Halloween is just around the corner. While the other side of the globe looks forward to “Trick-or-treating”, Hong Kong is getting ready with the fun role-playing!
Numerous costumes are ordered globally just to grace this event. Perimeters in Lan Kwai Fong are starting to get marked with ropes and lanes. Police gave watchful eyes every night since the start of October and the people are getting excited week after week.
Pretty much, the talk here and there is what they’ll come as or who they’ll be for the last hallow-week! And for that, I’d like to introduce FACE SLAP LIMITED’s Linda Miao Li, featuring the art behind face and body painting.
Face Slap Limited stands as an established company that provides make-up services using professionally branded quality facial and body paint. Two female entrepreneurs: Nina Griffee and Linda Miao Li started the company 5 years ago. They registered in Hong Kong and operated officially. From then, they had expanded to Beijing, Shanghai and Macau.
Most recently, they got their resources in making their own paint from Taiwan. They are not only easy to wash off but are also safe to use. This allowed them to venture out into painting baby-bumps and gracing youngsters of fun designs at kiddie parties and events.
And with such brand expansion, they are able to sell make-up to rising face and body painters alike. Educating a number of people of their craft by sharing their talent became then possible. For a price, this opens up a channel for many artists to embrace expression through a human canvas. So much so, making a living out of their artistic passion.
WHAT DOES IT DO BEST?
Since 2009, it had partnered with Shanghai for all its events and this year, it had partnered with many family-friendly groups that widened their connections. This season, its professional team of girls that can transform you however, were booked for the Beijing City Weekend. However, they have trained numerous artists that can deliver quality work if you need their services. Visit their website and just contact them.
WHY THE NAME FACE SLAP?
No, they don’t put on the paint via a slap on the face. But the name came from the British slang word, “Slap” which means “put some make-up on”. Thus, Face Slap.
THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE BIZ
Linda, though she grew up in America, is originally of Mongolian descent. She studied and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design in Beijing before getting propelled to becoming an entrepreneur.
Nina is from Britain who started a face and body painting company in Beijing. They were introduced to each other right when Linda was staying in Beijing searching for an answer to her quest for hands-on creativity.
The partnership of this two steered the company into becoming one of the most sought after make-up services in Southeast Asia. In a span of a year after registering it in Hong Kong, they were able to bring their brand on a large-scale expanding their services to Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan and Macau.
With the help of creative talents and professionally trained artists, clients achieve the look they want. And the team of girls they have can surely extend such look beyond by finishing it up tidily.
Not to mention, Face Slap is also producing their own paint for ease in learning the craft of face and body painting.
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL LINDA MIAO LI
Seeing through Linda’s story, I may say she is the East that meets the West (Nina) of Face Slap. I first knew her through a common friend and eventually got fond of each other through the RISE Conference. She won a ticket through a contest via I Value My Life. As we talked and had spent 2 days ogling on the conference’s back to back talks, I knew I had to feature her.
Credits was thrown to Linda’s great work at my daughter’s Face-paint/Spongebob-themed birthday party. She was wonderful with kids and super patient. My daughter just turned three and a wide age-ranged kids attended. Both kids and parents were in awe with every stroke of her brush that even I went for one.
Curiosity creeped in and I had to start my online interview with Ms. Linda with her background.
“After 3 years of working in interior design professionally in Beijing, I decided I didn’t want to sit behind the computer. So, I went on project sites often on my time to understand project management. I started doing freelance interior design projects around the city, including designing and branding a restaurant, which led to more graphic design opportunities. Slowly, my career shifted from construction to becoming a full-time freelancer graphic designer. Now what was lacking was my love for hands-on artwork. I was introduced to my now business partner, Nina, a British artist who started a face and body painting company in Beijing.”, explained Linda.
Nina taught Linda how to face paint. She started off face painting for Nina’s little small art company on the weekends. Finally, they had harnessed an entrepreneurial relationship. They decided to move to Hong Kong with full confidence and registered their art business as official operations, Face Slap Limited.
With the full intent of embracing arts in design, Linda’s greatest ambition lingers around being the art supplier to all of Asia on a bigger scale. She starts with her own online art shop and each time, she drives all of her efforts to coming up new products on top of what she has now. Recently, they use their own paint resourced from Taiwan and had launched their 12-color palette. Starting artists inspired them. Moms who strive to bond with their kids through arts in particular. And what other fun projects are there for kids and parents to enjoy other than involving fun colors and face painting? It is an absolute instant vibe changer. Outdoor birthday parties can be umphed up through it and indoor rainy days can be easily turned around. It allows them to explore by getting them engaged.
Smartly, Linda and Nina introduced single colors as well to practice from compartmentalising 21 grams at medium size and not the usual 30 grams. This is to appear non-intimidating since they thought of the usual ones sold in the market (30-gram-ones) as large for a starter. I hail arts that’s why the best one to tag #ivaluemylyf and #faceslaphk their 2017 Halloween Costume in Instagram can win a 12-palette set including brushes to practice with. Just simply include a hashtag #ivaluemylyf and #faceslaphk to your Instagram post and I will run the search until November 2.
