Seven original journals from legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin are now preserved through an extensive digital archive created and maintained by the Makeup Museum. Makeup Museum unveils images from a new digital archive of journals kept from 1983 to 1994 by legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin. Aucoin (born in 1962 in Shreveport, Louisiana) moved to New York City in the early 1980s where he was soon hired as a lead makeup artist by VOGUE magazine. Before his untimely death in 2002 at age 40, Aucoin had worked with countless models, celebrities, and pop culture figures, and published world-renowned books about makeup artistry including The Art of Makeup, Makeup Faces, and Face Forward.
“While the Makeup Museum cannot yet open its doors in New York City, our efforts to preserve makeup historical artifacts and share makeup history gems with the public is core to our mission to educate, inspire and celebrate all things beauty,” said Doreen Bloch, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Makeup Museum. “Kevyn Aucoin has continued to inspire generations of makeup artists, and it has been an honor to lead the effort to preserve his personal journals.”
“Kevyn’s imprint on our industry is still very much alive today,” said Rachel Goodwin, Makeup Artist, and Makeup Museum
Co-Founder. “He opened the door for new generations of makeup artists to walk through, and legitimized our craft in a way no one had done before.”
Throughout his life, Aucoin maintained scrapbook-like journals to document his meetings, contacts, career highlights, and personal milestones. Seven journals, one each from 1983, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1994, and two from 1993, had been lovingly stored by his family. Because of the challenges with the conservation of paper-based documents, the Makeup Museum worked with the family to create a digital archive of the journals to ensure the preservation of this important set of historical artifacts.
“The journals are so special because they show what was important to him. He loved what he did and he loved the friends he made along the way. It feels to me that he documented everything because he was so in awe of the life he was living, and he might need to glance back for a pinch-me moment when he doubted if it was all real,” said Samantha Adkisson, niece of Kevyn Aucoin. “We are so grateful to the Makeup Museum for digitizing these journals. The process of preserving them alone is very difficult, so the Makeup Museum was a blessing in this endeavor.”
Full-page images from the journals have never been published before, and the polaroid images therein represent one-of-a-kind images from photoshoots with the world’s most iconic photographers like Avedon, Penn, Meisel, and more.
“So much has changed in the beauty business since Kevyn’s era,” explains Goodwin. “His journals allow us to take in what has changed and what has stayed the same in a very personal way. The kind of tenacity and passion it takes to build and sustain a career of his level is nothing short of extraordinary. Nothing about Kevyn’s journey was passive or unintentional, his journals grant us a map from which to trace the heart and mind of a creative genius.”
The journals also served as space to safe keep mementos from Aucoin’s meaningful life moments, like his backstage pass to the 66th Annual Academy Awards show in 1994, his Madison Square Garden ticket for Barbra Streisand’s The Concert, a newspaper clipping of an article about his parents founding the PFLAG chapter in his hometown, animal rights stickers, birthday cards, and family photographs.
“Kevyn’s journals reveal that none of the extraordinary experiences in his life were taken for granted,” said Troy Surratt, Protégé of Kevyn Aucoin and Advisor to the Makeup Museum. “The journals are beautifully detailed documentation of days filled with a lot of gratitude, and I’ve always believed that Kevyn was fully aware of the importance and magnitude of the work that he was doing. He was thrilled and proud of all that he had accomplished.”
The Makeup Museum will showcase exclusive images from the new Kevyn Aucoin digital journal archive on Instagram (@MakeupMuseumOfficial) and in the newly launched Makeup Museum mobile app on Apple iOS ($2.99). Users of the Makeup Museum mobile app have exclusive first-look access to digital content, including special artifacts available through Augmented Reality such as the rare Salvador Dali “Bird-in-Hand” vintage compact, and skincare prescriptions from Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy. The Makeup Museum will continue to unveil special artifacts with in-depth educational insights each month on the mobile app as part of the Makeup Museum’s ongoing digital initiatives.