Over eight weeks, seven talented makeup artists showcased their skills and creativity on Painted with Raven. The Emmy award-winning makeup artist and guest judges including Chad Michaels and RuPaul himself had their work cut out for them as these talented artists competed to earn the crown and a cash prize of $25,000. In the end, the show’s front runner, the insanely talented Matt Perkins, emerged victorious – creating a damsel in distress, a villain and a hero in the finale fairy tale makeup challenge.
Matt represented their hometown of Leesburg, Virginia and is a graduate of James Madison University with a degree in Integrated 3D Design. In addition to their memorable makeup creations showcased on the series, Matt is also a fierce drag entertainer named Crimsyn. Matt/Crimsyn specializes in creating all aspects of their drag/artistry all the way from the top of their wigs to the bottom of their shoes. They may be nerdy by drawing their inspiration from plants and animals in nature but will never turn down a good/corny pun!
Matt took some time away from their brushes and makeup palettes to discuss their experience on the show and shares their makeup journey with us in our exclusive interview.
Tell us a little bit about your makeup background.
I started in the cosplay world making costumes and I would make helmets for all my characters because I did not know how to do makeup. So, I put my foot down and I was like, I’m done making helmets. We gotta paint this face. (Laughs) So I went to some of my friends and I asked them, “How do I do makeup?” and the first thing they all said was “pluck your eyebrows”. So, it all started there and then I started to purchase some makeup palettes and some grease paint and stuff like that.
The biggest project that I started off with makeup was painting myself into Patrick Star from SpongeBob. I had this whole outfit and costume and everything, and I decided to paint myself pink for the first time. The first time in makeup and I painted myself pink. I don’t know why I did it, but it was an interesting experience going back on those pictures.
The first thing is I purchased was clown pink, clown white and baby powder. And I painted my entire face clown pink and clown white and set it with baby powder…oh my goodness. That was a tragedy. But then from there I started watching all the YouTube videos and stuff like that and learned maybe you should buy an eye shadow palette. That would probably help. (Laughs) And from there on, I just started to pull different makeup techniques and tricks off of YouTube and the internet. I had no formal training, I was just kind of picking up anything that I could buy at the store to put on my face. There were some acrylic paints at one point I promise, but they are not there anymore. (Laughs)
What was your reaction when you found out you were cast on Painted with Raven?
It was not on the schedule. I didn’t put it in the books. I think I was gaming and I got a phone call and I was like, what is going on? I need to pause this World of Warcraft real quick. Who is calling me?
It was really out of the blue. I did not expect it. I got really excited. I was like, oh my gosh, wait, I have something to do now. This is going to be some fun. (Laughs) I was absolutely thrilled. I dropped everything and the first thing I started doing was I started sketching. I was like, this is an opportunity to show off my designs and ideas. And I just sat down with a sketchbook for a couple of nights and just started mapping out ideas and making different plots and everything like that. So, it was really exciting. I was very happy. I’m sorry, that was a very long-winded answer. (Laughs)
What was the experience like working from your home as opposed to like going to a studio and doing a show like Face Off?
Oh my God. I love Face Off. I think I was binge-watching that and Glow Up before we started filming because I was like, I gotta get in the zone. So, filming from home, reflecting back on it, I definitely, liked it on the side of my nerves because I know as soon as I walked in there with like famous people, producers, the lights, the cameras, I would have been shaking in my shoes, you know? But being next to my bed and next to my dog, everything was super comforting. I was able to be level-headed when the challenges came my way and I didn’t freak out. It was definitely a good foot in TV shows. I know now if I’m ever on set, I would feel more confident. I won’t be as like nervous or anything like that. So, I definitely really enjoyed it.
What was your favorite look that you created for the show?
So, I will have to pick two, one for the “wow factor” and one for a personal favorite. I’m sure as you can tell the “wow factor” one is that pimple-popping one. The last-minute gag of me figuring out what I should do with popping the pimple I was like, “Oh, my brain is so creative”. I’m just kidding. (Laughs)
I was really proud of it and it was just so good for TV because it has this craziness and grossness, this gaspyness and all that stuff. However, my personal favorite would definitely have to be the split face challenge where I did half of myself how I am perceived from the outside and half of it how I personally am on the inside, just because it was kind of like a more personal challenge. I got to dissect more of myself and I also really enjoyed the design of that one and how that one showed up on camera. It felt very graphically pleasing and I’m excited to recreate it. It’s really lovely.
