We are thrilled to partner once again with the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) to promote all of the talented artists who are finalists for the 2017 NAHAs (North American Hairstyling Awards), the most prestigious hair and beauty award in the country. In this feature get to know more about this year's Haircolor Finalist, Lesley Spencer.
The delicate dance between cut and color is what makes Lesley Spencer’s images so aesthetically pleasing. Whisking us off our feet in a dreamlike state, her looks make us want to transcend into the world of her art. What is even more beautiful than her work is the inspiration behind it. Learn more about Lesley as an artist and what she learned about herself through this competition.
What is your favorite thing about haircolor?
Over the years, I’ve put every colour of the rainbow onto my clients. I love seeing the transformation. Of course the cut is a very important aspect of it, but colour does something else to people. Makes their eyes pop. Makes their skin glow. It can show attitude. Style. It’s a conversation starter, or a way to identify with people. Much like tattoos, piercings, or the clothes you wear, hair colour can be a statement to the world about who you are. It’s great that I can help people express themselves in that way. Also, I just love creating the colour, mixing up my own tones and customizing a colour that’s unique for each client.
What was the inspiration behind this collection?
One of my big inspirations for this collection came from the Pantone colour of the year, “Greenery”. It speaks volumes about our world right now. We live in a time of excess and waste, which had led to pollution, global warming, etc. However, there is a lot of pushback against the movement to be more sustainable. I like to think “Greenery” represents that resilience. Working for a company like Aveda, who promotes green living, using natural ingredients, and reducing your environmental footprint, has shaped the way I view the world.
How did you work with your team to craft the final image?
My partner Tracy Newton and I spent months gathering images, creating vision boards, swatching colours, and practicing cuts on mannequins. From there we hit the streets to find the perfect model for each look. We then adjusted accordingly. The model you get can change things slightly—the length of the cut based on the shape of their face, the colour based on their tone of skin, etc. Nothing turns out how you initially plan it, but it’s all the more exciting.
Which did you concentrate on first – the cut or the color?
Really, it was collaboration. Tracy Newton and I fed off of each other's energy and bounced ideas back and forth until a solid vision was formed. One did not come before the other.
What was your biggest challenge
The biggest challenge was deciding on the final ideas. Unfortunately, there were some looks we loved but for one reason or another they didn’t make the cut—at least for this time around. Though normally indecisive, I think both Tracy and I made the right decisions in the end and couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
How did you ensure the colors came out as you envisioned?
Practice! I spent a lot of time swatching out my colours, practicing placement on mannequin heads, and adding to my vision boards. I don't believe any idea, be it hair colour or any other art form, can come out exactly how imagined. Things change, and that's okay. The evolution of the idea is a part of the whole experience.
Are you predicting any trends?
The 90s for sure are making a come back. A lot of block colouring, interesting colour combinations and a lot of contrast.
Tell us a little more about you, as an artist.
When I do cuts and colour at Aveda, everything is about the client and meeting—or hopefully exceeding—their expectations. When I work on hair as an art form, everything I do is for myself. A lot of artists rely on the opinions of others to feel good about what they’re doing, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Art is deeply personal. It’s an often hidden extension of yourself that you put on display for others to see and to judge. For someone to acknowledge and accept that side of you, and maybe even like it, well, it’s an incredible feeling. For me, however, it's all about the creative journey. At the end of the day, if I did the best I could and had fun doing it then I can be happy and proud of what I’ve accomplished. That's all that matters. Creativity is subjective. Not everyone is going to like what you do and that's okay.
How do you do Vegas?I've never done it!
Salty or sweet?
Couldn't decide. Both!
What did you learn about yourself through creating this collection?
The most important lesson I learned is that you need to trust the creative process. It’s never as straightforward as you might imagine. There are days where no ideas come, and days where nothing you do feels quite right. But you keep pushing and working and eventually you overcome those obstacles. What you set out to make might not be what you end up with, but it’s uniquely yours and all the more wonderful for it. There is no good thing that doesn’t have a good story behind it, and there is no good story without a bit of struggle. It’s all part of the adventure.
If you won the lotto (or slot machine) tomorrow, what would you do?
Take a nice long quiet vacation to recharge.
Be sure to stalk Lesley Spencer on Bangstyle to see even more of her work and stay tuned for all the NAHA inspiration!