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Pre-Challenge #1: The 1980s

Posted June 5, 2013


This week we gave our 24 semifinalists an ’80s-themed challenge:

Create a 1980s-inspired nail art design on a single tip. You are free to use any medium and any products you choose.

Please shoot step-by-step photos of the design as you go (up to 10 steps), and upload the tutorial and final image to your Nail Art Gallery profile.

Write out detailed instructions for each step and use the custom tag NextTopNailArtist80s. After you upload your tutorial, use the custom button on the page to “pin” your tutorial to any of your personal Pinterest boards or community boards. Please include @NAILSMagazine in the caption of your pin.

The NAILS judges and Gelish judge Danny Haile scored the entries, and six more contestants were eliminated.

Contestant #1: Alecia Mounixay (Wilmington, NC)

When I think of the ’80s I think of psychedelic music videos on MTV with men singing in computerized voices and sporting plastic perforated neon sunglasses (how can you see through those?) . I wanted to incorporate that on to the nail and  still use ’80′s fashion, which consisted of light colored blue jeans and holey laced leggings. But don’t forget the double belts, which were also popular!




Contestant #2: Ashley Gregory (Chicago, IL)

The big accessory of the ’80s was the Swatch watch. I remember seeing my uncle wearing several at a time to make a real fashion statement. I chose to design a mixed media nail with a hand-painted watch dial and straps and a glow-in-the-dark acrylic piece formed to look like the rubber watch guard worn to protect the face.

The watch is a design released in 1989, called the Flumotions GN102 (seen here).

I think it embodies all aspects of the ’80s that I remember: neon, graphic shapes, and stacked watches on one wrist. I think it really was the “nail art of the ’80s”. I hope you like it! It does glow in the dark, and I think it would look great on a real nail.






Contestant #3: Britney Tokyo (Los Angeles, CA)

NEW WAVE: ’80s is an era filled with fashion and music cultures. I wanted to feature and really show that in my design. The neon colors emphasize the ’80s, and I wanted to show the pop culture with 3-D art to add impact.





Contestant #4: Christian Mans (Mission Viejo, CA)

Since I was born in the late ’80s, I thought to myself, “How can I create something about an era I didn’t experience and not take the easy road of searching ’80s online?” The first thing that came to mind was to think of what from the ’80s influences my life today, and that is where it all started.

The ’80s was filled with inventions and paved the way for our technological future. Computers, and especially the “iEverything” is a huge part of society today, so the first thing that came to mind was the start of Apple and its retro rainbow logo. Next was my slight addiction to video games, and we all know it became popular with the arcade game Pacman! Lastly, I wanted to find something that was a huge fad, as every generation has one. With all the brain games we have in the world today, they must have started somewhere, and Rubik was the one to invent a simple, yet genius mind game…the Rubik’s Cube…something I even played with in the ’90s as a kid! Using gel, airbrush, paint, acrylic, and embellishments, this 1980s inspired Nail Art Tip takes you “Back To The Future”!





Contestant #5: Danielle Lubin (Cranford, NJ)

To me, the ’80s were all about the clothes: bold patterns, funky neons, and gold accents! I based this design on a gloriously tacky sweater-vest my aunt had when I was a kid. Eye-searingly bright, her sweater-vest represents everything I loved about the ’80s. So bad it was actually good!





Contestant #6: Denise Escalante (British Columbia, Canada)

Inspiration: It only felt right to dedicate this ’80s nail art challenge to one of hip hop’s biggest influences during that time: RUN DMC.

Explanation: I combined their world-renowned RUN DMC logo, ’80s faded blue jeans, and a gold chain to top off the their look…on a nail!





Contestant #7: Harold Sims (Omaha, NE)

For my inspiration, I took myself to one of the most controversial and groundbreaking cities in the ’80s: NYC.  I thought a brick wall would be a great backdrop for some of the iconic images from the era, giving each piece a purpose.  The images were carefully selected based on the year it was popular and the location of NYC.





