The way James Abu-Ulba talks about hair is almost as fluid and intriguing as the way he styles it. He has gone one step further as an inspiring artist by truly learning about himself and his craft. He has methodological innateness to him that stems from his craft - it is no wonder that he has founded Method Education. Constantly taking steps back and seeing where he is, where his is going and where he has come from, James is the perfect example of the educated stylist - constantly looking to see where he can improve. Looking at his collections, from skill to concept you can see this method has paid off. Take a peek at his latest collection – Ideja – and learn about the artistic process behind it!
You talk about the reinvention of your method, how do you feel this has changed over the years and what steps have you taken to ensure your creativity is fostered?
We have all been told not to work in a box! That has stuck with me and for many years. I was exploring a methodology that I imagined was freeing myself from this box, but in reality was putting me further into a box, to where I didn’t know I was in one. I still remember the day that it hit me. It hit me like a rock, and it scared me. I may not be the hairdresser that reinvents the industry the way Vidal did so many years ago, but I’m certainly not going to be the hairdresser who hasn’t tried. What I find from myself as well as other hairdressers are that we are spending so much time proving ourselves right, over and over again, that this box gets bigger and deeper and not just for myself. How do I ensure that this doesn’t happen again, well you can’t, unless you are in a constant state of being uncomfortable? This is where learning happens; this is where you are exploring methods and ideas. This exciting part of this is the outcome is new, and creativity and inspiration are fostered. I want to make one thing clear. I respect this industry and all the methods that I have learned. Respect the past and embrace the future. There is more out there. It just hasn’t been discovered. We as hairdressers deserve it to the future of the industry to create projects that make us uncomfortable.
How have the changes in your artistry also impacted your personal life?
I see inspiration from everything; my children, music, a walk in the woods. Mother Nature is the ultimate colorist and seamstress through textures and dimensions.
How do you set goals? And celebrate accomplishments?
Setting goals are easy for me because I have ca lear idea of what I want from my career. I start from the end and break it down into bite size pieces that can be achieved easily. I have taken courses on this specific topic – how to write goals and achieve them. This is something I encourage everyone to do.
Celebrating accomplishments. Hmmm, that is a little more difficult for me. I have very high expectations of myself and when it is time to celebrate, that is a weakness. I want to be very real here. I take a couple minutes in my mind and I tell myself “well done, now lets move on” writing this now is a bit of a reality check for me. Perhaps I need to write an accomplishment goal?
Where do you see your work going from here?
I don’t know, and that is exactly what I love about this new process. I know that I will be focusing on two different aspects.
1. Commercial: this is something 100% of hairdressers can relate to, great marketing for my salon and elevation courses offer by METHOD.EDUCATION.
2. Unknown Creative: This is the experimentation. I’m finding myself exploring Science at the moment, elements and their reactions. Thant’s about all I can tell you this moment. I have not bridged the gap between this and hair, but I am working on it and hope to produce images soon.
When you’re not focused on hair, what hobbies or activities do you have?
I have two small children and an amazing wife, so when hair isn’t in my hands, they are everything. They are my driving force and I love spending as much time as possible with them. I love Photography and design and Vinyl. Truth be told, I’m always thinking about hair, like I said earlier inspiration happens all the time.
Are there any movements you are predicting for the season’s ahead or hair “trends” that you are looking forward to?
The Imprinter and Flamboyage, which were conceived by Angelo Seminara for Davines are new tools for color that I am really excited about.
I have worked with Flamboyage for a couple years now and the possibilities of color are endless, well it is as endless as your creativity. This Imprinter is a magical tool that allows you to create dimensional colors that have not been possible in the past. However, it is up to us behind the chair to make it consumer friendly. That is our role and our responsibility – to take what is couture and make it friendly for the public to wear.
In my chair, I’m looking for unstructured hair, texture, and movement. Hair that still feels like hair. Keep in mind when I use the term unstructured, I am respecting the knowledge I have acquired from the past. No the rules before you break the rules.
I don’t like to say “ well micro bangs are in” therein for the right lifestyle, person, face shape. I look at a trend as something’s that can be suited to everyone’s lifestyle and personality. Something that is unique to one but adaptable to many.
HAIR: James Abu-Ulba
PHOTOGRAPHY: Coby Photography
Makeup: Ashley Young
MODELS: Ashley Young & Jessika Raven
STYLING: James Abu-Ulba
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