marley blair make up

Interview with Edmonton’s Marley Blair

by Monika Blichar

Make up and Body Painting has fascinated me for years. When Marley Blair sent in her submission, I was beyond excited! Her work is creative, fun loving and beautiful and her experience is extensive in the industry. I caught up with her today to learn more about her work and her entry into this year’s Art World Expo Body Painting Competition!

jess - Marley Blair.jpg

When did you start body painting?

In junior high, I started face painting for extra cash in the summer at small-town festivals and farmers markets. I was always the person doing makeup for my friends and family members before we went out. Makeup has always been a form of creative expression for me and I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t fascinated by it. I really got into body painting when I was about 14 when I started going to raves and music festivals.The smaller parties we attended always had themes, you did not show up in just jeans and a t-shirt. Getting ready was a production. My friends and I always made costumes and had the makeup to match. My looks were a great ice breaker, I made many friends over the years because people asked me “Who did your makeup?”. The summer of 2001 I met my dear friend Chantal, she was a traveling vendor, she invited me to come work for her the following summer. Her offer was to pay for my festival tickets and would feed me as payment. The summer I spent with her is really where I got my start… I painted out of the booth for tips and trades. I remember the first day I painted Chantal hoping it might generate some interest and by the end of the afternoon I had a line up out the door. I left home that summer with just a back full of paint and a couple bucks. I went home that fall with a backpack full of cash, a whole new wardrobe and a full-fledged passion for body painting.

gb unit - Marley Blair.jpg

 2-You’ve worked at a lot of festivals and even attended Burning Man. How have these festival experiences influenced your body painting and makeup business?

Going to parties gave me a platform to body paint and it was, at the time, an environment that allowed for self-expression with no judgment. Attending music festivals really opened eyes to how makeup can empower people. It can let their alter egos out. It allows people to push boundaries and embrace what truly makes them individual. Makeup is self-expression and makeup is art, it’s not something that has to be specific or have rules. That time in my life seems like forever ago but I still keep the same ideas close to my heart. I think about these things even when I’m doing makeup for a Bride or a Mom or a Drag Queen… what makes this person in front of me unique, what do they want and need to put forth?  Makeup is not “one size fits all”.

3-What is your favorite part of being a makeup artist?

The ability to transform. Makeup is powerful, you can affect how people see themselves. If I can change someone’s mood or outlook on themselves for the positive that is pretty incredible.

47944_124985270885617_7746656_n - Marley Blair.jpg

4-Can you give us a few hints about your body paint entry for this year’s Art World Expo Edmonton?

I am the world’s biggest procrastinator and my ideas tend to change and morph often. I can promise it will be colorful.

mira2 - Marley Blair.jpg

5-Where would you like to see your makeup and body painting business in the next 5 years?

Body painting is something that I truly want to put my energy back into, it has taken a back burner to beauty makeup in my career over the years. I would love to work on more creative projects and collaborate with more people in the industry. I really want to focus more on my freelancing and teaching. Doing that full time would be my dream.

6-Just for fun: What kind of animal would you be if you could be any kind and why?

Is a mermaid an animal? You might say I’m a bit obsessed with mermaids. When I say my power color is teal it’s not an understatement. Breathing underwater, talking to fish and getting to wear a jazzy shell bra every day would be amazing!

To learn more about Marley, visit her Facebook Page. Be sure to check out her body painting competition entry at this Friday’s Art World Expo at the Muttart Conservatory. Limited tickets remain!


Monika Blichar is an Entrepreneur and Artist. She is owner of Monika’s Art Boutique-Studio & Gallery in North Vancouver and producer of Art World Expo and Painting Dreams International Art Tours. She is always pushing boundaries as an artist and creative entrepreneur. Her love of the arts has been a part of her life since childhood.