Makeup Artist Rouge and Roses Creates Looks Inspired by Tattoos

Tattoos, by nature, are a two-dimensional art form. Sure, some artists make pieces pop off the skin with their three-dimensional tricks, but you can’t pick up a tattoo and see it from all sides.

But Alexis Rose is changing the game. The self-taught makeup artist and tattoo fan from San Diego, California is bringing popular tattoos to life by recreating them with cosmetics and sharing them on her Instagram account.

Rose, who started working as a professional makeup artist 7 years ago, says that a tattoo done by Chris Primm who works out of The Grim Reaper inspired her to give recreating tattoos a try. “I was scrolling down on my feed and noticed a lot of lady head tattoos that would make awesome makeup looks,” says Rose. “I found Chris’ [tattoo] and felt it was something my skill set could tackle at the time.”

Rouge and Roses Chris Primm tattoo
Alexis’ first tattoo recreation, inspired by artist Chris Primm.

Since then, Rose has quickly grown her Instagram following by masterfully mirroring the work of popular artists ranging from Dusty Neal and Kelly Doty to Hannah Flowers and Dave Paulo. She is constantly searching for tattoos that she thinks will translate into makeup looks.

Recently, says Rose, she’s been searching for tattoos that will challenge her to get out of her comfort zone.

“Some of the ones I’ve done were things I wasn’t exactly sure would work out,” she says, referencing the Dan Gagne Pazuzu piece she mimicked. “I had a subconscious preference for color tattoos until someone pointed it out and made me aware, so I’ll be trying to do more black and grey and blackwork tattoos in the future.”

Makeup look inspired by Dan Gagne tattoo
Makeup look inspired by Dan Gagne’s art.

Behind the Scenes: What it Takes to Recreate Tattoos

Rose puts a lot of work into crafting each one of her makeup looks, and some are easier to do than others. “The shortest time I think was around half an hour,” she says. “The longest—so far—was 7 hours.”

Makeup look inspired by Dave Paulo tattoo
Alexis Rose recreates a horror-inspired tattoo by Dave Paulo.

Once she’s done with her makeup and hair, Rose uses a ring light and poses in front of a black backdrop until she gets the perfect shot. “I usually have makeup scattered around me, my legs crossed, and I’m looking all kinds of crazy until BAM, I somehow get a decent shot,” she says.

Inspiring Tattoo Artists With Original Art

While many of the posts on Rose’s account are inspired by the work of tattoo artists, she also puts up original makeup looks to influence other artists. “The ones with no comparison to tattoos are makeup looks I’ve created to provide a reference or inspiration to artists that follow my page,” she says.

Rouge and Roses original makeup look for tattoo inspiration
One of Alexis’ original looks to inspire tattoo artists

And tattoo artists are taking notice of Rose’s work. Kristen Elaine at True Love Tattoo in Martinsburg, West Virginia created a tattoo inspired by one of Rose’s looks. And Nicholas Keiser, who owns Materia Tattoo in Downingtown, Pennsylvania drew up a piece based off of a vampire look that Rose posted. Keiser also worked with Rose to put the design on a t-shirt, which is available to purchase through Rose’s online store.

DeadMeat, aka Nicholas Keiser and Rouge and Roses collab
Tattoo artist Nicholas Keiser drew up an image inspired by one of Alexis’ makeup looks.

“He said he as soon as he saw it, he had to draw it,” she says. “He’s someone I’ve looked up to for a while, so it is an honor that he not only drew my design, but was also willing to release a collab with me.”  

The Power of Community and Connection

Rose plans to continue to recreate tattoos and hopes that more artists will be able to leverage her makeup looks as inspiration for their own work. She says that she’d like to take her talent and build up her brand outside of Instagram in the near future. “I’d really like to attend conventions as a vendor or maybe even a performer and do a makeup transformation as an event,” she says.

Rouge and Roses pink devil makeup look
A pink devil look, inspired by one of Lucy Blue’s tattoos.

But Rose isn’t spending hours in front of her vanity to get Instagram famous. She explains that the relationships, mutual creativity, and good vibes keep her excited to try new looks and keep posting.

“I love how much the page has connected me to people all over the world,” says Rose. “I just hope that the connection grows stronger and that I can offer a sense of community among makeup lovers and tattoo lovers alike.”

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