Between the Brush Strokes


Jenna Wiley, Editor-in-Chief

“Cast and Crew only”–those are four words that Abby Hutcheson has become well accustomed to. As a senior theater major and Film Studies minor, Hutcheson has often found herself on the other side of the curtain. 

Hutcheson first began her journey in the theater world when she was in high school. The school she attended was brand new–so new that she was the first four-year graduating class from New Hampstead High School. Taking a few theater tech classes her junior and senior year is what made her realize that theater is what she wanted to do.

Coming to Georgia Southern only solidified her love for theater, specifically theater makeup. Hutcheson has always liked to paint but never wanted to do 2D or 3D. 

“I prefer to draw on a face because all of the dimensions are already there,” Hutcheson said. 

Translating her likeness to painting on a flat surface to doing makeup was helped by the theater makeup classes offered here at GS.

Before Hutcheson knew she wanted to pursue makeup, she worked on a soundboard for a theater production. While she enjoyed it, she soon discovered it wasn’t exactly what she wanted to do. 

“It took college and getting involved in productions and realizing that yes, I like this, but I want this [makeup] to be what I do,” Hutcheson said.

Taking a college-level makeup class is a whole other world than the typical makeup you’d wear every day, what those in theater call “street makeup”.

“It is just getting you used to understanding the difference between street [everyday] makeup and film and stage makeup,” said Hutcheson.

She explained how, when applying makeup for theater, one has to keep in mind static distance. Static distance is the concept of how you have to keep in mind the distance between you (the performer) and the audience and how well they are going to notice to details.

Hutcheson noted that all static distance is not the same and that it depends on the venue. Using the comparison of the Performing Arts Center (PAC) and the Center for Art & Theater’s “Black Box,” she explained how you have to be more heavy-handed because it is such a large space to fill and how there is no need to be super detailed when it comes to makeup because the audience is not going to see it anyway. On the other hand, “Black Box” details are noticed.

Stage makeup and street makeup are not the same thing, but they do hold the same concept that something is being communicated on the face. Hutcheson explained that it might be easier for someone to pick up the skill if they have not already become accustomed to street makeup as they would not have it preset in their mind as “this is how this should look”. 

When it comes to productions she has participated in, the list is extensive. Among those include: “Wham! Bam! Play Slam,” “Bug.” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “Hay Fever” and “Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight,” for which Hutcheson won second place in a regional competition for her first set design. 

“It was a lot of fun, making sure everything was like cohesive and coherent and thoroughly communicating what I wanted to communicate while also keeping it aesthetically pleasing,” she said regarding the award-winning set designed she worked on. 

Currently, Hutcheson is working on her advanced makeup project. This entails putting all the skills she has learned over the years into one project–prosthetics. She will sculpt it, lay it in plaster and then lay it in latex. The final step is applying it to her face and making sure it is perfectly blended to match her skin. 

As far as inspirations go, Hutcheson finds inspiration in both the Hollywood film screen and Youtube. Glam and Gore, also known as Mykie, is a Youtube makeup artist that does both special effects makeup and street makeup. 

“She’s very self-taught, like most of it is everything self-taught, and I absolutely love her and the way she’s gone about things,” said Hutcheson. 

On the Hollywood side of things, Ve Neill also inspires her. Ve Neill is a Hollywood makeup artist best known for her works in Pirates of the Caribbean and all four Hunger Games movies.

In the future, Hutcheson plans to dive into the world of freelancing. She has plans on making her own Youtube channel to work as an online portfolio and also working on getting freelance business cards.

This story was written for the Spring 2020 edition of Reflector Magazine.