​  Takashi Ashizawa’s love for fashion and art are rooted in his youth in Tokyo, Japan:  “In the 80’s

and 90’s, fashion in Tokyo was crazy.  I wanted to be a part of it.  Fashion had such a strong influence on culture.”  During this period, makeup artist and hair stylist “Tashi”, as he is affectionately called, became entranced with the power of makeup to recast personality and character. 

   Whereas in the U.S. makeup artistry and hair styling are separate professions, Tashi explained that in Japan, makeup artists also do hair.  Since working at last September’s Fashion Week, he has teamed up with New York-based artists and designers, and fortunately, Fab Ego Magazine.  Moving to NYC is an opportunity for this former owner of a hair salon to channel his talent and experience.
“After the earthquake in Japan and the power plant problems, which were worse than Storm Sandy, we couldn’t decide anything under our government.  I wanted to focus on editorial jobs, and here you can be an international person.  Life can end anytime, but you can do the best now, and live without regret.”

   What do you like most about your job?
The most pleasurable thing is using color. And I love to do editorial work because you’re always collaborating with fashion creators: stylists, designers, photographers, manicurists. I also love the ability to extract someone’s personality and giving it back to them. I enjoy searching for people’s personalities.
   What do you like to do more, makeup or hair?
Both. I started with makeup. I went to beauty school and took my license at Shiseido Beauty School. Then I learned hairdressing in London at Vidal Sassoon. 
   What are the differences between hair and makeup in Tokyo and NYC?
In Japan, they are very technical, but technique is also so high standard. If you get those kinds of skills, you can work anywhere. But the way they use color is more boring. The Asian market is more for natural makeup.  Overseas, they play with color. American makeup looks sexy but sometimes it’s too much, too dark.  Everybody looks the same. You loose subtlety and personality.
   But I’ve heard people in NYC say everybody looks the same in Japan.
People all have the same black hair, but have different textures. Most people love to go to the salon to have change. Salon has big power because they can make straight hair, digital waves…
   What strongly influences your work?
Maybe my strongest influence is classical ballet. I used to take classes with my sister. If you have a play, you do makeup and form different characters. That’s why classical music is my favorite. That’s why I thought makeup had power. Also, I practiced calligraphy and was used to using brushes. 
   Which makeup artists do you admire?
Pat McGrath…Dick Page is probably my biggest influence though. His work uses lots of colors, but it doesn’t look too much. He adds some color, but at the same time deducts some. It’s beautiful work. 
   Do men in Japan wear makeup?
Some men in Japan do. They use B.B. creams. I think men in Japan groom themselves more. They like beautifully shaped beards. There are a lot of conscious people in Japan. Sometimes, guys are more obsessed than girls.

by Alicia Ng

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