Jonas Oliver is an artist, who is loud and proud, he paints on the skin and sets his paintings in a scene in a story. Even with a single close-up image, the scene (felt, not seen) is realised and present and the story generates depth and lustre that makes the image sing. These unseens are the counterpoints lifting the image out of the quotidian to hook your mind.

Whose kisses? A rare jewel? Narcissism or innocence? The question is Jonas’s. The answer is yours.

This complexity and depth make Jonas’s work stand
out and make his images timeless in the ephemeral beauty world.

The fashion industry is famously impermanent – yesterday’s glow is fading and the last season is unknown. New people come every day, pushing and hustling to be somebody. Tomorrow no one remembers their name.

In this milieu, Jonas Oliver is a presence. If you want striking makeup, Jonas is the go-to artist. More: if Jonas hasn’t done your face, then you aren’t it.

This status is hard-won and must be remade every day. A labour of love and a labour of Sisyphus. Jonas’s work ethic is legendary and he’s a perfectionist – it’s not ready until it’s perfect. His commitment to his art and his consistent and reliable inventiveness have gained him the trust of the top names in front of the camera, whether for movies, TV or magazines. His address book is a catalogue of the fashion stars of now and the past twenty years.

“It’s hard doing makeup for men. When some people do makeup for boys, they look plastic. I always try to make them look more masculine, more real, but so nobody can see what I’ve done.

“Today, any good makeup artist can do girls. But boys are tricky. And Black skin can be fun because they have different pigments in different areas. I like the challenge – it makes me stronger. Challenge is the best.”

Jonas has done this the hard way – coming to London, in his early 20s, from Brazil via Paris, without any English and without backers or introductions. He made his position himself from his talent and his commitment and maintains it through his professionalism, and his love for the art and the results.

“My sister said when I got to be 40, “after forty your past starts to become bigger than your future.” So I’m making a future, a book.”

OMG!, this book, is a statement, a stake in the ground, from an artist in the most challenging place in the world for makeup, who’s at the peak of his game, and who, as the time demands, is looking around and asking “what next?” and “where to?” Jonas, like many, has faced his mortality and is using this energy to drive his path to the future. More of the same, even at Jonas’s standard, is not an option.

“The enemy of the good is the best, and I want to be the best of the best of the best.

“Perfection makes me wake up every day and say “Today’s going to be better. I’m going to do this better than yesterday.”

“In a lot of my jobs, they put someone with me and say to them “We want you to learn to do it like Jonas.” The clients know and compare, so I will open a school.”

A good photoshoot is an inspired collaboration by a team of professionals who trust each other. It’s easy to forget when looking at a glossy magazine, that the subtlety and impact of the images come from the makeup and hair and jewellery and couture and millinery and venue and set decoration and lighting and photographer and touch-up, as well as the models and artistic conception and direction. Jonas has worked with the best in the world and they’re happy to work with him, and they are proud to have credits in this book, conceived and created by Jonas as a contribution to the makeup profession and the world.

“Val Garland – she’s been doing this forever – she inspires me so much. I like people with no limits. When you do what you have in mind without care for the consequences, you always get a result – bad or good, but something. My life is always on the edge. I love her, she’s so inspiring. She’s fantastic.”

Makeup has been part of Jonas’s life for more than 30 years, as he was drawn to it and started young. His first models were his sister and housekeeper while he was still at primary school. Although unaware then (he studied Journalism before Fashion), he found his métier quickly after his first job in TV, and has sought and overcome challenge after challenge while climbing to the heights he’s documented in this book, OMG!

“When I was a teenager I used to practice to be a makeup artist – I didn’t know I wanted to be a makeup artist, I just wanted to do something with makeup. I got my sister and the housekeeper in our house and I trained them. And they always looked Amazing! But, if they took the makeup off, there was trouble. They had to keep the look – no sweat, nothing – otherwise I’d have to do it again. My sister said, “Mum is going to kill me!” I was like “Leave it!”

“When I decided to study Journalism (and afterwards Fashion) I just wanted to get knowledge, because the most important, even as a makeup artist, is to know the context, the time – what happened, who did what, who was who – and you put it into your work.”

Jonas, in OMG!, exposes for us the depth of his talent in and love of makeup – painting a feeling on skin – and his imagination in the stories and visions he has realised. To us at BOND, this book sings like a love song to the future, and we’re anticipating the excitement from Jonas’s fertile mind in all he does next.

“When you’ve done something amazing, that inspires people, they will try and try harder. I just want to inspire people to believe in themselves!

“I think that it will be the happiest day in my life when I hold this book in my hands. People have no idea how it is hard – I’m not joking – to take 250 images from the idea to finish is enormous work.

“It’s going to be my open legs.”