I own and operate Urban Bliss Beauty, a home based nail salon in Melbourne, Australia. I have been a nail artist for just over 10 years now, but I have loved art and craft for as long as I can remember. I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist in everything I do (I can hear my clients having a giggle right now) and I strive to be consistently ahead of the latest trends, giving each of my clients a unique set of nails that are as individual as they are. I love teaching nail art and inspiring other nail technicians, encouraging them to bring out their inner creativity. I cannot wait to see what direction my work will take in this competition.
Week 10: Gel II
When I opened this week’s challenge and read the word TROPICAL, I instantly pictured myself back on my recent Whitsunday Island holiday sitting in the infinity edge pool watching the sun set over the nearby tropical islands. As the sun almost finished setting I could see nothing but silhouettes in the distance. With this in mind, I chose to paint a tropical beach sunset for my hot/tropical nails.
When thinking of a “polar” opposite to this scene, my mind shifted to the beautiful and colorful Northern Lights. They can be seen from frosty Alaska, Northern Canada, Southern Greenland, Iceland, Northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The Aurora is something I would love to see first hand at some stage in my travels. I chose to paint the Northern Lights with silhouettes of some stunning arctic wildlife.
Both silhouette scenes are created in the style of a gradient and were designed with Gel II’s color-changing Reaction line of gel-polish in mind. I wanted to emulate a gradient using similar colors to Gel II’s Malibu Sunrise and Jamaican Winter gel-polishes to achieve my Tropical and Arctic nails.
Week 9: SuperNail
As soon as I read this week’s challenge I knew I wanted to base my design around Superman and Wonder Woman. I never read comics as a child, but I loved watching Christopher Reeve as Superman, battling debilitating kryptonite and the evil Lex Luthor.
We were asked to create a design using predominantly colored acrylic, gel-polish and glitter. Now being a Bio Sculpture Gel nail technician for over eight years now, I do not have much in the way of colored acrylic and prior to this competition I had never touched a bottle of gel-polish, so I don’t have a huge arsenal of gel-polishes either. I chose to work with what I had and use it to my best ability.
I created a crystal rock formation as the platform of my comic. It reminded me of the battle scenes between Superman and Lex Luthor in the old superman movies back in the day. In my comic, Superman is lying powerless on the ground, affected by the surrounding kryptonite. Lex Luthor standing victoriously “Ah ha I have you now Superman!” until Wonder Woman swoops in and captures him with her magical, glowing lasso. “Don’t be so hasty Lex!” The lasso is indestructible and forces whoever is bound by it to obey her commands. Superman asks “Wonder Woman what took you so long?” and she replies “Sorry! These nails don’t do themselves!”
To form the kryptonite, I used some clear and green acrylic, together with some green glitter and mylar and of course some glow-in-the-dark pigment to make the kryptonite glow in the dark. (It was hard to get a good photo of the kryptonite glowing in the dark.)
I used a fork as my one non-nail related tool and I used it to create the dots on my comic captions. It made dotting a larger area much faster and uniform than using a regular dotting tool.
Week 8: Gelish
My chosen charity is the Orangutan Crisis Foundation for its role in raising funds to go toward the rescue and rehabilitation of orangutans suffering from the devastating effects of the Palm Oil trade in Indonesia and Malaysia. Palm oil is the cheapest form of vegetable oil available and is now in over 50% of household consumables from food to toiletries and cleaning products. It is hidden and often coded on packaging, making shopping palm oil-free a time-consuming process.
OCF is partnered with an Australian organization called Palm Oil Investigations. They too, are a not-for-profit organization that is currently in the final stages of rolling out a palm oil barcode scanner app for smartphones to simplify palm oil-free grocery shopping.
My hand painted nail tip tells the story of the creation of a palm oil plantation. The dense rainforest, the forest fire and the freshly planted palm trees in perfect rows. My orangutan is situated in the untouched rainforest and the blood splattered elephant foot and tiger paw represent the carnage and lost lives. I wanted to create some palm oil seeds to give everyone an understanding of where palm oil actually comes from. Finally, I chose to include a smart phone displaying the barcode scanning app in use. I finished the design with the “Don’t Palm Us Off” logo and the official Orangutan Crisis Foundation logo.
I am so appreciative to have been given the opportunity to reach out and create awareness for this serious cause through my nail art. I hope my artwork along with my YouTube video captures your attention and your heart and makes you alter the way you shop.
