OSAGE | Kyera Reams got her start as a face painter at the age of 14, while she was working at the Osage Ben Franklin Store. Twenty years later, she’s still painting faces.
The store owner first asked Reams to face paint during the Fourth of July.
“He already knew I was artistic, because I did the art displays and window displays,” Reams said.
Reams said she has always loved art. “I wanted to be an artist when I was little,” she said. “I loved to paint. My mom was an artist. In high school, I got awards for my art work.”
While Reams is well-known for her face painting, she has also produced some acrylic paintings.
While Reams has the talent to produce paintings, her main interest is still face painting. “I have kind of evolved,” she said. “I started off using paints from the Ben Franklin Store, which wasn’t the best. Later, I met a face painter at an art festival and asked what he used for his face painting.
I then switched to use the stuff he was using."
Today she uses cosmetic-grade paint that is water-based and washable.
Reams said it usually takes her from a minute to five minutes to complete her painting, depending on the design and the child she is painting. Some kids "want to pick up a mirror and look at themselves a dozen times,” she said, “which takes longer.”
Reams, who takes pride in her creations, said, “This isn’t like going to a face painter, it is like having your face painted by an artist. Painting on a canvas is a whole different process, because that is me expressing myself. Face painting is helping someone else express themselves.”
The art form isn’t just for children. “The oldest person I ever painted was 93 years old,” Reams said. ”She had never had it done before and she loved it. Sometimes I get adults who have never had it done before or their children want them to do it.
“Mothers and daughters will sometimes do matching faces or one adult will egg on another adult to do. When I paint an adult, it’s like the child in them is turned on.”
Still, Reams mainly paints children. “The most common designs for boys are comic book characters and super heroes, and the girls’ most common designs are unicorns, rainbows, sunsets and princesses,” Reams said.
“The only kid who didn’t like his face painted was a 3-year-old boy, who was scared because he didn’t recognize himself in the mirror as a tiger,” Reams said. “Most kids really relax during the process and that’s when the paintings come out the best.”