Bailey Turfitt is a creative who can be described as many things: a makeup artist, photographer, costumer, model, painter, sculptor, metalsmith and coordinator. Turfitt said as an artist, she would describe herself as someone who is constantly getting inspired with new ideas.
“I just like to see the beauty in people, whether it be who they are as is or if it’s something that they hide behind like a mask,” Turfitt said. “My art is a combination of multiple mediums involving people, makeup, costumes and props. It’s usually the exploration of someone’s alter ego, whether it be a character I made up or someone else’s alter ego.”
Turfitt said she sparked a passion for art when she started doing regular and special effects makeup in the sixth grade. Through her high school theatre program, Turfitt was introduced to costuming, prop-making and scene-design. It was also there, she said, where she met a few photographers as well.
“I just wanted to learn different techniques, different ways to achieve a certain look,” Turfitt said. “I enjoy taking photos of myself, I enjoy editing them, I enjoy setting the whole thing up, and designing the entire thing.”
DFW photographer and artist Leah Wright said that she has known Turfitt since middle school and always thought Turfitt was cool and unique. Wright and Turfitt started working artistically together during Wright’s senior year. Wright said that Turfitt has amazing ideas and is always sure to make everyone she’s working with feels comfortable.
“She’s really talented as a makeup artist, painter, coordinator and even model,” Wright said. “She’s a jack of all trades when it comes to art.”
Turfitt is a deaf artist and although she has described her experience as relatively normal, sometimes people may not take her as seriously. Turfitt said that at times, she can surprise people when they meet her in real life, as they seem to expect someone with a presence as big as her work. Turfitt said that communication can also sometimes be an issue, as she may not hear someone right away and can unintentionally come off as rude.
“I definitely think that [for] those who have disabilities, there is frustration that comes with these disabilities,” Turfitt said. “They definitely need to be more represented in the sense that they want to show others what they see from their world because everybody’s perspective is different, whether it be a deaf artist, a blind person or someone with learning disabilities. I think art is a really good way to kind of be a doorway to see into your world, and there should definitely be more of that in the art world as it is right now.”
Turfitt said she typically finds her inspiration for a project when models direct message her on Instagram with an idea for a photoshoot. From there, she provides the makeup, costume and props, like the white mesh piece covered in crystals and pearls she recently made for an upcoming shoot. The shoot typically takes three hours, during which she and the model experiment with different elements.
“We do things we didn’t think of before, so it’s not usually planned, which to me is usually the best kind of shoots,” Turfitt said. “When they are planned, what I do is I start off with a concept. I draw it down, I write it down, and then I start building pieces of props and start to get an idea of what vibe I want it to be. From there, I look for the right model or I look for someone who fits that character themselves.”
Southlake fashion designer Jake Zevallos is Turfitt’s boyfriend. He said that over the four years that he has known her, he has seen her go from struggling with what she wants to do in life to becoming a confident artist, something he described as nothing short of amazing.
“She has a very strong work ethic and sets up goals and timetables, even if it’s something casual.” Zevallos said. “I really admire her tenacity and her ability to overcome hardships to create very detailed, living works of art that many people want to be a part of. Living with her and seeing her ideas come to life is such an experience.”
As for where she sees herself in the next five years, Turfitt said half of her wants to do special effects makeup for movies and shows, while the other half wants to do creative design for something such as magazine photoshoots. Recently, Turfitt has worked with Sweet Tooth Hotel on a couple of parties along with a promotional event for them.
“Those things I really enjoy doing because they give me the ability to build my own world for them to show off,” Turfitt said.
Ultimately, Turfitt said that she hopes that when people see her art, they understand that with the right tools, you can feel like who you want to be.
“You can be all these different people [and] characters,” Turfitt said. “You have the power to do it through yourself and your emotions or makeup or costumes, there’s no limits. There’s a diverse amount of people in the world. I love shooting people of all different sizes, races and disabilities. I want them to see [that] the world is a very diverse place, very cultured, very beautiful.”
Featured Image: UNT biology senior Bailey Turfitt poses for a portrait at Jupiter House on Nov. 9, 2019. Bailey is a deaf artist who works with a broad range of artforms. Image by Samuel Gomez