Week 7: It’s So Easy
I have never been a big fan of steampunk, but that’s possibly because I never properly understood it. After some research, I came up with a design that incorporates both the industrial and mechanical feel with the classy Victorian style couture of the steampunk genre. I like the mix of cold hard metals and the floral lace fabrics and I especially love the beautiful, yet trampy corsets and the quirkiness of the signature top hat and goggles.
To create my wearable steampunk nails I chose a distressed look and incorporated a mix of cold sheet metals and cogs with some floral detailing to add a warmer, more feminine look. I then embellished these nails with some actual watch cogs. I wanted to recreate my own watch face, so on one nail, I pieced together studs and old watch parts and positioned them flat on the nail to construct it.
To add the quirkiness factor, I chose to paint one nail a deep shade of charcoal and hand paint some cogs. This is where I sculpted my goggles and top hat. The glass was created using a mixture of clear and black gels and some silver jump rings. Then I embellished the hand painted cogs with Swarovski crystals.
My final nail had to be a corset. So I sculpted out some ruffled fabric and applied some unusual watch parts and acrylic to create the buckle detailing. I finished with some hand painted lace and added a necklace complete with a watch part pendant. Lacing up the corset was quite a challenge. I now have a new found understanding and appreciation for the steampunk genre and thoroughly enjoyed this challenge.
Week 6: Dashing Diva
This week’s Bejeweled challenge was so much fun. What girl doesn’t love sparkling crystals and bling especially on her hands? Initially when thinking of jeweled appliqués, a crystal adorned wedding gown came to mind, however I was quickly distracted by all of the glitzy images that I lost track of what I was supposed to be researching for a moment. In my distraction, I stumbled across an image of a gorgeous little black dress encrusted with multicolored jewels. The pattern of the jewels caught my attention instantly and I decided then and there that I would use this as my inspiration.
To give the design my own spin I combined the pattern and vibrant colors of the jeweled dress and incorporated it with the defined gold lines found on beautiful regal gowns from the medieval times. I carefully selected my 10 tips based on my own nail sizes. Then I experimented with several different patterns and combinations, narrowing it down to my favorite two. I wanted to create a cohesive set, yet still show a little variety from nail to nail. I chose the thumb and ring fingers as the feature nails because although it has been done time and time before, it is still a popular choice for many, especially those who are not extremely adventurous.
Week 5: Entity Beauty
This weeks Celebrating 10 Years assignment was certainly a challenge. Creating a set of celebratory party nails that were based around the ‘feeling’ I get from studying the promotional photos supplied is certainly not easy. When I look at the four photos the first feeling that is evoked is that of a calming and serene nature with the flowing fabric, the beautiful lily and the angelic wing spanning for take-off. The fourth photo evokes the complete opposite feeling. I associate flames with what would become a potentially hazardous and dangerous fire; evil and anger are evoked from this image.
Having said that, my anniversary party nails are based on the balance between good and evil, serene and sinister. This is especially relevant when creating nail art. Do you stay within your warm, fuzzy comfort zone forever, or do you dare to venture into the scary realm of the unknown?
I used Entity Beauty’s image of the spanning wing as inspiration for my design and created angel wings on each finger. Six are white representing peaceful, calm and serene angelic wings while two are created black with copper glitter highlights to represent the sinister element. Each angel wing was embellished with some sparkling Swarovski crystals and real feathers embellish both of the middle fingers.
I applied fireworks and some crystals to the thumbs to commemorate Entity Beauty’s 10 year Anniversary. What better way to celebrate than with colorful, loud and dangerous fireworks. To tie the design together and even out the balance of good and evil, I applied one set of fireworks with a heavenly appearance and the other was given bight, incandescent color.
This set of nails is perfect for a special occasion celebration, whilst still being extremely practical for every day wear (as far as the amount of wearable 3-D art and overall simplicity of the design). I would like to congratulate Entity Beauty for reaching such an amazing milestone, especially in such an unsteady economy. Here’s to another successful 10 years ahead Entity.
Week 4: INM
For as far back as I can remember my family has been born and raised in Australia, however my ancestors were originally from Scotland. Having delved into my family’s Scottish history for this week’s challenge, I got to work researching all I could find. My maiden name is Fulton, so I began to search for the traditional Fulton clan tartan and coat of arms so I could incorporate them into my design.
