Sheryl Macauley is a nail technician who combines great technical skill with true artistic flair. She racked up several competition wins in 1993 and launched a new career tangent — independent educator. She taught a course in nail art at the 1993 NAILS Magazine Show in Dallas that was so successful she was invited to do a repeat performance at the NAILS Magazine Show in Las Vegas in November. Aspiring nail artists can catch her class at the 1994 Midwest beauty Show in Chicago this February.

A former manufacturer’s educator, Macauley developed a class handout for aspiring competitors that reveals how nail art judges assign points and what they look for and offers advice on how to do winning nails.

Macauley has been doing nails since she got her nail technician s license 13 years ago. Eleven years ago she started doing nail art. “But it’s only taken off recently,” she says. “I was an art major in college for a year; then I spent three months studying fashion design. I learned those careers weren’t for me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I got my nail license, thinking I would try that for awhile. I liked it so much I’ve been doing it ever since, and when I got into nail art, I loved it.”

Macauley specializes in freehand nail art. She likes painting in black and white. “I won first place at the 1992 NAILS Magazine Show in Las Vegas for my black and white fashion faces,” she says. “I also do scenes and emblems. At WINBA, in the flat nail art competition, I painted scenes from Jurassic Park, dinosaurs, and the Jurassic Park emblem. There were 29 competitors in that division alone, so I consider myself lucky to have made third place.”

Macauley owns The Nail Resort in Bakersfield, Calif. There are five other nail technicians in the salon, all independent contractors. About half of Macauley’s clients wear some kind of nail art. To showcase her artistic abilities, Macauley mounted approximately 120 nail tips, each with a different nail design, on a large frame. Her most common request is for holiday nail art.

Macauley likes to paint on larger canvases in her spare time. She’s sold two of her stylized images in black and white acrylics to clients. “It’s nice to be able to make money doing what I love,” says Macauley.

For this month’s cover. Macauley did an acrylic tip and overlay, then painted champagne bubbles on the nails. If you look closely, you’ll see she painted a woman holding a champagne glass to her lips on one of the nails. Now that’s a way to ring in the new year!

Portrait Of A Nail Artist

Name: Sheryl Macauley

Current Position: Owner, The Nail Resort, Bakersfield, Calif.

Experience: Thirteen years doing nails, eleven years doing nail art

Nail Art Style: Freehand painting; prefers to paint stylized images in black and white and reproductions

Art Inspirations: “Modern artists Patrick Nagel and Michael Parks, surrealist Salvador Dali, and the old master Michelangelo.”

Advice to Nail Art Competitors: “Judges look for lots of imagination on original designs. Design ideas can come from anywhere — magazines, postcards, printed material, etc. Use the colors to their maximum potential — two well-used colors can score higher than 10 colors not used well. Choose a theme, try to look for an original or unusual aspect of it, and carry it through on all 10 nails to tell a story. If you don’t win, regroup and keep going, going, going!”

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.