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æ Mad Moxie Makeup artist Madison Barker has created a gallery of gorgeous paintings on her clients’ bodies. written by Caitlin Adams photographed by Madison Barker and Holly Clay


rt has been an integral part of Madison “Madi” Barker’s life since she was a little girl. Barker, an Oxford resident, spent many weekends in her childhood frequenting art festivals with her mother, art teacher Holly Clay. “I remember getting off from school and going to her classroom,” Barker said. “I was always around art and encouraged to do whatever I wanted creatively.” But it wasn’t until Barker, now 21, was in the 10th grade at Oxford High School that she found her true creative outlet: makeup and body paint. At the time, Barker had difficulty communicating with classmates and was misdiagnosed with dyslexia. “I had a hard time in school relating to my peers,” she said. “I was anxious. School was a struggle.” Years later, Barker learned she did not

have dyslexia but rather Asperger’s syndrome, which affects social skills. But as a teenager in the halls of OHS, Barker simply knew that finding common ground with those around her did not come easy. That year, she tapped into eye shadow and lipstick to bridge the gap and entered a makeup competition. Barker’s penchant for bold colors and statement-making themes was an immediate hit among her peers. Classmates with whom she had never spoken suddenly had a reason to approach her. “Everybody started coming up to me and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I love your artwork. Can I model for you?’” she said. “I finally felt like I could converse with my peers. It opened a whole other dialogue.” What started as a way to express herself quickly morphed into a career. Barker left OHS

during her junior year, opting for a GED rather than a traditional diploma. She studied cosmetology at Northwest Mississippi Community College with the goal of becoming a licensed cosmetologist, a calculated step in her career. The additional certification, which lay makeup artists don’t have, gives Barker credentials for work with models and on film sets. “It means you can pluck somebody’s eyebrows without having them sign a consent form,” she said. “It’s a better experience for everyone.” For three years Barker worked in salons, saving her earnings to open a space of her own. She recently left the salon environment and works as a freelancer out of her home in a spare bedroom/makeshift studio that she dubs her “creative domain.” Barker offers an array of salon services, including hair, makeup, nails,

Barker’s portfolio, The Mad Moxie, showcases a number of looks she has created, from fantasy to theme to glamour. Above: A “Hunger Games”-inspired look. Opposite: (top row, left to right) “I Am ...” “Candy Shop.” “Mad Hatter.” (center) “Mermaid.” (bottom row, left to right) “Queen of Hearts.” “Goddess.” “Faith.”

52 INVITATION OXFORD | June/July 2018

Invitation Oxford - June/July 2018  
Invitation Oxford - June/July 2018