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Home Is Where the Heart Is: The Top 3 & The Bottom 3

Posted October 3, 2013


Challenge 3 sponsored by Gel II asked our Top 10 to create a mural across 10 nails representing their hometowns. Spanning the globe from Japan to South Africa, and back to Canada and the good old US of A, this week’s entries definitely show that “home is where the heart is.” Read on to see who is safe and who is in danger this week.

This week’s guest judge was Rose Velez of Gel II. Permanent judges included Gelish’s Danny Haile and the staff at NAILS Magazine.


In no particular order, the top 3 are:




Gel II’s Rose: You NAILED the Fashion District! This is simple, yet detailed, funky, and definitely versatile enough to be wearable (minus the needle)! The white is definitely on trend as well. Is that button hand-painted?  The 3-D detail is A+! I love every part of it!

NAILS’ art director Danielle: I really like how you concentrated on one element of New York. You didn’t feel like you had to incorporate everything. Your color and 3-D elements makes the whole mural work lovely.

NAILS’ editor Hannah: This is my favorite design this week. It’s so original and the design is adorable. I love the stitching pattern and the detail of the thread and scissors. And knowing Lexi, it represents something that is near and dear to her heart. Love it.





Gel II’s Rose: Simply breathtaking! The detail, gradation, use of space, directionality of art…all amazing! The set is so powerful without being overpowering! I hope to get to Tokyo one day soon 🙂

NAILS’ art director Danielle: Incredible…again! It is beautiful. Your illustration skills are undeniable. Your nail designs are always inspirational and have the “it” factor.

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: Being a gal from Japan myself, this mural allows vivid memories I have from my motherland! I loved that she included a kabuki actor — fashion and art can tell so much about your homeland. The detail of the night city in the background is remarkable!





Gelish’s Danny: One of my favorites this week. I love the transition and the colors. It’s a great depiction of your home state.

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: I love the immense detail in Buddy’s mural! The transitions from setting to setting are incredible. It’s amazing to see I can learn so much about a place from such a small canvas. There’s so much action and liveliness, I feel like I’m right there!

NAILS’ art director Danielle: Love it! Original concept — I love how you bring us through time. The detail is amazing. Your passion for your state really shows!  I can tell you put a lot of thought, and obviously detail, into this nail design.



The following techs can breathe again. They are in the middle of this week’s pack and are safe. In no particular order, congratulations to:




NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: Christian’s mural is a beautiful set, consisting of bold colors and realistic imagery. The warmth and vastness of Africa are evident through the use of landscape and red colors, and I can see the animals moving around in the fields.

NAILS’ group publisher Cyndy: Although it looks simple, the shades and shadows Christian created are complex. You get the distinct feeling of dust in the air at sundown and of a place still rugged and open.

NAILS’ senior editor Beth: I didn’t know Christian was from South Africa, and I love that he showed us exactly how he remembers his home through his art. I applaud his usage of only a few colors to set this scene so perfectly and passionately. It is just breathtaking!





Gel II’s Rose: Spending summers at the Jersey Shore myself, it was hard not to be biased! I was so excited to identify with all of the elements pictured. I am sure any NJ’an would be proud! I love the detail with the shore towns; I just wish there was less green space!

NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: The postcard theme worked really well for Jane’s design! I like the juxtaposition of words and images and the old-timey feel. It wasn’t immediately obvious to me that her images spelled out New Jersey — more defined letters would have worked better.

NAILS’ senior editor Beth: The postcard style design was such a wise choice for showing many images in a fond and fun way. My personal favorite is the lettering in the background. Jane not only represents Jersey proudly, but her artistic abilities too.





NAILS’ production manager Carla: This mural has a lovely assortment of imagery from New York state and the 3-D elements are a nice touch!

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: Julie’s use of the four seasons allows a great variety of colors and activities in her mural. I can sense the year-long enthusiasm and excitement in New York!

NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: I like how Julie captured the seasons and the parts of New York that often go unnoticed! I could tell each scene she portrayed was a part of her personal experience.





NAILS’ managing editor Sree: I love how Lauren represents the bipolar weather in her mural: half sunny, half thunderstorms.

NAILS’ editor Hannah: The owls and Iwo Jima statue are perfectly painted. I wish you hadn’t painted “Cape Coral” in such large letters across your mural. It takes away from the rest of your design. Your artistic ability is so great, I’d rather you show us than tell us where you’re from.

NAILS’ senior editor Beth: I really like the map detail on the nails. My only concern is that “Cape Coral” is written too large and thus taking away from some of the design.



Unfortunately, there always has to be a bottom group. The bottom 3, in no particular order, are:





Gel II’s Rose: I love your hometown pride Temeka! I think the design could use a bit more attention to detail (perhaps with a thinner tip brush). I love the effort!

NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: I thought it was a great idea that Temeka brought sports into her design since it seems to be a common request in the salon these days! But for me, her detailing could have been more precise.

NAILS’ group publisher Cyndy: I love that Temeka was inspired by the centers of higher learning. She blends the images nicely across the nails.





Gel II’s Rose: I love that you blended both of your home towns! I just wish it were a bit cleaner with the detail in all of the illustrations! Overall good job!

NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: Winnie’s design seemed a little crowded to me. I like that there are so many things about Taiwan that she’s passionate about, but I think cutting down on elements would have made it easier on the eyes.

NAILS’ editor Hannah: So great that you found a way to incorporate both of the places you call home. It’s a little busy and I wish you’d practiced some restraint and edited your design a little.





Gelish’s Danny: Very good use of color. Way to showcase Nashville

NAILS’ production manager Carla: I definitely get a sense of Nashville’s vibrant street life but I was hoping to see more of the unique architecture attractions that you mentioned.

NAILS’ managing editor Sree: The guitar and the Hard Rock Cafe help convey Nashville’s music scene. I’m not sure I’d recognize the city in the mural without those elements though.


Check back tomorrow to find out who won this week’s challenge and who’ll be packing up their paintbrushes.