Most people think of the Scotty dog when they think of Scotland, but as a child my family had two West Highland White Terriers, so I chose to create a Westie using some styrene packaging, a little wire, white acrylic and gel. I wanted to add a girly touch so I added some Scottish thistle. I also wanted to add some other foliage to balance out my design, so I chose the Scots Pine, which is found in the Caledonian Forest of the Scottish Highlands. I used a combination of acrylic and gel to get this effect. What’s a set of Scottish nails without the Scottish flag? Using gel, I sculpted the ripple effect flag and added a rustic looking stick for a handle.
For my final two tips I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, a mythical creature that is said to be lurking in the waters of Loch Ness. There are various myths and images of what Nessie may look like, but I chose the traditional body shape with the addition of some scales and spikes created individually and applied and flash cured one by one. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this weeks “international nails” challenge inspired by the country of my family’s origin and sponsored by INM. I feel I have captured my Scottish family heritage to the best of my ability on 5 nail tips and I hope you all like them.
Week 3: ORLY International
My LA Manicure is based on my interpretation of LA this week. Never having traveled from Australia to the United States, it is difficult for me to get a feel for what LA is truly like, however one thing came to mind instantly when I was brainstorming for this week’s challenge — Hollywood. Trawling through numerous images on the Internet, I found myself looking at a photo of Audrey Hepburn adorned with a gorgeous flowing droplet diamond necklace and this is where my design began.
We were asked to put a modern twist on the traditional French nail design and I wanted to incorporate old world Hollywood glitz and glamour with a modern day twist. Something that could easily transition from day to night and would be popular with clients today as per our design brief. With award ceremonies and red carpet events in mind I found myself looking for a color palette that would be versatile enough to accessorize with a range of outfits. White, black, and gold is traditional, classy and bold and I believe, never goes out of style.
I chose to use all of the permitted mediums in my design this week so I created it using gel-polish for my base and top coat as well as for the French application and I used gold polish and black and white acrylic paints for the line and dot detailing. I finished the design off with some tiny Swarovski crystals to add a classic touch of bling.
Week 2: Bio Seaweed Gel
When researching for this week’s challenge I used inspiration from my own trip to the Great Barrier Reef. I wanted to incorporate the rich colors found in the corals and abundant sea life. I was also inspired by “Treasure Chest,” one of Bio Seaweed Gel’s fall colors. I created a treasure chest, a venomous blue ringed octopus protecting the chest, and my tips double as a clam shell and mini reef.
I began my design by creating a mold for my treasure chest using modelling clay. I applied several layers of gel to add strength and then removed the clay to reveal the two pieces. I used the same method for the sand base. For treasure I created small gel coins and bars and covered them with gold leaf. To make pearls, I coated them with pearl pigment. For a uniform size, I used a mold. I also created turquoise and emerald gemstones. To make the octopus, I used modelling clay for the base and covered it with gel and seed beads, sculpting it out to look as realistic as possible. Seaweed, coral, fish, and starfish were created on Arabella forms, and the starfish are embellished with tiny hexagonal glitter. I created a water bubble containing a starfish, glitter, and actual water. I had never attempted this before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It turned out perfectly. My anemone was made by dipping wire into gel and connecting all the pieces one at a time, and the sea urchin was created with a gel bubble and each spike attached and cured one by one. Finally, I completed the design with some additional water bubbles and some sea shells made with a mold. I love working with gel and spent many hours showing great attention to detail on my pieces. I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s gel challenge and I hope you like my final piece.
Week 1: Young Nails
For this weeks Create Your Caption challenge I painted a growling tiger using acrylic paint with my caption being “Go Hard or Go Home!” I thought long and hard about what my personal motto/caption is and this is what I chose best reflected me. Growing up, my dad always taught me that if I didn’t plan on doing a job properly, then I shouldn’t bother doing it at all. This sticks with me to this day and is especially relevant to me at this point in my career — particularly in this competition. I chose a tiger because I wanted something fierce, fast, and strong. The tiger growls to scare off its competitors if it feels threatened, and will go from defense to attack without hesitation. It symbolizes how I feel about my own competitors and how I need to approach the weekly challenges ahead. I will go hard in this competition and give it everything I’ve got or I’ll have to pack up my brushes and go home.