What happens when make-up meets fine art? Latvian designer Asnate Bockis and fellow Dutch designer Rogier Arents, who both graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, presented their answer to the Rijksmuseum earlier this year. Out of 820 submissions sent to compete for the Rijkstudio Award, only 10 finalists were selected – and this team not only was shortlisted but, as announced on the beginning of this month, they are this year’s winners as well.
With the makeup line “Rijks Muse”, they caught the attention of the tough squad of international juries, consisting of designers, artists and museum directors. “It is a great idea, strong concept, good presentation and a very appropriate name”, said Taco Dibbits, president jury and director of Collections at the Rijksmuseum. The designers themselves, however, were slightly surprised with the outcome of the project: “Never thought it could happen”, they said, “we came up with the idea while cycling back from work.”
What could have been just another enthusiastic idea that would never turn into reality was actually given life quite quickly. “In January 2014 we visited the Rijksmuseum and we were inspired by the renovation of the building”, they said. Browsing through the Rijkstudio (a web page in which the museum enable users to download high-resolution pictures as well as submit a customised piece of work by using pictures of their collection) they were inspired by the palette of colors of the items of the permanent collection.
That is when, by looking at portraits of stunning women of the past centuries, the connection between fine art and makeup was born.
“The products for makeup are very similar to those for a painter: a brush, pigments, paints, etc. The difference is only in a way it is applied”, as Bockis pointed out. They chose 5 inspiring women from the museum collection, their “Rijks muses”, to base the colour for their makeup line on. For foundation, they used swatches of an sculpture by Artus Quellis; for eyeliners, a drawing by Leendert van der Cooghen; for eyeshadow pallets, Johannes Vermeer, Adam Kruseman and Jean-Ettienne Liotard paintings were selected.
The packaging of each product had an artistic concept attributed to it as well: to look like a painter’s kit, the foundation comes in tubes, placed in a cardboard box. The pencils are kept in a tin box to resemble a brush box and the eyeshadows are also based in a tin with one lid brush for application. The line follows basic concepts of art and beauty: sculpting, by using a liquid foundation; drawing, by using eyeliners; and painting, by enhancing the eyes with the eyeshadow pallets.
“We like the idea that the woman becomes the artist, and the make-up is her form of expression”, they added. The museum is now looking into the idea of fabricating, together with a cosmetics partner, the kits to be sold at the museum shop. The 10 projects of the finalists will be exhibited at the Rijksmuseum from April 17th to July 22nd.