There’s no shortage of artistic talent and creativity in this industry, but a few artists lead the way when it comes to inspiration and motivation.
This is the second installment of a five-part series. This month, we spotlight U.S. and Canadian nail artists whose high-profile talents and designs have set new consumer trends or inspired other nail artists to improve their nail art skills. There are many nail artists who are best known for their accomplishments as teachers and manufacturers, and they will be profiled in upcoming issues.
Last month we profiled the most influential nail technicians (primarily nail techs and salon owners whose main focus is in the salon). Over the coming months, we’ll profile the newsmakers and the manufacturers and inventors who have made this $6.5 billion industry what it is today. These selections and profiles reflect the research of the NAILS editorial staff. There is nothing scientific about our research except for the fact that we talked to hundreds of people who had both history and deep involvement in the industry.
Obviously, those people still working in the industry now are on the forefront of people’s minds and we may have missed some early pioneers: But we are compiling the list … the 50 Most Influential People in the Nail Industry, which will run later this year. We will produce this list based on the votes and input from readers after this series concludes.
Anthony’s mastery of the airbrush is challenged by none, and she’s been sharing her expertise with nail technicians for most of her 20 years in the industry. As owner of Palatine, Ill.-based Elizabeth Anthony Enterprises, she has taught countless educational seminars on airbrushing in addition to producing an airbrushing video series.
Downey, Calif.-based Eimsuk Arminio was one of the industry’s first high-profile nail artists and has been featured in the LA. Times as well as on “Two on the Town,” and “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” to name a few. While pursuing other interests now, Arminio still manages her salon, markets her handpainting video, and teaches.
Sherric Cassell’s nail art trademark may be French manicure florals, but her versatility allows her to handpaint or airbrush “just about anything” on request. Since her first NAILS appearance in January 1993, Cassell, who works at Mister Rogers’ Hair Styling in Camarillo, Calif., has contributed her expertise to numerous articles, most recently as a regular “how-to” columnist.
Dianne D’Agnolo, manager of Too Much Fun, Mission Viejo, Calif., gained recognition for her airbrushing skills, even before she was licensed, when a distributor hired her straight out of school to educate. D’Agnolo still spends much of her time on the road educating, but she finds time to research new products such as the now-patented airbrush masks she developed.
Liz Fojon’s incredible airbrush designs, handpainted scenes, and portraits have been featured in countless issues of NAILS since we first met her in 1985, as well as in other publications such as Airbrush Action. An educator, author, top competitor, and owner of Phenomanails salon in Fair Lawn, N.J., Fojon also deserves recognition as the innovator of carved nail tips.
Judy Jensen of Studio 302 in Las Vegas has clients who drive from as far away as Hollywood for her distinct handpainted designs. An avid competitor for 10 years, Jensen says her work is distinguished by her art’s “personality.”
Windsor, Ontario-based Nanda Khin has traveled near and far – from the United States to Poland, from Costa Rica to the United Arab Emirates – educating other nail artists. An avid competitor for the past four years, Khin enjoys airbrushing for the color gradations and handpainting for its unlimited possibilities and fine details.
A regular in Nail Art Studio, Lombardi’s freehand colorful floral designs appear to be fresh from the garden. A two-time finalist in Best of Reader Nail Art, the owner of Nicely Nailed in Easton, Pa., says she hasn’t yet had time to compete or educate others because of her salon schedule, but she’s hopeful for the future!
Longhini, who like many others has turned her love of art into a product company, also is the founder of Nail Art Newz, a quarterly how-to newsletter and website (www.nailartnewz.com). All this and she still services a full clientele at Salon Imagine in Lake Worth, Fla.
An on-and-off again competitor for six years, Macauley (Bakersfield, Calif.) managed to collect more than 30 trophies before founding Spaz Nail Art. The 1995 author of “Nail Art at Your Fingertips,” Macauley just released “Flip It” instructional nail art strips. Macauley regularly conducts private training classes in addition to directing and judging competitions and contributing to industry publications.
