Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Interview with makeup artist and goth model Chinzyllah by Dave Wolff

Interview with makeup artist and goth model Chinzyllah

Asphyxium Zine: Your Instagram profile partly describes you as a “darkly inclined makeup enthusiast”. Can you elaborate on what such a statement is intended to mean?
Chinzyllah: For me, being darkly inclined is defined by one’s passionate connection to the darker aspects of life. I’m sure many would immediately identify me as a goth, but I prefer not to be limited to only one hue of darkness. I also draw much of my inspiration from the black metal musical genre. I’ve classified myself as a makeup enthusiast rather than a makeup artist, as I lack the formal training that’s usually required. Furthermore, I’ve never considered myself to be worthy of being recognized as a legitimate artist of any kind. Perhaps I’m more humble than what is healthy, but I just don’t agree with being appraised at a high value.”

Asphyxium Zine: Which of life’s darker aspects do you feel a connection with, and where does the passion for these connections come from? Did you feel these connections from a young age or did they develop over time?
Chinzyllah: The darkest aspect of life is death itself, as that is where life as we currently know it ends. There have been numerous occasions, mostly throughout my teenage years, where being smitten by death’s eternal embrace was almost fatal. I’ve felt the longing for death to claim my life since the age of twelve, which is also another way of saying that I’ve been coping with severe depression for about thirteen years. In saying that, I suppose my passion for life’s ultimate hue of darkness is sourced by my ever-evolving battle with depression.

Asphyxium Zine: Goth and black metal has more connotations today than in the past. These include a wider spectrum of colors, albeit all darker. How many different aspects of these aesthetics are you drawing from and/or creating?
Chinzyllah: For me, inspiration is born from a multitude of avenues that extend beyond musical genres or subcultural themes. Honestly, most of my creations start without blueprints; I just start mixing the ingredients on my face and allow nature to take its course until I deem it finished. Viewing the results of my efforts, some may find that hard to believe but it’s the absolute truth.

Asphyxium Zine: Are you a long time listener of black metal or did you discover it in later years? Is there any particular subgenre of black metal you resonate with? How many similarities, musical and/or visual, do you see between black metal and goth?
Chinzyllah: My ears tasted black metal for the very first time during my high school years, so I’ve been a listener of the genre for about a decade or so now. As a teenager, I decided that I wanted to practice LaVeyan Satanism to rebel against my Christian upbringing, Upon making this decision, I started doing research on Satanic worship music. During the Christian sermon structure, the musical component was always captivating for me. That being said, I just couldn’t envision a religion without music as I’d previously known music’s integral role within Christianity. Not long after beginning my search for Satan-praising musicians, I first happened upon Gorgoroth and was not disappointed with what I’d heard. Moving forward, there isn’t a black metal subgenre that I favour more over others; I enjoy just about anyone in the genre besides Burzum. I’ve personally never recognized any similarities between black metal and goth, as they are two entirely different entities both musically and aesthetically.

Asphyxium Zine: How much of your innermost emotions can you channel into your work without revealing too much of it? Where do you have to draw the line?
Chinzyllah: The amount of inward thoughts and emotions that I express through makeup is virtually limitless. Placing a cap on the emotional value of my looks hasn’t felt necessary, not yet anyway. I may not consider myself good enough to be dubbed as a “true” artist, but I recognize that whatever I create evokes a unique response from each viewer much like art does. Among my current viewership, accurate readings of what internal processes I’m externalizing through makeup has been an infrequent occurrence. With that in mind, expressing my true self with this particular method doesn’t make me feel vulnerable. Most don’t really pick up on how influential my subconscious is on my hand during each brushstroke, so there’s little concern for being too revealing.

Asphyxium Zine: Does improvising your designs without blueprints or pre-planning give you more room for expression? Is it too much for some to handle if they’re unfamiliar with black metal or goth?
Chinzyllah: Although it may not be the best approach for those with limited patience, it absolutely provides me with the freedom to authentically express myself. On average, the assemblage time for my makeup alone usually takes anywhere between two to four hours which has definitely helped with improving my patience over the years. As for my chosen presentation being too intense for some, that can be immediately confirmed by having me enter the local grocery store in my full form. I was born and raised within a small tourist town, so I’m sure you can imagine the many gawks and fearful mutterings I often receive based upon their beliefs in highly inaccurate stereotypes.

Asphyxium Zine: What about your Christian upbringing did you most want to rebel against? Are you still in that frame of mind or do you feel you have grown on your own terms since then?
Chinzyllah: As your typical angsty teenager, I just really wanted to rebel against my parents and their predetermined destiny for my life which had no consideration for the person I truly am. Looking back, nothing healthy ever came from trying to be one with their god growing up. My mother would regularly claim that I wouldn’t have had so many struggles in life had I just given Jesus more room within my heart and mind. Meanwhile, the large religious target placed upon my back during childhood predisposed me to over a decade’s worth of bullying and almost led me into a dysfunctional marriage years later. Although these negative experiences were indeed painful, I don’t think I’d be as well-equipped for life had it not been for those growing pains.

Asphyxium Zine: What kind of stereotypes have you dealt with, and how did religion play into them? In what ways was the left hand path an answer when it came to choosing your own path?
Chinzyllah: I’ve been met with several stereotypes throughout my existence, the most common being the goth stereotype. People who aren’t even vaguely familiar with the gothic subculture really let their ignorance shine through, when they make the assumption that I’m inherently evil due to the dark elements I adorn myself with. I understand that some folks are well-intended and are just trying to compliment my sense of style the way they know best; so I try to remain respectful in hopes of debunking that stereotype’s validity. When you throw religion into the mix, it becomes much more tiresome for me to acknowledge as most religious folk have perceived me as a missionary’s conquest. Venturing down the left path was necessary for my journey of self-discovery, it’s also what saved my life in a way. If I’d remained on the Christian road that I was brought up on, I don’t believe I would’ve been able to accept myself for who I truly am or feel anything besides shame.

Asphyxium Zine: How important a role, if any, do the mediums of music and film play in your self-expression?
Chinzyllah: Honestly, I’m not a huge movie buff. When the mood strikes, I enjoy classic horror films and well as select modern film series like Lord Of The Rings and Underworld. With how little I watch movies, or even just general television, I can’t say that the film industry has had a significant role in my daily life or the way I choose to express myself. On the other hand, music has definitely played a major role in my form of self-expression and shall continue to until there’s nothing left for me to express. When the music stops, so do I. Creating anything without the musical accompaniment to fuel me throughout the creative process, would be comparable to going on a deep sea dive without a breathing apparatus.

-Dave Wolff

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