Audfaced is an alter ego, a brand, a YouTube channel, an unapologetic aesthetic, painted with orange, lime green, and purple. For almost a decade, Cat Tanchanco (aka Aud) has been guiding her followers to paint their alter-egos (whether they are cartoon characters or eerie, horror monsters) and tell their stories using special effects makeup techniques. Few know that Cat belongs to a group of pioneer make-up artist who blazed a trail for today’s tutorial genre within the YouTube community, without prior knowledge, with nothing but plain creativity and passion.
Her art isn’t just about tutorials. It’s about story-telling, poetry, film-making, and so much more. She is back again with a bunch of novelties, and people can expect a great amount of amazing content. In this brief and very personal interview, Cat shares her experience in order to help those who are about to start their journey to discover their worth (artistic and monetary), build their brand, and remain true to their art.
The story behind Audfaced
I wanted something odd and original, so what I would do a lot as a kid was make a list of words I liked and then combine them in different ways, mixing and matching until I found a sound I liked. I had words like “odd”, “evil”, and “villain” on my list and originally came up with the brand name “Audivila,” which was actually my original YouTube channel where I posted the short films I made, voice-over dubs for my favorite cartoons, photo-shop tutorials, and random visual art projects. When I started doing makeup tutorials it felt crowded to have them all in one place. So I took the “AUD” (odd) part of “Audivila” and slapped the word “face” after it because I knew I wanted to focus on the face when it came to makeup and not so much on body painting and such. I felt like I really did have an “odd face” (in the best way possible) and knew I wanted to create makeup looks that celebrated the stranger side. It felt like I wasn’t pretending to be a YouTuber anymore or a “makeup guru” and just “was.”
About the daily challenges
As much as I wish I could say artists can create consistently, constantly, and happily in perfect physical, mental, and emotional health – it’s just not realistic. A lot of good art can come from the dark times in your life, but I believe it’s a mistake to stay there on purpose or sabotage yourself because “your art will be boring if you’re happy” (cough cough been there oops). I live by many quotes, but one of my favorite quotes comes from Ray Carney, “To be an artist is, above everything else, to be a truth teller, one of the few left in a culture seized by media-induced fictions and journalistic clichés. You speak secrets no one else dares to whisper. You exist to share your most private feelings and personal observations with others. They are where the truth lies.” Reflecting on this quote, it seems that being an artist for me is a constant dance of feeling on top of the world, loving yourself and loving your work, happy to interact with others — and sometimes it’s being curled in a ball wondering why you ever thought your stuff was good, uninspired, anti-social and frankly quite sad. I make sure to define when I’m working and when I’m relaxing, otherwise I’m in a constant state of stress where I feel like my worth is only tied to my productivity. It’s important to be productive and grow – but it’s just as important to balance it with rest, quality socializing, and solo self-care time.
The role of education in success
A lot of people think I went to makeup school, but I did not. The only formal training I’ve had as a makeup artist was a Stage Makeup class in the theater department at a community college back home and perhaps the artistry and skincare training they give us at Sephora, as I have been working there the past 2 years. In terms of college, I got my degree in Film & Video at CalArts in Santa Clarita, California. Ironically, I spent most of my time as a film student doing makeup for my peers’ film shoots. That’s where I got a lot of my early “on set” makeup artist experience, where I learned how film shoots run from a filmmaker’s and makeup artist’s standpoint. For me, I know that a large part of the value of my education – even though I was there for a film degree – was that on-set makeup experience and the connections I made with my peers there. As for the Stage Makeup course that I took with Barbara Bandy at Solano Community College — it was only one semester, but it really gave me the creative space I needed at that time in my life to realize this was what I wanted to do. I learned over time that makeup and film were pretty much going to be holding hands for the duration of my career.
About monetary value and ways to introduce your passion to the public
My advice is to just start. It gets overwhelming to think you have to know X amount of things, have the best technology and equipment, the education, the living situation, the money, the setup, the ideas to get started. After disappearing off the face of YouTube for like 6 years, I can tell you this: the best time to start is the time when you decide to start. No moment will ever be perfect, if you’re “waiting.” The fact that you’re thinking about the right time to start doing it, and that you are waiting, already says your mind and body want to do it but have been shut down by some kind of fear you are harboring. Just know that nothing you create will be perfect to the T – and why should it be? The best way to learn is to do, which means you need to take that project that is already in your head and has been running around in there forever – whether you feel you are capable or have the tools to do it or not – and turn it into reality. I promise you, once you just jump in and get your hands dirty – it may cost a little money, some embarrassment, lost connections and then some BUT – you will have gained something golden that can’t be bought: experience. My second point is – be careful not to spend too much time obsessing over another artist whose work who is similar to yours.
About the future
I can say that a lot of makeup tutorials are coming to my channel – things my supporters have been asking for and a lot of original looks I have come up with myself (as opposed to re-creating existing characters from movies, videogames, and shows). I am bringing back my work as a portrait photographer and horror filmmaker after taking time away from it and taking a moment to learn what my statement was as an artist, and building back my creative confidence through a long hiatus, a crash course in self-love and some time spent reflecting. In exploring my emotions, letting myself feel and learning to transform hardships and trauma into art, I created a Five Stages of Grief Makeup Series that I am now working on making into a book complete with images and poetry by me. I want it to be a visual meditation type of book — something that you could skim through and immediately find meaning in.