I have a love/hate relationship with other techs' art. On one hand, I collect it, I study it, I admire it, and sometimes I like to try my hand at emulating it. And I'm sure it comes as no surprise — and probably happens to you all the time too — that sometimes my clients spend their days combing the Internet for pictures of really cool nails in hopes that I'll be able to recreate the designs on their own digits.
I hate this.
I mean, I love this... but I hate it. On one hand, I dig the challenge. The opportunity to find out if I can do something that isn't what I normally do. Can I recreate these nails? On the other hand, I know they won't look exactly the same. I am not one of those artists who devote their lives to being able to meticulously copy the Mona Lisa in an effort to create an exact replica so perfect that only the most highly trained appraisers can tell the difference.
I am not a tribute band.
My work will look like my work. It will have that Maggie-spin.
Most people who bring in a photo of someone else's nails realize that and don't really expect Xerox-like duplication. But every once in a while someone wrinkles up their brow as I'm concentrating on a technique that isn't my forte, and when I look up — beaming with satisfied pride at my rendition — I see their expression. Not just disappointed, but disapproving. Not just not what they had in mind, but downright irritated that I did not live up to their expectations of me as some sort of miracle cover artist. Some sort of scanner/copier/printer incarnate who was supposed to be able to turn out the same design from the photo — often originally created by a nail tech from Puerto Rico who was also, just to mention, probably right-handed. (Being left-handed lends a distinctly unique quality to most nail art.)
Working so hard only to find that you have failed to live up to your client's expectations of you is a blow to the ego on so many levels, I try to give everyone my disclaimer before I put in the effort. All too often to be assured by my adoring fans that "Maggie can do anything."
Anything but convince them that I really do know my own limitations.