Juliana Horner says she doesn't know why she has so many Instagram followers. But after scrolling through her photos of strawberry-effect eye make-up and metallic nails accessorized with puffy stickers, it's easy to see why her account, @claropsyche, has become a social media sensation. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee and bred in Nashville, Horner grew up in a creative household with six siblings, a love for creating, and an affinity for technology that she says always felt "built in." After graduating from Pratt in 2014 with a major in fashion design, Horner moved back to Nashville. New York was a difficult place to find herself, she says, and just too stressful. Back in Tennessee, she worked primarily in painting and drawing, but she also began experimenting with make-up. What started as a hobby, and a way to express herself, turned into a passion far larger than she could ever have imagined. With over 34k followers on Instagram, and an aesthetic that recalls Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, her future is as bright as a moonage daydream. i-D sat down with the flame-haired angel to discuss her humble beginnings, what inspires her, and how she navigates Instagram's ever-changing beauty trends.
How did you first get involved with make-up?
I remember getting grounded when I was in sixth grade because I put on makeup and tweezed my eyebrows too thin. They looked pretty bad. I hid a secret stash of make-up in a folded-up sleeping bag in my closet so I still had access. In high school, I would replicate Teen Vogue make-up editorials and found a lot of satisfaction in that. That's when I learned that I could do it myself, and when people started asking, "Hey, how did you do that?"
Who are some artists that inspire what you create?
Björk has probably been my longest inspiration. Other inspirations include Yayoi Kusama, David Bowie, Grace Jones, and Haruki Murakami. I was obsessed with Audrey Hepburn growing up. I'm impressed by people who don't care how other people do things.
What does beauty mean to you?
To me, beauty is a deviation from what you see all of the time, it's a break from reality that takes you to another place.
How does living in a small city affect what you do?
It gives me space! I like to think that I am a half 'n' half a sociable and unsociable person. I think that Nashville is good for this. It's not too small and not too big, and it has a lot of good vintage. I recharge when I am alone, and I create better things when I am alone.
How does your passion for art differ from your passion for make-up?
With art you start from nothing, with make-up you start with limitations. I enjoy both equally. When I first started posting make-up pictures and getting a larger response to it than to my artwork, I was frustrated. Now I don't care. People respond to real faces in a different way than drawn ones. I think it's more relatable. I will always be working to mesh all of my art to together: make-up, video, drawing, editing, fabric design, clothing. Sometimes it feels like I'm holding 80 different things in my arms at the same time and that everything keeps falling as I walk, but when it works, it soars.
How do you come up with each makeup look?
Sometimes I get vivid ideas in my head out of nowhere that I have to execute immediately. Other times, an idea will be slowly cooking in my head for a week after I saw a picture, went on a hike, stared at a flower for a long time, or had a weird conversation with someone. Then it comes out. Sometimes I'm just doodling on my face and will start doing something cool. Doing that is the worst because I have to add in the face make-up after, and that's a bitch. C'est la vie.
What does having a large social media presence mean to you and how does it differ from your actual life?
Occasionally I like to pretend none of it exists. Sometimes I actually believe it doesn't exist. As far as it differs from my actual life, it's hard for me to gauge how people see it. My life is not so saturated all of the time. I think that I document the most satisfying parts of it. It's like a garden that I water. In real life, I struggle to water the three plants in my room. They're still cute and alive though.
What else are you working on right now?
I'm finalizing two music videos that I shot and edited for Thelma and the Sleaze and Ruby the Rabbitfoot. I'm obsessed with filmmaking and editing right now. I find that I'm constantly collecting new areas of work. My problem, and my solution, is that I love to do it all.
Text Jo Rosenthal
Images courtesy Juliana Horner