As a salon owner, I see creativity and artistic talent put to use every day in the salon. You may not realize it, but stylists are artists, and our clients are our medium. That funky teal mohawk you saw at the mall, the bright red highlights, the little boy with a design shaved into the back of his head—this is our art and our customers wear it! Think about it: If you’re a stylist, your work is walking all around your town. With the exception of tattoo artists, not many others can say that.
It takes artistic talent to make hair look good—otherwise everyone would have the same square haircut. Boring! Stylists exercise creative talent each time we visualize and work on a guest’s hair. It takes creativity to know just where to place those highlights or to choose the most flattering color for a guest’s skin tone. It takes an artist’s eye to perfectly frame the face with fringe or to cut those curls just right. Not just anyone is born with this ability and it takes a certain amount of natural talent, even with intense training, to become a really great hair artist.
Bottom line: There are many types of art that surround us, even those we may not typically recognize as art. As a stylist, I personally love creating art with hair. Bringing a guest’s look to life is the best part of my job, and I wish I had more time to do what I love the most. It’s why I became a stylist in the first place, and it’s what gives me satisfaction at the end of the day—along with seeing a guest walk out of my salon with confidence and a smile. To me, art is about the feeling it gives you. We feel drawn to a painting or sculpture because of the way it makes us feel. Beauty professionals get a little extra job satisfaction when we experience making our guests feel incredible about themselves, like the walking work of art that they are.
Alanna York has owned Head Games Salon for Hair & Body, based in Portland, for 17 years. Her professional career began in the early 1990s when she discovered the passion and excitement that came from enhancing the natural beauty in all of her clients.