Turku, Finland–based artist Hanna Majava is quite the colorful character. For starters, you’ll always find the 28-year-old rocking a vibrant hair color that could put Rainbow Brite to shame. Then, there are her electric blue eyes, often framed by daring, tattoo-inspired mini paintings. Majava transforms her lids into literal works of art—check out her Alice in Wonderland and Evil Clown pieces to get an idea of what we mean. Impressive, right?
But, Majava admits her mastery of color wasn’t something she was born with. In fact, when she began experimenting with makeup at age 11, her looks were “pretty awful,” she says, laughing. Even at that early age, she was interested in wearing full makeup and promptly made her first purchase: an eye shadow duo from the Finnish brand Lumene. “It had a bright turquoise and a dark chocolate brown, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Especially if I applied both colors heavily, and wore them at once,” says Majava.
She had a lot to learn, though, and so the young Majava spent her days teaching herself new makeup tricks and learning a lot through trial and error. “I have a bad habit of trying everything out by myself first, but then when that fails after a couple of times, I look for some more info to help me out,” she says. Of course, online tutorials were helpful as she was starting out; in the beginning, Majava turned to bloggers like Sarah Chambers, Cecilie of GlitterGirlC, and Makeup by Siryn for tips and tricks.
Now, Majava repays the favor on her own blog where she provides step-by-step instructions for recreating many the intricate canvases she’s known for. A word of advice for budding Renoirs: if at first you don’t succeed, Majava would be the first to say, “Practice makes perfect! I usually mess everything up a million times before getting it right.” When we chatted with the artist recently, she told us about her inspirations, which part of her body she’s glad she didn’t get tattooed, and more. Read on!
I’d love to do something with makeup for a living, but I’m not sure what that would be yet, since most of my looks aren’t what you’d call ‘wearable.’ I do plan to go to school and get a degree in cosmetics, though. I’m also trying to learn to do larger-scale looks next, like face painting and (hopefully) body painting.
I’ve noticed a lot of women are starting to wear brighter, darker, and bolder lips, which is something I really like.
Definitely nail art. The things people are able to do with nails—it’s just incredible.
I appreciate all styles of tattooing. I’d love to get bigger and more colorful pieces myself. Lately, I’ve been admiring the work of Nikko Hurtado. But really, tattoos and makeup fit together, considering they’re both forms of art on the skin—one’s just non-permanent. For a while I wanted to get my brows and eyeliner tattooed on, too, but I’m really happy I didn’t, because I find it more fun to be able to change up my look.
For a long time my brows were a problem. I hardly have any brow hairs, so I’d draw them on in the weirdest shapes—mostly way too high [in the arch]. I’ve learned my lesson, though!
I’ve been drawing and painting my whole life, and I’ve gone to school for design and arts, like home décor, furniture, and jewelry-making. I’m also trying to learn nail art, sewing, and tattooing, but I’m not very good at those … yet!
I absolutely love everything from Sugarpill Cosmetics—their products are my all-time favorites. I also like Illamasqua Sealing Gel, LunatiCK Cosmetic Labs Prime Time, and Mehron Paradise Makeup AQ–8-color Palette.