The mo­tion pic­ture in­dus­try would not be the same if makeup didn’t ex­ist. It’s an art that puts the view­ers a step closer to the char­ac­ter; it adds flavour to the story, and sets the mood for us. From the hor­ri­fy­ing look of Lord Volde­mort in the Harry Pot­ter fran­chise, to the iconic Malef­i­cent look that was played by An­gelina Jolie, to the beau­ti­ful Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe with her sig­na­ture blonde hair and red lip­stick, makeup has changed the way we see and feel movies. It is, with­out a doubt, one of the most sig­nif­i­cant part of a film pro­duc­tion, and in Oman we got our very own artist Issa Al Namani who dived deep into this cre­ative field and be­came Oman’s most sought-af­ter cin­e­matic makeup artist.

Issa is a Mus­cat-born makeup artist who mas­tered the craft of cin­e­matic makeup artistry in all its glory, from beauty and glamour, to char­ac­ters, special ef­fects and hor­ror. He is also an art di­rec­tor and a graphic artist. What a com­plete pack­age!

The 24-year-old had a unique vi­sion that needed to be seen, but he couldn’t find ways to ex­press it grow­ing up. His life was fan­tas­tic but that sparkle was miss­ing that was boil­ing deep in­side his mind in hopes to see the light of day.

Issa fin­ished high school and at­tended an engi­neer­ing school to pur­sue for a de­gree in me­chan­i­cal engi­neer­ing.

In col­lege, he was in­spired by the artsy stu­dents of the cam­pus who roamed around with their can­vases and art­works. One day as he watched a bunch of theatre kids per­form fi­nally he de­cided to give art a try.

At the age of 20, Issa be­gan his jour­ney of artistry by en­rolling in an art class where he learnt how to use a brush and ex­press a va­ri­ety of things on a plain can­vas. To him his draw­ings were a mess, but the at­mos­phere at that class made him feel com­fort­able and at home. In the days ahead he watched sev­eral YouTube videos to learn and master a tech­nique, and also joined his fel­low class­mates to draw on lo­ca­tion. Later he went on to work with lo­cal and re­gional artists for his col­lege as­sign­ments, which helped him to move a step closer to his goal of be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional painter. Draw­ing felt quite nat­u­ral for the young man, but so­ci­ety wasn’t hav­ing it. His friends and those around him

be­gan to make a joke out of his pas­sion, es­pe­cially be­cause he was an en­gi­neer. But Issa was de­ter­mined to con­tinue his jour­ney and serve his com­mu­nity with art. Issa re­alised that his art lacked his sig­na­ture. He wanted peo­ple to view his work and his ob­ses­sion to stand out from the rest was so im­mense that he had to search for some­thing big­ger and more unique.

One day dur­ing his hunt for craft, he stum­bled upon a video that ap­peared to be of some­one with a messed up limb. He got cu­ri­ous so he clicked on that link to see what it was all about. Af­ter a cou­ple of min­utes he re­alised that it was all fake. The blood, the skin, and ev­ery­thing else that seemed so gory was done with makeup. That was the de­cid­ing mo­ment for Issa. He chose the art of hor­ror.

While re­search­ing on this Issa found out that the makeup which con­sists of special ef­fects such as gory and bloody il­lu­sions is called cin­e­matic makeup. It is char­ac­ter makeup that in­volves spe­cific looks for tar­geted per­son­al­i­ties and moods, and beauty makeup that hides im­per­fec­tions. He didn’t even pon­der over it and went ahead to learn all the three to be fully ac­quainted with the art of makeup.

He soon es­tab­lished him­self as a pro­fes­sional cin­e­matic makeup artist, some­thing which was lack­ing in Oman. Issa ap­proached sev­eral lo­cal film­mak­ers for a chance to be part of their projects, and as you would guess, they were elated to have found a tal­ented makeup artist. So they be­gan de­vel­op­ing scripts and sce­nar­ios with char­ac­ters with cin­e­matic makeup in mind. And that’s how he broke into the Omani pro­duc­tion in­dus­try.

“What re­ally in­spires you, Issa?” I asked. “Videos that show you do real

surg­eries,” he replied. I thought for a sec­ond that he was jok­ing but he kept a straight face. Yes, for his special ef­fect makeup, Issa in­dulges in videos that give in­sight into the hu­man body, lit­er­ally. He even cre­ated a pros­thetic limb for doc­tors to demon­strate to their stu­dents, which can be torn and stitched. Sounds in­ter­est­ing, and eerie too, isn’t it?

Apart from gory videos, Issa gets his in­spi­ra­tion from hor­ror films, as well as mu­sic. He en­joys lis­ten­ing to jazz records when he is draw­ing, and likes to pump up the vol­ume and jam to pop mu­sic when he is work­ing on the cool stuff of cin­ema.

Sim­i­lar to any other craft, it comes with a bunch of chal­lenges. In Oman, he faced the dilemma of hav­ing no schools to teach this kind of art, and so­ci­ety is yet to fully ac­cept it and sup­port the art, but that is not keeping Issa from de­vel­op­ing him­self through the world wide web.

In just four years he reached a level of suc­cess and con­fi­dence where he could teach on cin­e­matic makeup. He al­ready held nine work­shops and hopes to do more in the fu­ture. Un­der his belt you’ll find a num­ber of projects in­clud­ing Oman Tahki for Oman TV where he worked for 19 hours for 10 days, a com­pe­ti­tion in Saudi Ara­bia where he won first place. An­other com­pe­ti­tion in Oman was where he was crowned win­ner, and a third con­test in Dubai in which he came in third.

He also worked with Akkasa and Fo­cus pro­duc­tion house, and other projects be­tween here and Dubai. He re­cently launched his own me­dia pro­duc­tion com­pany called ‘Pix­els’ where he does makeup, pro­duc­tion, graph­ics, 3D, and a va­ri­ety of me­dia-re­lated ser­vices.

The fu­ture looks promis­ing for this young man. His ul­ti­mate goal is to open an academy for cin­e­matic art and makeup where he can pass his knowl­edge and pas­sion to other as­pir­ing artists around the coun­try.

With time and pa­tience, Issa is sure to be one of the best special ef­fects makeup artists in the re­gion. -salim@time­sof­man.com *Fol­low him on In­sta­gram and check out his lat­est cre­ations @is­sawy93

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