When I left Beijing and stumbled into Hong Kong after being asked to help out on Hong Kong Fashion Week, being asked to be part of a business has helped me understand how to be a small entrepreneur and solve problems in creative ways.
I have slowly understood how driven Linda is but I have never grasped how deep these roots come from. Until I got hold of her teachers who made her embrace what she does best.
Her first teachers, her parents, both lived through the Communist Revolution. They managed to keep on top of their education despite such situation and were able to finish University. Linda’s dad worked doubly hard to get a scholarship in the USA. At the age of 6, he was able to get Linda and her mom to migrate with him. That paved an opportunity for her mom to finish her PhD. Soon enough, they were able to get jobs that allowed them to live their dream life.
Eventually, her dad quit everything and went back to school to get his own PhD and now is a mathematician professor at a University. They never stopped learning and worked countless hours while taking care of two daughters.
This had embedded a seed of hope, composure, commitment and drive to young Linda seeing her parents sacrifice so much for them. Linda earned a Bachelor’s degree herself in Interior Design in Beijing.
There she met her art teacher which she considered family after so many deep engagements pertaining to her line of craft. Sadly, when she was 16 years old, Linda had to leave her art class because of high school commitments and uni preparation. Her art teacher is from Beijing but she had to move to USA to be with her daughter and start her own art studio. They separated leaving Linda the message that goes, “My only hope is that my students will become artists as well one day.” Out of all the students in her class during Linda’s time, Linda is the only student who lives as an artist.
This drove her every day and slowly, she ended up wanting the very same thing. She wanted to be an artist to make a living since she believes it’s possible. Staying driven somehow gives her that sense of achievement that she’s able spread her art and love conforming to her teacher’s dream.
GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR
I think my greatest achievement was when I realised I could also use this art to help out those in need. Although I have done many charity works within the city, most have been at fundraisers in which the children we painted were not those in need for this cause we were raising money for.
Linda has deep regard with what she considers a greatest achievement. I admire how she doesn’t consider money nor fame as her greatest achievements. Not even success. But how she is able to touch lives of people, particularly the kids – that makes her in awe with herself in connection to the universe. Understanding the rights of the child, she had learned that children do need food, clean water, shelter, education and more, but they also need laughter and joy.
She had charity work for kids in Hong Kong whose parents are in jail or on trial, who don’t have anywhere to go. This made her realise that she wanted to help out more children who need to smile in a hard time through the flow of colors she uses with her face painting.
So she took a charity event in India called the Rickshaw Run. She had to drive a rickshaw from the top of India to the bottom, about 4500km. It’s a race that she had to finish within 10 days. They raise money for charities of their choice while doing so. During the race, we decided to find orphanages to face paint at. Interestingly, the children were polite and very sweet. It was a big contrast to the loud spoiled children at some birthday parties.
They showed a different kind of dedication to their mission when they did face painting at a HIV-Positive orphanage in Chiangmai, Thailand. As how mindful Linda is with her every experience, she remembers clearly what the head lady told her there. “Children with the most laughter will survive the terrible virus and live a full life.”
This ignites her to continue this mission to help spread joy and laughter with her art.
THE QUALITIES EVERY STARTING PAINTER OR ARTIST SHOULD POSSESS TO MAKE IT IN THE BIZ
Face painting looks so much fun but it’s not that easy as 1-2-3. Apart from a lot of competition in Hong Kong, anything can go wrong with face and body painting. The thing is, you are working on a human canvas. So that and the fact that art can be subjective, there is actually a good and a bad to it. In general, she suggests that all aspiring artists stay well-researched and inspired. “Put your whole heart to the piece for a well planned artwork result.”, convinces Linda.
In order to keep herself balanced, she engages in hobbies apart from her usual. She plays badminton on the side and is a pretty good one too. She represented by being in the high school team. Awarded by winning 4th in state and 1st seed player for Varsity, this says a lot about Linda’s sense of self-discipline and determination. She tries to squeeze this in her schedule just because of her love for it. But weekly, she practices yoga and Pilates.
Currently, she enhances her designing skills by playing with film and video editing.
MESSAGE THAT SHE STRIVES TO SHARE
Between living her life and serving her purpose as an artist, she gives her life a good thought. Collectively it sends out a message to the world that goes: “I truly believe that the most important thing is to smile and be grateful. I think of how I can spread knowledge to others or inspire them. We are all capable of inspiring someone when we least expect it. So always be positive and always give as much as you can.”. This moves her to aspire for the best each time.
“Let’s consider our remaining days to be an opportunity to educate oneself for the better,” as how Linda’s philosophy goes. Considering all the experiences she had gained, “Always take time as an opportunity to learn and meditate on ideas.”. She does this by taking online classes attending more talks and taking more workshops.