Beeld via Instagram Pyro Muse

meet the artist haunting instagram with her eerie beauty looks

Pyro Muse draws inspiration from the Victorian era, porcelain dolls, and antique treasures she finds in secondhand shops.

by Rolien Zonneveld
22 July 2019, 11:36pm

Beeld via Instagram Pyro Muse

If you scroll through the Pyro Muse instagram page , you need to look carefully to find out whether you are dealing with paintings or photographs. The parchment-like structure of the powdered cheeks seems to point to the first, and yet it is not. They are photographed self-portraits, preceded by a meticulous makeup ritual of around four to six hours. The eighteen-year-old from The Hague only started sharing the portraits on the platform for the first time last year, and that did not hurt her: her fan base has since grown to almost twenty thousand.

Pyro is half Dutch, half Chilean, and moved as a child to another country every three or four years before she recently settled in The Hague. "To be exposed to so many different cultures, religions and beliefs, I have always seen it as an enormous privilege." and angelic statuettes, to deer antlers, animal skulls, Victorian portraits and porcelain dolls.

Her mental state also has a major influence on her creations. "Recently I have seen how it shines more and more through the portraits, and that means that I am on the right track," she continues. A good example of this is the aggravated portrait with the milky white tears and taped mouth. "I feel your emotions through your art," someone writes in the comment section.

Although the reactions to her account show how much her work resonates, she has ambivalent feelings about the medium. On the one hand it is a place where she can share her creations with like-minded people, on the other hand it creates a constant pressure to stay on the same level of other (makeup) artists. “Although I often got the idea that I was performing less well than the rest, Instagram mainly ensured that I started to sharpen and refine my looks more and more. So as long as I keep seeing it as a sort of diary where I can collect all my creations in one place and reflect on myself, it is a great medium for me, "she says.

Applying the make-up is called therapeutic, so taking good care of it is essential. But the preparations look different every time. “Sometimes I only have to read three words from a dream I wrote down when I was still half asleep, and sometimes I put together an extensive list of necessities, first make sketches or experiment with hair styles and position of the main accessories. All in all, it takes quite some time, so I don't try to force it when I'm busy or too tired. ”

Although you wouldn't say it at first glance, she calls the kitschy, campy world of drag, with the big wigs and sequin dresses, an important learning experience. “Dragqueens were the first artists I was exposed to experimenting with dramatic makeup. It offered a first glimpse into the limitless possibilities of beauty looks and acted as a kind of stepping stone in self-exploration - a way to explore all my crazy ideas and skills. ”

Yet she does not call her style a drag. She prefers to describe 'Pyro Muse' as "a fundamental way of self-expression." "I don't want to put a label on it, no further explanation, so that everyone who sees it can project their own perspective, emotions, or opinion."

When asked if we can interpret her look as Gothic or Victorian, she says: “In my latest posts you always see white powdered skin as a recurring element. Because of that powder, the looks seem to resemble a porcelain doll, a ghost, or a marble statue. But that porcelain also inspires me to incorporate elements from the Victorian or Elizabethan era, such as lace accessories. By playing with these references I have managed to find my own style, but that does not mean that that style is also fixed - I always keep looking for ways to develop it further. ”

This article originally appeared on i-D Netherlands.