SELF TAUGHT DIVA | Steven D. Hill, top, combines his flair for drama, color and makeup in his self-portrait; right, two of his fashion shots are more monochromatic but undeniably sexy and eye-catching.
Photographer and makeup artist Steven D. Hill knows how to bring the drama
STEVEN LINDSEY | Contributing Writer
When Steven D. Hill decided to showcase his two talents — photography and dynamic makeup artistry — in a local exhibit, he was turned down by every gallery he approached. Rather than accept defeat, he pooled his resources and produced one all on his own.
It’s not his first time making himself over. In college, Hill took courses in fashion design and makeup for the stage, but it wasn’t until after graduation that he discovered his talent for photography. Other than skimming through a photography how-to book, he’s completely self-taught. Hill has already made a name for himself in the local fashion community through his work on both sides of the camera.
It isn’t all just an ego trip Hill. At 26, he is ready for his art to help give back. On Aug. 18, his Heads with HeARTS exhibit debuts, benefiting Vogel Alcove, an organization dedicated to helping homeless children. (Admission is free, but patrons are asked to bring an in-kind donation such as toys, arts supplies and clothing for children aged six weeks to 5 years.)
Hill takes the principles he learned from design communication and color theory and translates that to what he sees through his camera lens. His specialty is shockingly fashion-forward imagery with splashes of supersaturated color contrasted to moody monochromes.
“I believe the interactive media side of my studies taught me how to better understand composition and how to communicate through design,” he says. “It’s my art. I really enjoy creating art and capturing it through the lens of a camera, using the unique forms of light to create an amazing photograph. Just like a painter, it takes tools to produce a great image.”
Hill says that his photography is his way of expressing his artistic creativity through the power of a digital process. He describes his photographic style as the foundation of fashion, pop culture and media combined — a twist on fashion and photography.
His interest in makeup, however, came years before he ever thought about looking through a lens.
“I watched my mother in the bathroom as she prepared for her day,” he says. “I have always felt the power behind what she was doing.”
That inspiration led him to the path he’s on today.
“I admire the fact how you are able to recreate the appearance of someone. How the smallest amount of color can make the pupil appear different; how lining the eye makes it pop.
“Adding false lashes changes a person 50 percent,” Hill says. “It just shocks me how people feel once I do my job as a makeup artist. It’s lovely to hear people say, ‘You just made my day, only because you made me feel beautiful.’”
“Transformation!” Hill declares. “While the traditional use of makeup is to enhance beauty, it can be used to create illusion. I do not confine its use to the standards necessary for a typical photo shoot.”
It’s clear he has a flair for the unusual. His style ranges from showcasing models who look like they’re wearing no makeup at all to avant garde uses of color and texture to create an otherworldly, super-glam aesthetic.
A rising star, he continues to evolve and learn new aspects of both his complementary crafts, while continuing to showcase them in tandem. There’s still room for him to grow and though doors have been shut in the past for the young artist, his perseverance will surely find them opening faster than ever. This year, he had the pleasure of working with Grammy -winning recording artist Erykah Badu, but that’s just the beginning of the climb for this artist whose aspirations have him dreaming really big. His ultimate goal, he says, is “to become internationally known, make a name for myself.”
The second part is already falling into place, so he’s definitely off to a great start.
Carved in stone
If anyone can appreciate rock-hard abs, it’s a gay man. And Scott Gentry knows how to create them in several ways: For himself, through rigorous sit-ups; and for his subjects, a hammer and chisel. And both require a lot of work.
Gentry used to call Dallas home, but he’s been in North Carolina in recent years, working on a degree in nursing while still pursuing his stone sculpture art.
Gentry gets a homecoming or sorts on Saturday, when he returns to Dallas for a showing of some of his latest work (which includes phenomenal male nudes that approximate discoveries in the ruins of Mycenae) with a one-night-only event at The Brick. Best of all, a portion of the proceeds from sales that night will benefit Resource Center Dallas. Just think: You go to a bar and can take home a hunk. And you don’t even have to buy him a drink.
— Arnold Wayne Jones
Scott Gentry: Expressions in Stone, The Brick,
2525 Wycliff Ave., suite 120.
Aug. 13, 7–11 p.m.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2011.