Contestant #8: Hillary Fry (Sherwood, WI)

My inspiration was the decadence of the ’80s and capturing it in the essence of the famous Pacman video game:

Been there. Done that. Painted the nail.

The ’80s were all about extremes, conspicuous consumption, and playing the game. That essence is captured in my first pre-challenge nail using 24k gold Chanel logo decals, representing brand chasing, being gobbled up by mirror Pacman/Ms. Pacman that also reflect double Cs, on a neon splatter stiletto.





Contestant #9: Jane Weiner (Asbury Park, NJ)

When I think about the ’80s, the first thing that comes to mind is MTV, and there is no more iconic MTV image to me than the ads for the network where the moon man plants the flag. So, this is the ’80s to me, on a nail. :)





Contestant #10: Jennifer Giovannetti (Saskatchewan, Canada)

I wanted to hand paint some of the things that I think of when I think ’80s. I think of pop art and neons, so that was going to be the overall theme and help me to set up the design.  I did the neon zebra striped and stars to give a pop of color in the background, and I thought the other items would really stand out  on that background.  Then I thought of Madonna because I loved her in the ’80s. And of course when I listened to her I used cassette tapes, so I had to add a cassette tape.  I also thought of a Rubik’s Cube because I remember having one when I was young and not being able to figure it out (lol).  The Nintendo controller reminds me of my brother and me, so I had to add that as well.





Contestant #11: Jessica Vero (British Columbia, Canada)

I decided to go with all my favorite things from the ’80s. I started off with a neon splatter, I had numerous items of clothing that were paint splattered when I was a kid. For the design, I went with my favorite movie (Gremlins), my favorite toy (She-ra), my favorite cartoon (Jem), and a Nintendo control, because my love of video games started in the ’80s. I hope you enjoy my homage to my youth!





Contestant #12: Julie Ventura (Union City, NJ)

I was inspired by all the big fads of the ’80s and decided to include them all on one nail. I included the infamous Rubik’s Cube, Mr. & Ms. Pacman with Inky, a boombox, the MTV logo, and of course, Madonna!





Contestant #13: Lauren Wireman (Cape Coral, FL)

I searched Internet pictures for inspiration and asked my customers what the first thing is that comes to mind when I say ’80s.  My most popular response was NEON!!!  I toyed with the idea of a Rubik’s Cube, slitted sunglasses, MTV, a portrait of Madonna, Prince, or Cindy Lauper, but I decided since there are 24 of us, I would be safest to do an original design.

My inspiration for the bright color blocks with contrasting colors came from an old New Kids on the Block T-shirt similar to one I used to have.  My inspiration for the paint splatter heart came from a random ’80s graphic I found on the Internet.  It’s hidden under the “I” in “I love the ’80s”.  The glow-in-the-dark heart came from the fact that I had an entire glowing plastic neon universe on the ceiling of my bedroom in the ’80s.





Contestant #14: Lexi Martone (Dix Hills, NY)

Although I wasn’t around for during the ’80s, I’ve always found inspiration in the clothes. As tacky as they were, I still love ‘em. I decided to go with a fashion inspired nail since it’s very true to my aesthetic. I particularly love Madonna’s style because I’m a sucker for anything with lace and bows. Here’s my Madonna inspired nail! I hand painted lace as the base and sculpted a bright neon bow to further embody the ’80s spirit.





Contestant #15: Marilyn Garcia (Caguas, Puerto Rico)

When I read the challenges the first thing in my mind was the Rubik’s Cube, and the hours I spend playing with them. Everybody had one in the ’80s. Also the colors represent the colorful fashion trends of clothes. The cube inspired a lot of trends even in hair, shoes, etc.






Contestant #16: Max Nguyen (Lebanon, TN)

So what’s inspired me about the 1980s is its all about the bright neon colors, fabric patterns, the Rubik’s Cube, and music… so I put them all together to created this nail art piece.






Contestant #17: Natalie Minerva (Los Angeles, CA)

For the 1980′s challenge, I decided to do a Madonna nail because what’s more ’80s than that?! I decided on the famous Jean Paul Gaultier cone shaped onesie that Madonna wore in her heyday! To add some extra pop, I threw a rosary on her (a classic look from Madonna). Hope you all like!





