“Twenty Makeup Artists. Nine Themes. Five Days. One Unforgettable Experience.”
Since it’s conception, The Powder Group has come to be known by the makeup industry as a resource that puts forward outstanding artist education, events, publications, and more. One of their annual events is an exclusive, 5 day trip to Provincetown, MA. where a group of 20 makeup artists come together to partake in a unique experience to the beauty industry as a whole.
The tagline on evolution’s logo tells you enough to entice you, enough to know you need to be a part of the experience, but not enough about what happens each day. The vagueness is purposeful. The more open minded you go into evolution, the more you will get out of it in the end. I had the opportunity to not only experience this program once, but twice, and I want to share my experience with those interested in the process.
So I know you are waiting for the big reveal, what goes on in Provincetown and why isn’t its programs contents widely known by now? There are two main reasons that you may not have heard about what happens at evolution, even though dozens of people, ranging from beginning artists to those who are lead artists of top national cosmetic companies, have gone through the evolution program.
The first is that evolution is planned, while still organic. What do I mean? Each group of 20 artists has a unique culture that only those 20 different personalities can create. There is a an overall plan that creators Michael DeVellis and James Vincent work out for the week, but the plan can be changed at a moments notice depending on the needs of each unique group they work with every year. Some exercises I did in the first year were not the same I did in the second. Some were the same but completely different because of the different personalities in each group. Each retreat will have its own experience so it is hard to explain to another artist what they will be doing when they go to evolution, because it simply may not be the case.
The main reason the contents of evolution haven’t been divulged to everyone by now is because those who have gone through the process of “evoluting” (as my fellow evolutioners like to call it ) respect that they got more out of the program not knowing the line up then they would have if they knew what they would be learning each day. The experience gained our respect and trust enough to not want to ruin it for others who were thinking of joining future retreats.
I have talked to a number of artists interested in signing up for “evolution” that understandably just need to know that this is the right place to make an investment. I say the “food for the soul” you receive will more than make up for the cost. Also know that this won’t be the place to get a half day lesson in how to apply makeup, although there is much makeup to be done! It is so much more than that! You will be taken care of, challenged artistically and personally, brought past your comfort level, all while all being supported by 20 artists you will consider to be family after the week is through. James and Michael create a perfect balance between left brain and right brain to arm you with the skills and know how you need to get ahead in this industry, and in life in general. This program is unlike any you will find anywhere you go.
My advice is to go into evolution with your fears and weaknesses put on the table. To really understand this I will let you know my personal battles and how evolution helped me push through them.
My Story. My Evolution
Michael and James asked me a few weeks prior to evolution to teach a class at the upcoming NY Makeup Show in May of 2009. I was completely flattered but had to be honest with them that I could not do it. I had a lifelong bout with panic attacks that stemmed from speaking in public. I failed out of speech class because I could not deliver one speech all year, and it was something I was paralyzed by in every class I ever had to do a speech in! I would go to the nurses office, cry, would instantly feel “sick”, or I’d skip class and come with every excuse in the world every time a speech was due. The thought of standing on my own for 2 1/2 hours at the New York Makeup Show, surrounded by my peers, triggered a panic attack at the very thought of it!
Needless to say, James and Michael were in shock! All the times they have seen me in recent years I was outgoing and very sociable. What they didn’t realize is that I was never in a moment where “the spotlight”, was on me. I wish I could say that school speeches were the end of my panic attack experiences, but the truth is I went on to have major social anxiety for many years to come shortly after high school. I stopped working for years before becoming an esthetician as I couldn’t face anyone, including close friends, without being petrified. I took all sorts of medications for a long time and started to find comfort in talking to others who had gone through the same thing. This wasn’t a small problem for me, it was the center of my world for a number of years, so I “knew” that giving a speech was something that was out of the question, even though eventually I had managed to get back to a somewhat “normal” life, free from medications and Dr’s.
Michael and James said that they appreciated my experience, but (lovingly ) they would not take “No” as an answer until I went through evolution program that was coming up in a few weeks. I thought, if they had that much confidence in the program then it would be worth a try. Two weeks later I was headed to Provincetown, Mass and on the first night I met everyone. I was nervous about what was in store for me but I chatted with the other artists all night, laughed, and had a great time. This was the Kathy that James and Michael knew.
The next morning was the first morning all the artists got together as an organized class. Michael wanted us to do a quick round table introduction to start off the week. It was short and simple, we didn’t have to stand up, it was just a quick casual intro. As each student was introducing themselves at their seat I could feel that panic consume my body. By the time they got to me I said my name and… busted out crying! I was a complete basket case and I think everyone had their jaws drop to the floor! It wasn’t that others didn’t admit to being nervous, they just weren’t having a panic attack over it!
I decided to just be upfront with everyone at that moment and let them know of my past with social anxiety disorder. I explained how I was at evolution to grow as a person, as an artist, and hopefully be able to work to getting through these weaknesses that kept me from getting to the next level. I had so many artists come up to me after that session and tell me their own stories , and even tell me how inspiring it was to have me share something so personal. The whole week I had people hold my hand through challenges, and offer to help in any way. I had another genuinely caring artist give me a stone that was significant to her, telling me how she held it in her pocket while speaking to keep her from getting nervous. She also taught me different breathing techniques she learned to focus and keep calm. She asked that all I did was return the stone to the sea when I didn’t need it to get through speaking anymore. I realized that evolution was not just about the lessons, and The Powder Group, but also about the people who share these experiences with you and what they can offer to the challenges of your career and life as well. I can’t imagine any other situation where I would have such a safe place to build myself up.
If it weren’t for the tremendous support we all received in our own personal way at evolution, through EVERYONE involved, I would not have ever stood up at the New York Makeup Show teaching a 2 1/2 hour workshop, two weeks later. Some of the artists in my evolution group offered to sit in the class for moral support, others assisted. Within a few moments of talking I started to feel very comfortable and officially started teaching for The Powder Group. I went on to teach for every single Makeup Show and Artist Summit since my first time at evolution almost two years ago, and I have been back to evolution as Michael and James’ guest artist last April. I know for a fact that I would not have been able speak at all the shows if I had not trusted in Michael and James and the process of the evolution program. Michael now jokes he can’t get me to shut up! I also know I don’t see art and this industry in the same way that I did pre-evolution. There is so much more to everything that I had taken for granted before hand. I will forever be thankful to Michael, James, evolution, The Powder Group, and to the people of Provincetown I met along the way.
As for the stone I was given at evolution, it rests safely in the waters of South Beach, Miami, home of Miami’s Artist Summit in October of 2009.