S. Whitehall makeup artist turns craft into a business
As Halloween approached, South Whitehall makeup artist Terri Vadino found herself accepting more and more clients.
She was rushing from appointment to appointment as she operates her fledgling business out of her wheeled and zippered multicolored travel bag.
In addition to having a “real job” as a skilled medical technician for one of the area’s biggest hospitals, she also spends weekends as a seasonally employed makeup artist for a local amusement park.
By necessity, the makeup business — toward which she has grown more passionate about — has to be shoehorned into her busy schedule.
Bill Childs, a creative director for a local business, said he had been showing up to his son’s Halloween parties as a regular suburban “dad,” not as a scary creature from some harum-scarum nightmare, more in keeping with the season.
This year, Childs wanted to do something special for his son’s Halloween party.
That’s when he called his longtime friend, Vadino.
They met recently at a local South Whitehall community center whose management had agreed to let them use a high table and a chair, as several moms in an adjacent space decorated for a birthday party scheduled for a couple of hours later.
They had decided on a plan before they met.
Vadino placed all the necessary vials of color, brushes, sponges and other tools of her trade out on the table.
Then she draped a protective cloth over Childs’ shoulders and went to work.
Vadino’s professionalism is well-mixed with a personality that at once charms, while keeping her client engaged with the creative process that flows from her brushes.
An hour later, his normally handsome countenance was transformed into a vampire’s ghoulish visage.
Purple-gray veins lacing up from his collar etched his gray-hued hide.
Sallow cheeks and dark under-eyes dominated.
Childs popped in some reddish contact lenses to give his eyes an evil glow.
Some vampire incisors were applied to his real teeth to round out the new look.
Childs brought along a top-hat and dark clothes to complement the ensemble.
Childs’ son, who knew nothing of his dad’s plot, was going to get a big shock when Count Dracula showed up at his party.
The artist had completed her work and transformed another client, at least temporarily, into a creature of the imagination.
She packed up quickly and hopped in her car.
She had another appointment to recreate someone else’s nightmare.
Her transition from an educator to an artist has been a slow, but noticeable progression.
Vadino, daughter of a science teacher, was raised in the Poconos, and has a degree in education.
“About 90 percent of my credits were in biology,” she said in an interview.
A talented portraitist, she was fascinated with anatomy, which led her into art.
Vadino has made a slow transition toward her craft.
She doesn’t really have a favorite look for her clients. The results are collaborative and reflect her client’s imagination.
“Most of my clients know what they want,” Vadino said.
Her real happiness comes from the reactions people have to her work.
“Positive responses really feed my energy,” she said. “Making people happy is my biggest compliment.”
Even though she depends on word-of-mouth advertising, her makeup business is starting to boom. It has increased every year.
She is considering ways to make it into a viable full-time business.
“The more clients I have the more blessed I feel,” Vadino said. “But I only have two hands.”
She is not sure that adding more people is the way to go.
She realizes that the single most limiting element is the fact that the business revolves around her individual talent.
She said she has considered getting into special effects for theater or film.
Vadino is looking forward to attending a large makeup convention in New York.
“I’m looking forward to perfecting my craft,” Vadino said, who said she also does “beauty” makeup. “Taking it to the next level.”