Too Cute

In the time that I’ve been paying attention to it — almost 30 years now — I’ve seen trends in nail art come ’round full circle more than once.
I live in an area where nail art has never completely gone away, even during the mid-’90s when “everyone” insisted that nail art was “dead.”
During those years, I was a little huffy that I was still spending my days polishing nails a solid color and adorning them with flowers and butterflies, while my colleagues in more sophisticated markets spent their days backfilling pink-and-whites.
Now nail art is back with a vengeance. The over-the-top rock star glitter trend is still strong in my neighborhood and continues to pay a solid portion of my bills. On the flip side is the trend toward simple, cutesy designs of the Pinterest ilk.
This week I had a client open up her Pinterest account on her iPhone, scroll through some pix that she’d pinned, and show me what she wanted for her nails. So simple. Beyond simple, in fact.
I pulled out the paints and proceeded to decorate her nails in the style she had chosen. And while I did so, I laughed at myself a little and explained to her:
Not too terribly long ago, I was having a blast when the Ed Hardy craze gave me some challenges to recreate more intricate designs. I did a lot of skulls, and with that style of artwork, I had clients challenging me to step it up with difficult ideas. Nail art was buzzing and clients were willing to pay top dollar for mini-murals that showed off a level of skill beyond the stripes and dots of the ’80s and early ’90s. Ifeltchallenged.
Now trends in nail art are back to the uber cute and simple. They’re geared toward the do-it-yourselfers and all about colors and designs that fit into your wardrobe, rather than standalone works of mini-art intended to call attention to your fingertips.
Everything old is new again. I teased my client as I told her that I’d just been thinking about how I used to paint skulls on her and now I was doing dots. We both laughed at the crazy way that trends change and I admitted that I couldn’t get too bent about the designs that are so popular now; they might be less challenging from an artistic perspective, but they are just so darn cute!

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