeup Academy in Hoboken, she gets to experience that.

“If I’m able to impact and inspire one of my students in anything they learn from me to take with them on their journey, then I have fulfilled my duty as a teacher,” she said.

Through her art, she hopes more than just her students benefit.

“Inspiration. Creativity. Joy. To be able to whole-heartedly create art that people can relate to. To be able to bring back memories and boost confidence. I hope my artistry brings all that to others,” said Pagan.

“Whenever I would go through a hard time, I would create art,” she continued. “After high school, I felt lost. I didn’t know in which direction to go. I wanted to pursue art as a career; however, there was no career in the artistry field that I wanted that was worthwhile. I entered the corporate world for years and did makeup as a hobby. I lacked the confidence to be able to pursue what fulfilled me, and that was becoming a freelance makeup artist.”

 Connect with Pagan through her Instagram page at

By Jessica Humphrey-Cintineo

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