All About The Woman Behind The Major "Eye Art" Craze

tal-embedPhoto: Via Instagram.
By now, you're probably familiar with Tal Peleg, the creative genius behind such eye makeup masterpieces as The Literal Cat-Eye and The Holiday-Ready Reindeer Eye. We've been obsessing over the Israel-based makeup artist's work for a while now, but we had to admit that, beyond her penchant for eerily detailed makeup designs, we didn't know much about the 28-year-old. So, we found out.
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We caught up with Peleg to learn all of the details, from her creative training to where the heck she gets the inspiration for her wacky-genius beauty designs. Click through to check out a collection of some of our favorite Tal Peleg originals and prepare to totally rethink your makeup philosophy.


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Are you a full-time makeup artist?
"I am a full-time freelance makeup artist. I'm also a designer, so I sometimes take design/illustration projects."
Where did you grow up, and how did you start doing makeup professionally?
"I grew up in a small town in Israel and went to school there. In high school, I majored in art and theatre. I started to play with makeup when I was a child. I loved to do makeup and 'photo shoots' as a kid, with my little sister as the model.
"As a teenager, I was really into acting. I went to a lot of acting classes, and my dream at the time was to become an actress. I participated in acting classes, and I did the makeup looks for the other actors in the shows we did. That was one of my first experiences with professional makeup. I do have professional makeup training — I studied makeup artistry in a makeup school in Israel."
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How did you start doing the elaborate designs that you are now becoming famous for?
"I've been painting since I can remember, and my family and friends always encouraged me to do what I love. Makeup, for me, is art, just like painting on a canvas or on a piece of paper. After I finished makeup school, I studied graphic design for four years. After I graduated, I had a hard time choosing between makeup and design. So, in my makeup looks, I try to combine my love and passion for art, design, and makeup. It began when I started to push the limits between makeup and illustrations. I've tried to use makeup as something more than just a tool to make girls look pretty — as a way to express feelings, to tell a story."
How do you develop new designs? Where does your inspiration come from?
"I believe that inspiration is everywhere. Usually, the ideas just pop into my head. I can be inspired by so many things...fairy tales, books, favorite foods, pretty flowers. Or, even things that I find interesting and challenging to turn into makeup, like Anne Frank, my grandmother's dementia, or manic depression. Sometimes, I get the idea out of nowhere in the middle of the day or before I fall asleep. In this case, I write it down and even draw a quick sketch of it so I won't forget. When it's a complicated idea, I draw a more detailed sketch before I paint it on my eye. Sometimes, I just improvise."
"When I have the free time, I choose from my 'idea bank' and start to create the makeup look. It takes time and patience, but I really enjoy every second of it...and it's fulfilling to see people reacting to the final result."
How do you create the elaborate looks? What kind of makeup and supplies do you use?
"I use a magnifying mirror so I can see everything very clearly and can be precise with all the tiny details. I use ordinary high-pigmented eyeshadows, loose pigments, eyeliners, Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams, and so on...most of the times I mix and play with textures (like mixing loose eyeshadow with water or gel, for example). I use makeup brushes for these looks, but I also buy many of my brushes at art supply stores. To make these miniature illustrations, I need the thinnest brushes, which makeup brands usually do not provide."
What has been your favorite makeup look that you've ever done? Why did you love it so much?
"It's hard for me to choose, because I put my heart into every each of them, but I think that my favorite is the one that was inspired by the quote from The Little Prince: "It is such a secret place, the land of tears," because it's a very self-expressive, surreal and personal idea. It was a way for me to deal with some feelings I was struggling with at the time that I created it."
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