Maker Space: The Art Of Beauty

Maker Space: The Art Of Beauty

Makeup artist and Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week board member Jodie Arrington Franklin can size you up in five seconds and tell you what color palette would look best on your face.

“You have blue eyes,” he said, tilting his head to the side. “You’re wearing a great [sweater] color — plum. It’s complementary. You should try some plums, some browns, some golds on your eyes.”

This kind of instinct has been honed through Franklin’s 10 years in the business and put to good use in places like the Bentonville Film Festival vendor tent, where he serves as a makeup artist for L’Oreal.

“I’ve been there for L’Oreal for the last two years,” he said. “You meet so many people and personalities. You can make somebody’s day. I love that. They’re long days — you’re on your feet — but I enjoy being able to meet so many people from different areas. I’ve had the same lady come both years, and each year she tells me how her life is going. I feel like you’re a confidant as a makeup artist — people sit in your chair and tell you their story.”

Franklin said he’s always had a love for fashion and design. He moved to Fayetteville to attend the apparel studies program at the University of Arkansas from tiny Lacey, Ark. — an unincorporated community a little more than 10 miles south of Monticello that, according to Franklin, “doesn’t even have a population sign.”

“I’ve always liked to dress, since I was a kid. That was a really big thing — clothes. I came from a single-parent household. My grandparents basically raised me. I was good in academics and was in the gifted and talented program and accelerated classes. I went to Governor’s School, Boys State … moving here was eye-opening. The academics were a little bit tougher than in South Arkansas, but, luckily, I had support here.”

Franklin was thrilled when he snared a coveted summer internship in New York City — at Gucci, no less.

“It was tough,” he admitted. “It was where you either sank or swam. ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ came out that year and a group of interns went to see it, and I thought, ‘Seriously, this is just like my boss.’”

When Franklin returned to Fayetteville for the fall semester, he was working at Dillard’s and was offered a job at the MAC cosmetics counter. He had never worked with cosmetics before, but the salary was higher than he was making in handbags, so he decided to give it a shot.

“I’ve always been the artsy, creative type of person,” he said. “I like to draw, paint — anything creative. But I really didn’t know it was going to take off like that for me. I had some classes in the very beginning for training, but, really, anybody walking past, I would say, ‘Hey, do you want me to do a demo really quickly?’ I was just practicing, over and over again.”

Franklin realized he was really good at what he was doing with makeup when people started coming to the counter asking specifically for him. He worked there for two years, and after he left, co-workers regularly fielded customer requests for his contact information. From there, he said, it just “took off.” Today, in addition to the work he does for the Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week and his freelance work with cosmetic companies like L’Oreal, he’s also busy most weekends doing makeup for weddings and other special events.

He seems a bit surprised at how quickly his business grew.

“I started out at Fashion Week, in a dungeon, doing make-up,” said Franklin, referring to some of the darker venues the event was held at in its infancy. “At that time, I said, ‘I’ll do anything to get my name out there and get experience in this area.’ Some great opportunities came out of that, and I worked my way up in Fashion Week. Now I’m vice-chairman of the board, which is awesome. It’s another way to make an impact.”

Franklin helped bring order to the chaos in the earlier days of Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week. Today, there is a routine process in place that allows the designers to consult with makeup artists and hair stylists prior to their shows.

“I would work with the hair chair, and we would get with the boutiques and the designers to make look books for them,” he said. “We would put a team together with a lead artist and then two to three other artists. I’m glad I started that and helped set the process.”

In addition to an eye for color and a knack for sizing up complexion shades, Franklin said a lot of what makes a good makeup artist is personality-based.

“Listening to people, paying attention,” he said, listing the requirements. “Also: confidence. Having enough confidence in order to say, ‘Hey, you look awesome! You look beautiful!’ Those words are paramount for people. That’s one thing that I enjoy about it: I get to make people feel good.”

Franklin often is assisting people on some of the most stressful days of their lives — their wedding days, for example.

“I’ve worked with some very difficult personalities, and I’m the one that gets them last,” he said, with a laugh. “I have the whole wedding party behind me, going ‘What is it you’re doing?’ But I get through it, and they look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘Oh, my gosh, thank you so much.’ And that comes just from listening to people, hearing what they want. I highly recommend consultations, just to see if we’re the right fit for each other.”

Communication is key, Franklin said.

“Asking questions, asking for constant feedback,” he said. “I think you also have to have intuition and empathy for your client. If you feel that someone is uncomfortable, you need to have that mirror out and say, ‘What do you think about this?’ in a way that makes them comfortable telling you. I’ve always tried to teach makeup artists to ‘Style step’ — if someone comes in like, ‘Stomp. Stomp. Stomp,’ then you need to step back and give them the authority. If you have someone who is very timid and quiet, you need to talk to them very gently and soothingly. I’ve learned through the years that I need to be able to communicate with different styles of personality.”

Franklin said his next goal is to work through the Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week and its nonprofit partner organization, the Arkansas Arts and Fashion Forum, to support newcomers to the makeup field.

“I want some way to be able to help those people and guide them,” he said. “That’s my biggest goal right now, to help other artists flourish. In the future, the goal is for us to have some kind of scholarship funds because, for instance, for me to buy my kit was around $2,000 or $3,000. I would love to be able to put something together for people in the community — makeup artists, hairstylists — who want to be able to buy supplies.

“My goal is that people will eventually be able to do this as a full time career in this area.”


Get the Look

  • Jodie Arrington Franklin will be at the Bentonville Film Festival Inclusion Town through May 6 doing live demos for L’oreal. Stop by for a consultation.
  • Contact Franklin at 409-6017 or to schedule an appointment.


The Free Weekly

Categories: Features, Maker Space