By Jennifer Maerz
You can shed identities in San Francisco as often as you can afford new costumes, and no one will bat a false eyelash your way. But one local makeup artist, Hannah Concannon, has turned the concept of changing her look around into a visual marathon. For more than a year now, she's been fashioning herself into a completely different character every day and then photographing the results, posting them to friends and fans as part of her Instagram project, The Dress Up Box.
Growing up, Hannah says her mom was always telling her, "Don't be a slave to makeup. Nobody needs makeup." As if to prove her mother wrong, Hannah went to the London College of Fashion, where all she did was play with thousands of shadows, liners, and lashes, until, she says, she looked like a "'60s tropical Divine." Now she's using The Dress Up Box as a way to push her skills as a makeup artist from Divine to Gaga and beyond.
"If I’m ever in need of inspiration, all I have to do is leave the house," Hannah says of San Francisco. "It’s the accepting, almost aggressive 'let your freak flag fly' attitude that made this project possible." She adds that being part of the communal arts space The Convent is another big inspiration. "Living with 24 artists produces a kind of creative snowball effect. This house, this community, makes it impossible not to take your art to the next level, or in my case, figure out what your art is."
I asked Hannah how much longer The Dress Up Box will continue, and she says, "My dad used to say that if you practice something for an hour a day for five years you’ll be within the top 3% of all people who do that thing. So five years? At the moment I’m planning on keeping it up until I get hired by Haus of Gaga or my face falls off – whichever comes first."
As you can imagine, Hannah is very much in demand around October 31 – this past Halloween she worked back-to-back appointments for 14 hours dressed up as Skrillex.
If you like Hannah's work, you can follow her on Instagram, or, even better, shoot her an email to hire her for your next makeup job at firstname.lastname@example.org.