Rose Shirkey: Birthday Toast(ed)


Artist Statement

Birthday Toast(ed) is a special effects (SFX) makeup design, inspired by the song “Pity Party” by Melanie Martinez. Special effects makeup is a form of makeup in which non-beauty makeup products, such as latex, fake blood, prosthetics, and scar wax, are used to create an illusion. This may be of an injury, a mutant transformation, a supernatural creature, or just an animal. Many movies, shows, and other productions use some form of special effects makeup. When designing an SFX look, the artist gathers information on a character that has, in most cases, been provided to them. They use personality traits, original and altered appearances, as well as the background story to design the makeup. In the case of Birthday Toast(ed) , the character threw a birthday party that ended in flames. She was all dolled up in a floral dress and makeup, when disaster struck! While lighting the birthday candles, gas from a previously unknown gas leak caused a small explosion. Half of her face was devastatingly burnt, a candle got stuck in her forehead, and as if that wasn’t enough, sprinkles stuck to the freshly burnt skin. Completely distraught by the event, she cried until she pushed her sorrows aside, developing a more “whatever” attitude, allowing her anger and dismissiveness to fully affect her, as seen in the images. Birthday Toast(ed) is an SFX look, captured in 4 photographs, displaying the end result of this character’s story.

About the project 

  • Title of Work: Birthday Toast(ed)
  • Medium: Special Effects Makeup/Stage Makeup
  • Student's Name: Rose Shirkey
  • Major: Biological Sciences
  • Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2024
  • Hometown: Jacksonville, Illinois
  • Student's Mentor: Marc Vital
  • Mentor's Department: Fine Arts - Costuming
  • Art Project ID: 21VADS - 023


Karen Nobis

This looks amazing! Good job!


Valerie Shirkey

Rose is continuing to grow in her abilities and designs. She truly enjoys this part of her expressiveness.  


Jim Spain

This is stunning work Rose - congratulations.  Can't wait to see the future designs you will create and share.


Barb hobbs

Beautiful pick! You have amazing talent.


Ashley Hulsey

Great job sis!  It looks amazing!  You are very talented and I am very proud of you!