Featured Artist: JP Huckins

by Maria Isabel Hernandez

JP Huckins is a junior communications major pursuing film makeup and prop production. His eccentric personality and creativity have led him to using his talents in cosmetology both on and off set.

MIH: What are your passions?

JPH: Everything that involves the art department in film from basic costume design to set dec, but mostly makeup. Cosmetology in general has been around since the beginning of time. There has always been a natural attraction to color and beauty; I believe makeup is exactly that and that is what I find so interesting.

MIH: When did you first realize this was what you wanted to do?

JPH: Probably the first quarter of freshman year after I acted in a film called, Mother. I got to set and I was told I needed to have my makeup done. I sat through forty-five minutes of special effects makeup with Beth Drozda, fell in love with the process, and now I have been doing it ever since.

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MIH: Tell me a little bit more about what you’ve done while here at JPCatholic.

JPH: I have done a lot of stage makeup for films from covering up small heat spots or blemishes to sculpting and prosthetics. Soon, I am going to be head art director for a senior project. Other than that, I’ve focused mainly on trying to hone my craft and get better at it.

MIH: How do you feel you have changed during your time here?

JPH:  I personally feel that I have changed a lot since I got here because when I got here I was a recovering drug addict and I had some issues with the faith. I had just come back to the faith a couple months prior. I was an non-practicing Catholic for a few years. I was 19 when I left the faith and I was 22 when I came back which obviously an amazing thing that I came back at all so I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be there. Within three months of coming back to the faith, I had been accepted to JPCatholic.

MIH: Coming from the place you came from, why would you say you chose JPCatholic?

JPH: Everything about this school was a dream come true. I’ve always loved film I’ve always wanted to go to a film school and since I was about 10 I have always wanted to live in San Diego. Just being in southern California is a complete miracle, and I can truly say wouldn’t be here without God. I believe coming back to the faith  and JPCatholic is what has provided me with this opportunity and helped me with that because the strict rules they do put down a lot of time keep you in check and help you grow. Just the environment of being here has helped me grow as a person. I was able to see other people for who they were and it just gave me a wonderful new outlook on life. It showed me how I treat others versus how I need to be treating others and it really was a good decision for sure.  

MIH: So in your opinion, what does it mean to be a Catholic artist?

JPH:  I believe that in being an artist it means to follow the faith devoutly but also to live according to the way Christ would and I don’t think that necessarily means to be preaching on a mountain top but also to be kind to the person on the street or not judge someone. This can include a lot of things, to me that can also mean say hi to the gay couple or be nice to the emo kid, it just means showing them the love that society doesn’t. God said to love everyone and be good to those who hate you. Never once does he say to judge anyone who sins differently than you. Bring them closer and let them know that no matter who they are, they matter to God.

In my art that is what I 100% believe, that love is out there and love can be tough, love can be scary and sometimes gruesome to look at but when it comes down to it, life is and it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. Life isn’t always good and life isn’t always bad,  life just is. It comes down to what you decide to make of it. I get it, sometimes the depression and the anxiety can totally be overwhelming. When I feel anxious or I feel alone I go back to counting my blessings, to me it means showing Christ through your actions. Christ doesn’t care who you are, and as Christian artists we shouldn’t either.

MIH: How would you say you incorporate your faith into your work?

JPH: I believe in life there is both good and the lack of good, known as evil. I like to show people that life isn’t all just rainbows and butterflies and that there is evil in the world and you do have to look out for it. I like to incorporate that truth into my work by showing scary images on the screen. I believe that in showing evil for what it is and not glorifying it, I am showing the message of Christ to those around me.

MIH: Who inspires you?

JPH: My main inspirations are actually music artists. Music is the key to all my creativity. Obviously filmmakers too; Wes Anderson and the Coen brothers are amazing at what they do–Peter Jackson as well. Those are some of the people who have inspired me to want to join the industry.

MIH: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

JPH: That is something I am still figuring out. Ideally, my plan is to hopefully get my master’s degree, then become a professor. I would love the opportunity to teach makeup and props here at JPCatholic for a few years and hopefully do some freelance work as well. In the meantime, I hope to get my beautician certificate in the near future.

MIH: What advice would give someone looking to pursue a career in this specific area of the industry?

JPH: My advice would be to ignore what society has to say about gender roles. Especially if you are a male working in the makeup industry. It’s completely societal. No one has anything to say about a man wanting to become a painter, but once someone changes their canvas to a human face – everyone all of a sudden has something to say. Don’t listen to any of it because you are taking the best canvas ever and enhancing what God has given you.   

*Photos Courtesy of JP Huckins