Full Name: Kristen Hartley
Hometown: Ontario, Canada
Salon: Foxx Salon and Spa
Preferred Nail Art Medium: Gel and acrylic
Favorite Nail Trend: Characters, gems, and ombré

I am a licensed hairdresser, certified esthetician, certified nail technician, certified lash technician, and a certified microblading technician, and I just started a tattoo apprenticeship! I went to school in Sarnia, Toronto and London as well as many small online courses. This is my fourth time competing in NTNA! Aside from my business, I’m also a married mom of 3! I met my hubby Tyler in highschool and we’ve been together for 13 years! I have a 7 year old boy Cole, a 5 year old girl Quinn, and an almost 3 year old boy Kade. I can’t forget to mention my two dogs Ellie and Zoey and our newest edition – our kitten Lucifer. I know I deserve to win this year because I’m always striving to be better and when I’m feeling stuck, I find different ways to express myself in artistic means. Being an artist and creating for others really fuels my passion! I’m going all in this year and in the words of Justin Timberlake – “it’s gonna be me!”

WEEK # 8

The Glo Up

When I think of glow-in-the-dark, a few things come to mind, but the one that stands out the most is one of my first dates with my husband, in high school, at the local bowling alley. The glow-in-the-dark carpets, illuminated by the black lights, our clothes, shoes, and teeth gleaming purple, as we laugh at each other nervously and excitedly. Fast forward a few years, and we are married, heading off to Mexico for our Honeymoon, the nervousness is gone, and the excitement has doubled. We spent a week in the sun, eating and drinking, shopping for sugar skulls and enjoying the down time. Glow up No. 1!!​

Back to reality, work, careers, and planning for our future. Having a family was always at the forefront of our minds and establishing a career where I could both be a Mom and run a business was extremely important for me. I quickly established a committed client base and was doing hair and creating nail couture in my small town of Owen Sound. Glow up No. 2!​

With my husband and I’s careers secure, and our community of friends established, we started to prepare to have a family. Our first baby, a sweet little boy, was born in 2015 and our lives were forever changed. Our sweet little girl followed shortly after, and our third a couple of years later. Glow up No. 3,​ 4 & 5!​

With three children, two dogs, a cat, a hamster, established careers, and an amazing community of friends, family, and clients, what more could I ask for? I will admit though, there are days that I steal a moment of quietude, and remember that trip to Mexico, hunting the street markets for the perfect sugar skull, that sits in our bedroom, reminding us of how this incredible journey that we call life began.​

Watch her video diary

My husband and I have a “Bucket List” that we created when we were first married. We promised our younger selves that no matter what life tossed our way, we would make the time to pick away at this list, until we had managed to cross off every item. And if time allowed, we would add more. Very close to the top of this list is our dream of traveling to Greece.

I love the colors that come to mind when I think of Greece. Deep blues and crisp whites that paint the towns, with incredible architecture and a history that makes you want to sink your teeth in and learn every detail. Purples and yellow paint the skies at night, as the sun sets over the ocean.​ Greens and browns adorn your plates, as you indulge in some of the best cuisine the world has to offer.

In addition to the indulgent food and beautiful scenery, the Mediterranean is also known for its beautiful Mediterranean mosaic tiles. The Greek mosaics that can be found in parts of Greece and Macedonia are believed to be the earliest form of the art. Mosaic tiles were used to flaunt how wealthy you were, but they were also known for their strength and durability.

The dream of traveling to Greece, is still, currently, just a dream. But one that we hope to make a priority once the chaos of life and kids and work has settled down a bit. For now, I will live vicariously through the beauty of the summer color collection that CND has released, and flaunt these lavish, Mediterranean inspired nails to sooth my soul and scratch the travel itch.​

Watch her video diary

Foxes are known for their sly, surreptitious personalities. They are extremely intelligent and cunning, with a survivalist instinct. Foxes can easily adapt to any environment, crossing continents and surviving long, harsh winters.​  My business, Foxx Salon and Spa is in picturesque Owen Sound, Ontario. While a small and often unknown town, Owen Sound is the gateway to many beautiful tourist hotspots along the shores of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.  It is in this town, that my salon survived one of the most difficult times for small businesses. It is in this small town that I have created my brand, that many people know and love and talk about. And it is in this small town that my husband and I are raising three little foxes of our own.​ ​