That was really amazing. I really liked that one and the Hulk Hogan look.
Oh my God, I forgot about the Hulk Hogan one. I have been walking around my house saying “Hey brother” for the past month, it is so bad!
Is there a look on the show that you would like to revisit and how would you do it differently?
The only one is that stupid paint the art one. The work of art. I think I would have fought harder for some of the other paintings because I was pretty relaxed and I was like, you know, we’ll all get the painting that we would kind of like. I should have been vicious. I should have been like, this is mine or something like that. You know, either that, or they should have given us better painting options because who wants to draw a bowl of fruit? There ain’t nothing there, but some apples and bananas and a potato. What am I going to do with that?
Speaking of being vicious, I know this wasn’t “Raven’s Best Friend Race”, but did you feel like you made some new friends from being on the show?
Oh, absolutely. We have a group chat where we chat about all the episodes and we talk to each other and chat if any of us have any issues or anything. It’s definitely a group chat we dive into to help get, you know, personal support. It’s definitely a tight-knit friend group and I cannot wait to meet everybody in person. I just feel we would get a little bit closer from doing that. We are trying to plan a little get-together sometime. I don’t know exactly when but it’s on the list to do. I have met one of them in person already. I live close to Ryan. She lives in Maryland and I live in Virginia. It’s about a 30 to 45-minute drive from each other. We met at a viewing party for Painted with Raven and she is the best person ever. She is so fun. She is amazing. She is so bubbly. She is really funny. I just hope everybody gets to see how amazing she is.
Did you discover anything surprising about yourself while you were working on the show?
For sure. So, I am someone who is definitely a little distant from their emotions, you know, gotta be the tough guy, but going through the show, it was definitely, a dissection of myself. Every night after filming. I sat there before I went to bed, reflecting on myself and what happened throughout the day. And I was able to really reflect upon myself and kind of grow emotionally. And so there definitely is some sort of emotional journey that I personally went through on the show. I don’t know if it shows necessarily through all the edits, but it definitely happened. And there were of were some conversations that definitely helped me grow as a person. So, I am very happy that happened.
What are you planning to do with the prize money?
Yeah, so I know it’s a little boring. I’m not going to open a Crimsyn theme park or anything. (Laughs) I will be paying off my college loans. I’m currently living at home because I cannot afford my college loans and rent on top of that. It’s just too much for the money that I can make currently. So, I will be using the money to pay off my college loans and move out and take the next step forward in life and, you know, full independence and everything. And hopefully that opens a lot of doors for me to be more independent and start more creative projects. So, I’m really excited about that.
I’ve stalked your Instagram and Crimsyn is a fierce queen. Do you have any aspirations to take her to RuPaul’s Drag Race?
I mean, I don’t know. Am I allowed to say that? (Laughs) I mean, it is definitely a great platform that I would love to be on and I do find myself as not only a makeup artist, but definitely a full-fledged entertainer as well. So, in terms of different platforms to showcase different types of artistry, I definitely think that is a great step to push myself forward to.
I have a quick make-up question. As I started out with Ben Nye and baby powder myself, what now is your go-to, must-have makeup product?
Okay. So, I can do my entire face in a rainbow grease palette and a rainbow eye shadow palette. I can do everything with it. I think also, if I were to make my own line of makeup or collaborate with some brand, it would be a cream or grease palette – and I know that is crazy for some people, especially for “everyday makeup” people. They’re like, I’m not going to use that all the time. But if I’m traveling and I’m using cream bases for a lot of stuff, because I use cream blush, cream contour, cream highlight, you know, all these different creams for my eyeshadow, for my eyebrows. It’s just all in one palette. And it’s just so easy to travel with. So that would definitely be my go-to. And I know that is just not for everybody, but it works for me (laughs).
How can fans keep in touch with you? I know you’ve got an Etsy store with some amazing accessories.
Oh my gosh. Yes. So, to keep in touch with me, you can follow me on TikTok and on Instagram. On Instagram I post the more professional stuff. If you want to see me being stupid and walking around the house in drag, you can follow me on TikTok. I post trash there.
I am also trying to launch my own brand with a line of collars and harnesses and products to sell that are like drag-related. But also like if you’re a little frisky and you want to go out to a rave and wear some fun stuff, it’s also for you. So you can check out my Etsy as well.