How long have you been doing nail art and what inspired you to start?
The first time I ever did nail art was for Valentine's Day when I was in 6th grade (I think that was like 2001, or something). I painted my nails white and drew little red hearts with a toothpick and they were randomly scattered on the nail. A girl in gym class said it looked ugly and stupid and that was the end of nail art for me - until I went to Japan in 2009.
During my study abroad in Osaka, I had access to so many new ways to decorate my nails! I had never before seen so many appliques, nail stickers, nail pens, the range of deco parts such as fimo flowers and rhinestones in every size and shape in one place in my life!!!!! Not to mention the range of colors, kinds of glitters in polish and readily available super cheap mini polishes in mind-blowing shades! I could pick up nail art supplies at the equivalent of a 7-11 (actually, it's called 7-11 there too). Needless to say I amassed quite a bit of supplies and was exposed to girls that decorated their nails to the high heavens. Their enthusiasm about decorated nails really inspired me to start experimenting with untraditional french tips and making bows on the nails. I even made my first franken when I was in Japan (basically a bluer version of Deborah Lippmann's Waking Up In Vegas) cause I could find just about every color but grey in Japan.
When I returned to America, I was sorely disappointed in the lack of nail art supplies that were available even at beauty supply stores, and I live in NYC - we've got some really crazy beauty supply stores!! So, without a quick fix, I determined to do it myself! Since I couldn't rely on crazy stickers for decoration, I turned to the lacquer brush. I never looked back.
What products did you use for the Celine mani?
I started out with a base coat - ALWAYS use a base coat, please. My good friend Haley (lupulin.tumblr.com) always says a manicure is like a sandwich wherein the base and top coats are the bread and the color is the proverbial meat. I alternate base coats between CND Stickey and Quimica Alemana Nail Hardener. Since I change my mani maybe once every three days or so, I have to be careful about how frequently I use Quimica Alemana, as a nail hardener can make your nails too brittle, and then all that length just snaps right off. In the interest of full disclosure, Q.A. nail hardener does contain the F-bomb (and that's why it works). I'm not pregnant, and I'm pretty sure you have to, like, bathe in Formaldehyde for days before you are at a potential harmful exposure level.
Anyways, after the base was dry I used two coats of Deborah Lippmann It's Raining Men (it's seriously a perfect red, and applies like a dream!). American Apparel California Trooper for flowers and the polka dots. Revlon Royal dried to the almost-black navy shade you see over DL's IRM.
I also used a Sinful Colors mauve shade (sticker fell off, can't remember name/number sorry) for dots on the white flowers. I used a dotting tool for the dots (haha that sounds redundant) and I twirled the lacquer brush in the rim of the bottle until most of the polish was wiped off to freehand the flower shapes. I like the "brushiness of them" - I tried to recreate the vintage 70's style of the blouse. Waited a really long time (cause dots always smear) to apply INM's Out The Door quick dry top coat. Done and done. When I finished this mani I giggled cause I loved it so much!!
What is the one product/tool/supply you couldn't live without?
Wait, only one?
Product I can't live without: Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover! It's pricey, but it helped my cuticles get back into the shape they were when I came into this world as a newborn!! Seriously! This product does all the work for me and I will never think about cutting cuticles every again (not like one should ever, but, you know...)
Tool: A nail buffer. I rarely rock naked nails so I've got slight yellowing issues that I keep in control by buffing once every 7-10 days. It exfoliates the surface and removes the discolored layer of nail. You know nails are kinda like our skin - except that they don't regenerate on the surface so they need a little extra help!
Supply: 100% Acetone. Yeah, I said it. It's super drying but makes cleanup from, say, a marble manicure practically no work at all. And I need it to clean my art brushes. And my work station. And wherever else lacquer ends up (the floor, my jeans, and sometimes face).
Is there any trend or technique you want to try but haven't yet?
Trend-wise, if I want to try it - I do. I'm not going to do my nails leopard print cause it's a trend. In fact, I'm not sure you could get leopard print on my nails. Zebra, giraffe, domestic cat, sure. But the leopard trend by now is so ubiquitous by now I feel no need to have it on my tips. Maybe I'll think of a way to deconstruct the pattern and do a mani based off'a that. Hey, thanks for the inspo~!
Technically speaking, however, one day I will learn to do gel and/or acrylic extensions. I have naturally long nails and would like to keep it that way, however I recently felt that a fake nail was the way to go. I broke a long nail right before I did my NYE mani (which in my opinion is more important than the birthday mani), and there was no way that all the other nails were going to get cut to even out my length. I had to run to Duane Reade for some Kiss Active Ovals and some Krazy Glue right quick and shape myself a new nail. It was humiliating and if I had acrylic/gel enhancement capabilities I would have not panicked so much.
What trend do you wish would go away forever?
Long, square french tips. This especially goes for the toes, too.
What inspires you?
Everything. Aside from the more obvious/easily translatable corporate logos and fashion-related objects, really weird things also inspire me. Seriously - shell and rock cement textures, bicycle spokes, fat marbles in meat and carbonation in sodas. Also, living in NYC is a full blown inspiration in itself! The NYC subway system provides endless manicure inspiration! I can't tell you how many creepy photos I've got on my phone of strangers on the train with a really great plaid color combination or a pattern on their top that goes with a weird color on their pants. In fact, the whole genesis of my blog came about when I started taking pictures of girls' nails on the train.
Who is your favorite nail artist?
Other than myself? Just kidding - there are so many talented artists out there it's hard to choose so I'll fall back on some heavy-hitting nail queens to answer this Q:
Nagi Coco (disco-nail.tumblr.com)
Fleury Rose (fleuryrosenails.tumblr.com)
Sophy Robson (sosoflynails.tumblr.com)
Any advice for people just starting out?
Just Do It. Practice and watch tutorials! Don't let the haters get you down. And of course, stay weird.
Thanks Anna! Stay awesome!
Don't forget to check out the rest of her amazing work at Mani-FestDestiny