Another regular in Nail Art Studio, Kim Matos says her next career move is to begin offering educational and motivational seminars in addition to her work as manager of Linden, N.J.-based Naughty by Nails. Talented with both the paintbrush and the airbrush, Matos says she likes to vary the subjects she paints and the colors she uses.
Mendonca’s handpainted designs are distinguished by vibrant colors blended together, resulting in striking, realistic scenes. Challenged to recreate a detailed painted image from a greeting card recently, Massachusetts-based Mendonca won the dare – in one hour.
For almost 10 years Montero-Knapp’s airbrushed designs have inspired nail artists reading our Nail Art Studio section. Co-owner of Snips & Tips in Redbank, N.J., Montero-Knapp recently was described by Sue Schultes as “one of the best airbrush artists in the country.”
While perhaps better known for her sculptured acrylics, Kim Morgan has won many awards for her nail art skills as well. Though we’ve recently lost touch with Morgan, her number-one spot on NAILS’ Top 25 Competitors Ranking in 1993 and 1994 assured her spot.
A frequent contributor to Airbrush Action and co-author of an airbrushing textbook, Sandi Nidetz of Elk Grove, Calif., not only inspires with her detailed, vivid scenes, but has shown others how to achieve similar results for more than seven years as an educator and mentor. Nidetz travels the country offering group classes and private lessons.
Now an educator for Portland-based Medea Airbrush, Doeling-Posen began airbrushing on nails more than 15 years ago, at one time running her own educational company. A top airbrush artist, Doeling-Posten often layers stencils and masks for a 3-D effect.
“Rena’s abilities in fine art are quite simply remarkable,” cited one nail art afficianado. Rivera-Ryan, who works at Beauty Paradise in Jacksonville, Fla., was a top competitor from the late ‘80s through 1995, when she stopped competing to focus on running her salon.
A self-proclaimed “copy artist.” Luann Rounds of Krimpers Cutting Salon in St. Petersburg, Fla., competed intensely for five years but now prefers to focus on her son, her clientele, and private nail art lessons where she tries to pass on her skills with fine lines and distinct coloration.
Rowson first learned airbrushing to offer her clients a full repertoire of nail art. Next thing she knew, it became her specialty and led to the production of an airbrushing video, “Colors in Motion.” Among her clients, Rowson was well-known for nails cut at a slant and avant-garde airbrush designs. Though we’ve lost touch with her, she was a well-known nail artist in the mid-‘90s.
Dawn Marie Scheper
Between her use of vibrant colors and bold shapes, Dawn Marie Scheper of Nails By Gunpoint in San Jose, Calif., is not surprised when her clients identify each other through her artwork. A frequent contributor to NAILS, Scheper developed a nail art curriculum in 1992 that she has since been demonstrating at local beauty schools.
Skilled in both handpainting and airbrushing, Laura Scott’s favorite designs are cartoons. Having spent her first 18 years in the industry competing in handpainted nail art contests, Scott, owner of Virtu Nail Studio in Newhall, Calif., has left the winner’s circle for the classroom to educate other nail artists airbrushing techniques.
Sue Ellen Schultes
Rare is the nail technician who hasn’t at least heard of Sue Ellen Schutles’ work. Owner of Notorious Nail Seminars, Green Brook, N.J., Schultes teaches group classes and has produced eight videos for those who can’t learn from her in person. Distinguished by her flair for fine detail, Schultes also is a contributor to NAILS’ Nail Art Studio and features.
Suggs is another nail artist we’ve recently lost touch with, but her regular appearances as a guest columnist from 1994 through 1996, as well as her contributions to nail art features as recently as this past June, not to mention her skilled command of an airbrush, makes her a shoo-in.
Just married, Sue Tumblety says she won’t be using her husband’s last name for work – and little wonder! Tumblety is synonymous in this industry with handpainted miniature portraits, though she says she’s doing more free-form designs. Having published both a nail art textbook for professionals as well as one that just came out for children, Tumblety says she may soon begin educating and she’s working on a web page.
A Nail Art Studio regular since 1996, Yankee-Williams recently served as one of the judges for Beautytech’s online nail art contest. With nail art customers traveling to her Long Island salon from as far as Washington D.C., she says marbleized designs