Tom Holcomb, one of the nail industry’s greatest nail artists, passed away yesterday. He was 44 years old. The cause of death is not currently known.
Tom Holcomb working the EZ Flow booth at a tradeshow in the late 1990s.
It is without hyperbole to say that Holcomb was an industry legend. Beginning his career in the mid-1980s, Holcomb gained a reputation as a superior nail artist: His pink-and-whites won competitions the world over and he introduced techniques that became standard, including a sculpted moon that he was first to do in 1989. When most nail technicians were still doing stark pink-and-white acrylics, he experimented with colored monomers and created a “natural” pink-and-white that was barely discernable from a natural nail.
Behind the scenes for a cover photo shoot for NAILS Magazine in March 2000, Tom joins Danny Haile (of EZ Flow, at the time) and Eriko Kurosaki.
Holcomb has been associated with a variety of manufacturers in his career, including Premium Nail Products (which was originally named Holcomb Nail Products), Galaxy Nail Products, EZ Flow, and Entity (which was started with the creative energy of Holcomb and fellow nail technician Tom Bachik).
With his cover model Marisa Ramirez at the April 2000 cover photo shoot for NAILS.
Holcomb has inspired a generation of nail technicians with his cutting-edge creativity. The winner of more than 200 competitions, Holcomb has always sought to sharpen his skills and raise the bar industry-wide. In 1989, he introduced sculpted moons to competitions; in 1997, his sculpted, colored design nails dazzled all who saw them. He traveled extensively, especially in Japan, where his classes attracted hundreds and whose signature look was emulated by a generation of Japanese nailists.
Tom Holcomb with competition trophies, 1990.
Holcomb was a Top 25 Competitor seven times (2007-2008, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995). He was the NAILS cover artist numerous times (look at his work on the links below). He also won the North American Hairstyling Award in 1998 for Best Nail Makeover.
Tom had two daughters, Madison (23) and Spenser (21). Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family and all who were lucky enough to know him.
Read more on Tom Holcomb's life and work.
A photo gallery celebrating Tom Holcomb's career
NAILS Cover Tech September 1990
NAILS Cover Tech October 1990
NAILS Cover Tech April 2000)
Behind the Scenes with Tom Holcomb, August 1997
Tom Holcomb's New York State of Mind (May 2002)
Behind the Scenes with Tom Holcomb, October 2002
Tom Holcomb Wins NAHA for Best Nail Makeover 1998
In-Depth Profile of Tom Holcomb in May 1990