Pieter Schoolwerth


In my daily practice of recording the strange world I live in with oil on canvas, I became quite puzzled by the tragic fact that I could find no depictions in the history of Western painting of women wearing makeup. I knew I had to be the first! So I set myself to the task of creating my Self-portrait in Disguise. I realized from my first failed attempts to render pink eye shadow, which resembled a fresh, bloody shiner from a barroom brawl, that part of the difficulty lay in the fact that makeup is paint, and painting paint is largely impossible. I became desperate for a solution and looked up to the makeup gods of my nightlife past, Rozz Williams and Andi Sex-Gang, for guidance.

How would these old-school masters make themselves up? I finally solved my problem by first painting my flesh bare, then applying the painted foundation, blush, and mascara—just like makeup—as a final layer to the canvas. My resulting image was a painting of the surface, which seemed like both an appropriate allegory of modernism and another excuse to run out the door and frenetically slither amongst the smoke and mirrors in a trashy club later that night.