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Pushing Yourself

Patrick McIvor | July 11, 2011 | 12:16 AM
The funny thing about growth is the fact that when we grow, we no longer fit into what we grew from. It is a natural occurrence, but many times we don’t notice, or grow as adults, because growth becomes more incremental in our daily lives and less ground breaking.

When we are young, it’s easy to see growth, whether physical—by measuring height or out growing clothes, or growth through learning—measured by tests or activities. I can still remember the feeling when I realized I learned how to ride a bike and passed the swim test at our swim club. Those moments give us measured increments/moments that prove growth within us, but as adults we don’t always see them and sometimes they aren’t as memorable, though no less important.

The thing about growth is it is painful, and as adults we learn to avoid pain, which means we can also avoid growth. Heck, it is called growing pains for a reason and we know from kids, getting teeth is a painful growing process. The expression “no pain no gain” is a truth, as adults we need to embrace pain or uncomfortable learning experiences knowing we are about to have the chance to grow. On our team, we had a great growth moment while at the Matrix Imagination event.

We went into Matrix Imagination in Palm Springs for a gathering of all the Matrix artists, educators and full-time Matrix/Logics team members, and this year, each brought one invited guest for a total of 1,600 of the coolest industry professionals. I am lucky enough to be a Matrix Artistic Director, and for the opening of Imagination, the Artistic Directors got to put on a show.

The Artistic Director Team was made up of Nicholas French, Daniel Rodan, Nick Stenson, Chrystofer Benson, Brian and Sandra Smith, Ammon Carver and myself. And we were going to create an extravaganza of creativity, energy and ideas shared through the most amazing hair. We met in New York and shared our ideas for each one of our own segments and all quickly got to work.

After the meeting, I ran back to the studio to meet with my friend and stage partner, our Fashion Director, Nathan Rosenkranz, to share the idea of the segment for my presentation that we would do together. The concept was to share hair color ideas to stretch the mind—not practical for everyday—instead, avant garde applications to complement the avant garde hair my colleagues were doing.

We created a video showing how I created wefts using big paint brushes, squeegees, and for one, I applied just the color to the wefts, no developer, and then applied developer with a Matrix “water bottle,” spraying 1 gram of developer at a time while creating an airbrushed effect with the color. The video shoot went great and we flew out to Palm Springs, wefts done, script written and concept understood, to meet our models, add the wefts and rock the stage.

As most of you probably know, I don’t cut hair, I don’t style hair—I color hair, own a studio, coach industry professionals and educate. So when I am on stage, I have always had salon professionals who cut and finish the hair for me wherever I traveled. Now with Matrix, Nathan creates the looks for us. After 20 years, it’s wonderful to have a consistent partner to collaborate with. For Nathan, who leads our team at NYC Fashion Week, it means that our work styled by his hands and under his direction is being featured right next to people like Nicholas French.

As we prepared our models, Nate started by cutting the brunette and redhead model, only needing to trim our blonde model. The team colored them and then started to prepare the wefts as we got set for rehearsal. Rehearsals are always a moving target at shows because set up or load in can go late, plus other groups may need longer to rehearse.

This was the case for us, instead of an afternoon rehearsal, ours was slated for 10pm. That night, we started rehearsal at 10:30pm with Nicholas French first, the Smiths second and then us. I went onstage, first creating wefts on an easel. Our three models were in chairs across the stage, and Nathan came to start styling their hair. As the music grew, Nate grabbed the first model and we stepped up into the flow of air created by a huge fan at the edge of the stage we were going to use to “style” the models' hair, and that’s where we started to fall off the cliff. We didn’t just go past our edge, we Thelma and Louised the edge as wefts were blowing out of the hair and two of our finished models would have looked better if their hair had been done by Stevie Wonder and then been sprayed by a fire hose. It was not good.

When I walked off stage I went to Martin Dale, VP of Education for Matrix, and asked what he thought. He asked me what the hair was going to look like tomorrow and my response, according to Nate, was that it would look like “that.” At this point, Nate had stepped out into the hallway where I found him and asked how he was doing, he replied, “I’m embarrassed.” I asked what we should do and he said give him a minute.  Nate walked back in and said to everyone, “OK what do I need to do?” and the growth began.

We finished our rehearsal at 2:00am that night and the next day were all back in the model room at 4:45am (yes we all had less than 2 hours sleep). With some creative advice from Chrystofer Benson and Daniel Rodan, plus encouragement from the entire Matrix team, Nate re-crafted and recreated looks for our models and I could not have been more proud, not only for the hair that Nathan created to represent our team and Matrix, but also for the person he is. As a mentor, I always look to see how people react during the learning process, especially when we don’t get the result we are looking for, or as some might call it, make a mistake. It is how we react to going over our edge that measures how much we can grow.

That weekend, Nathan grew more than most of us would grow in a year. He went beyond what he thought his skills level was at the time and grew beyond what he ever imagined, while the team grew to respect him even more because of the person he is.

Patrick McIvor, Matrix Artistic Director – the leading professional haircare and haircolor company in the United States and part of the L’Oreal USA Professional Products Division. He owns patrick mcivor color studio (Bethlehem, PA) and studio two (Allentown, PA) – the two hottest hair studios in the Lehigh Valley. As one of the most respected colorists in the industry, McIvor mentors his team by involving them in runway work at New York Fashion Week; fashion/beauty editorial shoots and interviews with publications like Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Real Simple, Seventeen, Family Circle and Allure (editors named him best colorist in the USA); and television segments on “The 10! Show”/NBC Channel 10, WFMZ “Channel 69 News” and “Good Housekeeping Reports.” His studio provides stellar hair services inspired by international cosmopolitan influences such as fashion, cultural and global trends. In other words, guests leave with beautiful, sexy believable hair. McIvor is also featured in the book “50 Hairstylists.”
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