The NAILS Next Top Nail Artist (NTNA) contest is really getting exciting! I'm so excited that one of the competing techs, Buddy Sims, is representing my neck of the woods, so I wanted to get to know him better. You can read our interview below. Be sure to check out contestants and vote for your favorites through each of the challenges!
Holly Schippers: If you had to compare your nail artistry to that of a renowned canvas artist, who would it be and why?
Buddy Sims: I love the works of great artists like Kandinsky, Munch, and Matisse. I wish I could compare myself to them, but I don't think I can! I can see how some of my pieces lend themselves to a similar style, but I wouldn't say I have earned the status of those individuals just yet. I know this competition is bringing me closer to that goal, so I really want to make it all the way, as I have learned so much already by just putting myself out there and trying something new.
Nail art, nail style, or nail fashion? Why?
This is such a thought-provoking question, and I love it! I would consider myself an artist as I work with a large amount and variety of products/mediums. I do call it nail art, but that may change! Nail addiction, maybe? LOL, I'm only joking here! I do view each piece, no matter how simple, as personalized art. For some people who would never wear nail art, all it takes is that one piece that they were able to help create, and they're hooked! My very favorite part is being able to take any (if not all) suggestions from a client and being able to transform their nails into art created just for them!
What's your favorite medium to work with, and what advice would you give a student struggling with it?
Over time, I think I have learned to love them all. Trust that there were some crosswords while working with a few in the beginning! There really are enough products to do anything you can imagine. If I had to pick one, it would be a thick gel-like Brisa. For every day wear of inlay or hand-painting, this product is great for an "instant" no-file finish. YouTube is great for video tips, but the tips I keep in mind are the same from school. Keep the edges thin by starting the product where zone one and two meet. Push out to the cuticle with the brush angled, coming down the sidewalls with the brush angled with the nail. Pull out to the tip. Smooth out starting at the arch (zone 1/2) as needed. Fill dimples with small dollops/strands of gel instead of trying to smooth. The product will self-level. If filing after curing and later doing a thin layer of gel or top coat is needed to smooth out bumps, start there but don't give up!
How does it feel to represent the Midwest?
I am honored to represent the Midwest!!! I hope that I can really showcase that we have serious talent in the heartland, as there are many fantastic techs in the region! We may not have some of the same exposure to the nail art niche as other major cities, but that just shows that I am more than willing to go the extra mile. I think that just adds to the pride I feel in knowing I am a hard-working and well-rounded artist.
If you win the competition, will you be furthering your career in the Midwest, or do you see yourself going coastal?
I would love to work on an island resort for celebrities, but who wouldn't!? For now I am settled here happily engaged with family nearby — this is home. Besides, someone has to represent the Midwest and bring this kind of art to the people! I couldn't be happier to be that person.
Congrats on your engagement! What are some unusual things you have spotted with your "nail eyes" and turned them into inspiration?
Inspiration can be found absolutely everywhere. I would say the most unique idea of mine to date would be my "Fireworks" set. These were for a challenge for NTNA drawing inspiration from how it felt to be in the Top 12. In celebration I created fireworks! I wanted to capture the sparkle, free floating, and 3-D effects of the fireworks. I used Shellac and sculpting gels to create many pieces of "glass like" fireworks, which were pieced together and adhered to a smoky galaxy nail. Many hours went into this set, which I am most proud of.
Who is your mentor, and what's the best advice they gave you that you would want to share?
I think I will have to stay close to home on this one. The instructors at College of Nail Design and my co-workers at Bella Dea taught me the foundation and most important details in being a nail tech. Protecting the natural nail, sanitizing, and education is key. After you have the basics, the rest is just plain fun! The best advice given to me is as follows: smile, use humor, mistakes can be fixed, and never stop learning!