Thin brushes dipped into multi-colored water. Palettes filled with paint and various colorful pairings. Huge canvas covered with imagery. This was a constant scene in the Bassett household. Leah Sarrah Bassett was raised by two accomplished artists, Alice Babcock Lynch and Marc Bassett, in Massachusetts. There was no doubt that she would become a visual artist like her parents. Seven year ago, she decided to add another type of brush to her life.
“I met a woman who came in [the salon] and said she would like to apprentice and learn makeup,” Bassett said. She was a retired model and very familiar with the industry to begin with. I got her in touch with my boss, but in return, he wasn’t at all enthusiastic about the situation. He said it was a waste of time. I became great friends with her. I gave her tips and aesthetic critiques on her portfolio as she worked on it.”
A year later, the blue haired artist turned make-up artist was asked to assist the retired model turned makeup artist on a shoot for fun.
“I was afraid to do any makeup because I could hardly do it on myself ,” Bassett said. She just said, ‘Leah! It’s easy! It will be just powder!’ So, for my first job ever, she took me to the Senate to shoot Vanity Fair with Mark Seliger. I did makeup on Ted Kennedy, Rahm Emmanuel, James Carville, a bunch of big wigs. Who wouldn’t think after THAT experience, makeup wasn’t a desirable career choice? So, I kept assisting her. Then, after a little while of building my portfolio, the agency started calling me.”
By 2011, Bassett had gained countless contacts from people she had met not even met through the THE Artist Agency. Her clients include Under Armour, Urban Chic, Girls Life Magazine, Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Magazine and Fox 45. Leah Sarrah Bassett is now one of Balitmore’s top make-up artists.
“I really love working freelance because every day is different,” Bassett said. With my more frequent clients, like Under Armour and Girl’s Life Magazine, it always feels welcoming and familiar. When you finally get that dream team, booming with talent and personality, the experience is so much fun to come back to. You trust each other’s expertise. I have been very lucky to work with such great people.”
A great fashion photo is never complete without flawless make-up. One of Bassett’s dearest friends is Charm City based photographer, Sean Scheidt. Often, the two collaborate on photography.
“We were brought together by a test shoot through a local designer years ago,” Bassett said. I remember I got lost trying to find the location his studio. I arrived feeling ashamed and a bit frazzled. He was so welcoming and charming, that I immediately got out of that funk and had a great time. It turned out to be a great shoot that I would to this say, still shown in my portfolio. We are very inspired by each other’s work and ideas . It’s been quite a blessing to know him.”
The dream duo has worked on numerous projects for Baltimore based teen magazine, Girls Life Magazine.
“Every shoot is different and pretty much fun for me,” Bassett said. As for a favorite project, I can say that when we get the Girl’s Life team together for an editorial spread. It’s like a party with hard work, of course. I love the creativity we have when doing the shoots. One in particular was the holiday shoot 2012, I got to use appliques around the girls’ eyes. We had glitter all over the place and tinsel hanging on the walls.”
Towards the end of last year, Leah was able to get back to being a visual artist showcasing her paintings at TATU in December. In 2013, the jet setting make-up artist /visual artist is ready to paint a piece of art, a model face, and even her own.
“I normally use a little concealer under my eyes, mascara, cream blush or bronzer and a tinted lip balm,” Bassett said. This is the makeup that I know will keep my face looking fresh throughout the day. I realized that when I work, I cannot pull off smoky eye or lipstick because I’d melt by the end of the day.”
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