The Magician

Digitally beautiful

With her digital Make-up 3D-Artist Ines Alpha redesigns humankind to be more magical. She collaborates with brands like Dior and pop-icons such as Charli XCX. Her creations have been featured in Vogue, Wired and iD Magazine. We talked about whether virtual pets, 3D-contact lenses and expeditions to mars will turn our life into a Black-Mirror-Episode.

"I am crazy for nudibranchs."

Pia Semorad: How do you make people prettier with your digital Make-Up?

Ines Alpha: I don't want to adjust anyone to the body standard, but I want people to feel more confident and magical when they are wearing my filters. For me, the key to beauty is confidence, because confidence is the first step to share your beauty with the world. At the moment my filters are just visible on social media, but in the future you might be able to experience them in a bigger digital realm.

Are you bored by reality?

It frustrates me to see everyone in Paris exclusively wearing grey, black or navy colors. Why do people not wear colors? Colors make you feel good, colors feel like spring! If we integrated 3D-Objects into our lives, reality would feel like pure magic! When I started creating digital Make-Up, the daily use seemed so far away, now my creations can be used on Instagram or Snapchat with Augmented-Reality-Facetracking software. In about five years it might be possible to see my filters through AR-Contact lenses and we might even be able to have AR-pets!

Which AR-Pet would you get?

I am crazy for nudibranchs! They are beautiful sea creatures, who you sadly can't keep in a tank, but an AR-nudibranch would be really cool. Maybe someday it might even be possible to touch a digital animal. They are already working on frequencies that can make you sense touch. 

"Too much freedom scares me."

Do we still have to save the environment if we can animate it?

Of course, I would rather have physical, happy animals! I don't want to see our lives becoming a dystopian Black-Mirror-Episode, although I think a digital pet could be very fun.

How is your work process on a filter?

I like to work after clear guidelines, having too much freedom scares me. I am probably used to work with restraints because I used to work as a graphic designer. Collaborations motivate me, for one of my clients I created 3D-makeup inspired by yeast, pollen and bacteria. Without their input, I probably would have never thought about making a filter covering these organisms.

How did you start out doing 3D-Makeup?

I used to work as an Art Director in advertising, but I never felt like I had what it takes to be an artist. I had no style and no aesthetic! Then one day I had tried to add 3D-objects on to faces and I started working with these new possibilities. I also always animate my looks, so they are impossible to be created in the physical world due to gravity.

"Megalomania drives me mad."

What is your favorite texture?

I like to work with textures that are hard to be created with actual Make-up, for example transparency and floss. My favorite texture is the Opal, which is a bit transparent, a bit milky and contains tiny, glittery flakes that reflect the sunlight. Funnily enough, it is extremely hard to translate it into the digital realm. It is my goal to be able to perfect it one day!

What frustrates you about technology?

It frustrates me that for some reason we have to keep improving it. At the moment, technological process will not necessarily make us any happier. It seems as if we have to prove to ourselves how intelligent humankind is. Why would we want to travel to Mars, if we could use the money for saving our own planet? If you count in that Mars does not have the properties for us to be living on this planet, why would we send people there? This megalomania drives me mad.

"Pure magic."

Do you wear digital clothes?

At the moment there is big movement, but I am not a part of it, because digital clothing is not as easy wearable as 3D-makeup. The technology is not advanced enough yet to adjust to body shapes and sizes – however, Snapchat has released a body tracking software with which you can wear digital clothes, but it looks a bit off.

How do you envision the future?

New technologies will push my work into new territories, it might even be possible to experience my 3D-Filters with contact lenses and  wear them out on the street! I hope society chooses to not get even more toxic and fixated on beauty standards by wearing beautifying filter, but chooses to wear creative filter like an accessory, which makes us all look more diverse!

Thank you for the Interview!
INES ALPHA is a 3D-artist  living in PARIS. She made her first experiences with 3D working as an Art Director in advertising. She creates Make-up-Filter with the help of 3D-software and Augmented Reality, that can be used on  SNAPCHAT and INSTAGRAM. Alpha collaborated with brands such as BURBERRYH&MNIKE und DIOR, as well as with pop singer CHARLI XCX. Her creations were published in VOGUEWIRED and iD Magazine.