Shiseido The Makeup artistic director Dick Page is one of the world’s most influential and inspiring makeup artists. Page’s background in fine art and Britain’s burgeoning club scene in the 1980s has helped to define him as a creative polymorph who dips his fingers into many different pies.
MiNDFOOD: What’s been exciting you lately?
Dick Page: I’ve been working in lots of different arenas. A friend of mine from Iceland, Harpa, her uncle Ragnar Kjartansson is a performance artist, he won the [Malcolm McLaren] Performa Prize in New York last year, and I’ve collaborated with him on three different projects now. Some of them I’ve done general art direction, put the clothes together and got the accessories and helped with the mies en seine, and some it’s just makeup, and doing theatre work, designing makeup for different theatre productions and stuff that is related to that that isn’t about the 17 year old model, working with older actors and actresses, and doing things where what I do isn’t front and centre, it’s a part of it. Which is sort of how I think about my work anyway because makeup doesn’t exist until there’s someone’s wearing it, or someone photographed it or someone showed it with some clothes.
MF: What are you cooking now?
DP: Nicole who works for Shiseido in New York, who I’ve worked with for a long time, she’s getting married, so I gave her an engagement party. So I cooked and a bunch of Shiseido people and friends and her sister and brother in law came over to the house. And because her family background is Italian and his is I think Croatian, I did mostly Italian things. So I made some sausage, I cured the sausage for a few days and then cooked that, and made some sweet potato soup, chicken wrapped in prosciutto with sage leaves, like a saltimbocca, but with chicken thighs. I had a huge chunk of parmigiano, baked crispy polenta. I haven’t been cooking much Italian food and I really enjoyed it because I haven’t done it for a long time, I’ve been cooking a lot of Moroccan and Malaysian food, but the Italian thing was quite nice to just cook homey, country food. It’s also quite freeing to cook for a lot of people, to allow disasters to happen.
MF: Where are your favourite eating places?
DP: I like Wong in New York on Cornelia Street, he’s I think Malaysian who cooks a lot of Southeast Asian stuff, and it’s really good. And I like the tapas thing in Spain. I like going from place to place to place to have a little kind of glass here and a little bit of this, and go here for this thing, I like all that kind of thing. I cook at home mostly, but then I go to the farmer’s market as often as I can. Which is, the Union Square farmer’s market in New York is Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, so if I can I go before work depending on what’s going on. It’s that seasonal thing, you’re never sure what’s going to be there and what’s going to be the most exciting. So very often I don’t have a fixed idea, I know my fish man and wife Jan and Wade, and then my mushroom guy and my duck guy and then this one for this and this one for this. And then as the seasons change, we’re coming into the slightly boring squash and apple season with the occasional cabbage for good measure.
MF: What’s your standby dish?
DP: When it’s one of those moments when you just think, I better get on with it, it’s a nade, a Japanese nabe, which is just like a one pot thing. So it’s a dashi broth and you put whatever you want on it. And the other day I made a kimchi, which is like a Korean Japanese mix with kimchi and mushrooms and tofu and ground pork and ginger. So those are nice because you can just like bung everything in and let it simmer away. And my rice cooker, I love my rice cooker.
MF: What music are you listening to right now?
DP: I’m trying to get into the new Arcade Fire album which I quite like cause it’s that guy from LCD Soundsystem who co-produced it, I love LCD soundsystem. And we’ve just been talking about Brian Eno, I’ve been using Brian Eno as a tranquiliser on hysterical clients, so I play Music For Airports at shoots just to calm everyone down. Also, this is a weird thing, I’m gradually getting my records back from England, cause I gave all my records to my sisters when I moved to New York cause I didn’t have a record player, and my husband gave me a deck a little while ago for my birthday, and each time I come home, I’m like to my sister “I know you’ve got it, hand it over”. I’m gradually taking my records back.
MF: Do you have any key fragrances you regularly wear?
DP: I always go back to Habit Rouge by Guerlain, that’s the men’s one I always wear. I do try different things, there’s a Serge Lutens one called L’Eau Froide which is based on frankinsense which I really love. There’s another one by Etro called Messe de Minuit which is really frankinsensy and that’s totally church, that’s like, a totally purvey priest smell. And then for summertime, I like L’Ombre dans L’Eau by Diptyque, that kind of sort of citrussy thing, and the name is amazing – “the shadow in the water” – it’s like sort of creepy. My mum’s an aromatherapist, so she blends different oils and things. She went back to college when she was 16 to do aromatherapy. And she sends me like the jet lag relief blend, and the so and so blend, and you’ve got the head cold blend, and sometimes I just use those as fragrance. I put lavender on my beard, and I just pass out.
MF: What are your reasons to be cheerful?
DP: Ooh the usual, sex, booze and food. Dancing in the supermarket. Why’s everyone happy?