Contestant #18: Olga Palylyk (British Columbia, Canada)

I grew up in the ’80s in the Soviet Union during the period of “Perestroika” and “Glasnost.” We were finally exposed to the West and all the culture it had to offer at the time. My design is inspired by the symbols, images, and colors I remember experiencing through those exciting and chaotic years.

The base of the design is a blend of neon gel colors, with contrast provided by black acrylic paint. I placed it at the edge to symbolize a bright time explosion where all of these images are returning from the past.

The Ghostbusters logo, sunglasses, the “8,” and the Rubik’s Cube are made from 3-D gel and then hand painted.  The cassette, Tetris blocks, Pac-Man and lightning bolts were also hand painted with acrylic paints.

Everything was sealed with Quick Seal gel.





Contestant #19: Robyn Schwartz (British Columbia, Canada)

The inspiration with this was just a fun ’80s look – lots of bright color, shapes, and an overall fun look.





Contestant #20: Ryoko Garcia (Navarre, FL)

There’s so many things I can do with an ’80s theme. I love music. I heard the theme I knew I was going to do some artists’ portraits. Madonna and Michael Jackson was a huge wave in ’80s. Once you turned the radio or turned on MTV you would hear either of them. People used to listen the music on cassette tapes. The ’80s are back now in so many fields. In the fashion, hair style, and nail shapes…but you can’t beat the awesomeness in ’80s back then. I hand painted with acrylic paint and brushes for Madonna and Michael Jackson’s face and back ground. I sculpted 3-D decorations with white acrylic mixture, then hand painted with acrylic paint. Then finished with UV top coat.





Contestant #21: Temeka Jackson (Orange, CT)

Queen of the ’80s: My nail art design was created using one main color on the top half of the nail, with color blocking on the bottom portion of the nail, using multiple bright colors. I chose black as my main color to allow the color to stand out and enhance the ’80′s inspired look.  I then sized two chains, one gold and one blue, to create a double necklace. I added a crown medallion charm to the necklace in order to give the ’80′s look a unique touch and custom pop. My inspiration for this look came from old music videos where people wore big gold chains and the colored chain was an added extra to modern day style. My color block art was inspired from the clothing they wore with multiple colors and funky shapes. All this combined, I believe pays homage to that era and the many different customs of that time.





Contestant #22: Tina Alberino (Wesley Chapel, FL)

For my design, I took basically included everything that symbolized what the ’80s meant to me. (I was born in ’86, so by the time I developed cognitive memory the ’80s were over, but these are the things that originated in the ’80s that carried over to the ’90s and stuck with me forever, lol.) Terminator and ET were my favorite movies. I played Super Mario and Tetris on my original NES for more hours than any other kid in my neighborhood. I used to pretend to be a Ninja Turtle and had serious plans about becoming one when I grew up. I hated Alf. He freaked me out. My grandmother bought me an Alf stuffed animal and I buried it in my closet because I was scared of it, lol, so that had to be included too.





Contestant #23: Victoria Zegarelli (Ronkonkoma, NY)

I grew up in the ’80s!  My first nail box was a Caboodle.  Patrick Nagel was the artist of the era.  His popular graphic images of big-haired quintessential women of the ’80s made their way to hair and nail salon window posters nationwide.  Neon was everywhere! Madonna showed us you can dress in head to toe lace.  Olivia Newton-John was getting “Physical”  in her leg warmers, while everyone was screaming “I want my MTV!”  There is so much inspiration for ’80s nail art but how do you get all that is the ’80s on only one nail?  I want my design to remind you of a great decade while making it new and fresh!





Contestant #24: Winnie Huang (British Columbia, Canada)

During the ’80s, if I wasn’t playing outside, you could usually find me glued in front of the TV watching cartoons. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out this week’s challenge! Without even thinking, I decided to do a cartoon inspired design to bring back the good old days! So here is my interpretation of the ’80s! Hope you enjoy it!