My monogram pays homage to my three kids and my husband. My husband and I have raised three free spirited, independent, and intelligent little kids, who share our desire to be free to make independent choices, which I feel is a quality that is going to be increasingly important in these changing times. When I got married, I chose to take my husband’s last name, solidifying our matrimonial vow with traditional values and commitment. Like the fox, who mate for life and are committed to raising their young together, my husband and I are a solid team. We support each other and lift each other up, leaving our egos in the past and creating a home filled with unconditional love, positivity, and support.​

My intention was to keep my monogram simple yet bold,​ concise yet meaningful, and highly recognizable, to create memorability and excitement. Like many of the greats – Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel – I want my brand to be one that stands out and that when people see it, they immediately can identify with it. ​
 Watch her video diary. 

I am a Trilogy of Beauty, in lifeform. A strong sense of Avant Garde, little bit streetwear, a splash of underground.

As far back as I can remember, I didn’t fit the “mold”. My sense of style, and way of thinking was always a little unorthodox, and I was always one step ahead of the curve. As an artist, I was constantly yearning for an outlet, but in my family, it was necessary to keep my radical and unconventional thinking in the box. Having to always stifle that part of me caused me to be more unaccepting of the rules. I became a rebel, with deep rooted desires to showcase my art and let my talent shine.

Bold, innovative, progressive, experimental are defining characteristics of Avant Garde. I constantly push my boundaries, both artistically and personally, challenging myself to always be a little bit more.

Underground art is alive and well in my small town. I am surrounded by artists, who moved up north to get away from the chaos of the city and find a smaller and more eclectic venue to showcase their skill. As I make the shift to tattooing, I find myself surrounded by a very welcoming group of alternative artists. I have found acceptance and belonging and a new outlet for my creativity.

On the contrary, I consider myself to be very laidback, and the “cool” Mom who can stay chill under pressure. It takes a lot to get a rise out of me. Often based on individualism rather than on current fashion trends, streetstyle allows someone to express their own direct identity. As a young Mom, a natural leader, and an entrepreneur in a small town, I have paved the way for many young women to find their true sense of identity, and to not get caught up in the stereotypical norm that small, rural society often places on women. I was never encouraged to “wear the pants” so naturally, that is what I strive to do.

Watch her video diary

To stay afloat in this fluid world, you must be able to be adaptable. It’s a sink or swim kind of ride these days, especially since the pandemic rocked the boat. If you want to stay afloat you need to learn to turn with the tides, not be afraid to pivot, and keep your head above water. As an artist, I have learned the importance of being able to adapt to what is required now, and to prepare for what will be required in the future. Creating a strong business as a nail artist, paved the path for me to branch out into the tattoo artistry. The transition was seamless, natural, and familiar. Ameliorate. Impress. Pivot. Strive. Persevere. Five strong pillars of success. That is ultimately the goal.

Adaptability in art is a challenge. Art is art. And your talent is your talent. You can not tell a robin to sing a warbler’s tune. Discovering ways in which to pivot your artform, to use it to your professional and personal advantage is true adaptability. My career has grown tremendously in the last three years, because of my ability to adapt. To pivot when the waters change. To boldly accept every challenge that has been put in my path, throw some color on it, and make it work to my advantage.

In this next challenge, adaptability and versatility were the goal. To be able to take the “every day” to the party. Exaggeration was the name of the game. More is more, in the art world. This set features a neutral toned nail, with a splash of wild, that transforms into a glamourous, bejeweled masterpiece that is sure to take the party to the next level. Working with Kupa’s new creation, EnrichRX, gave this look a durable nail to work with, providing a sturdy canvas for the ultimate accessories. When you take off the glamorous jewels, you are still left with natural beauty and strength, that is sure to last long after glitter from the party is gone.

Watch her video diary

Watch her EnrichRX TikTok


Over the Top

This year I am changing gears and trying to ensure that my past does not dictate my present, or control my future. I am looking to reinvent myself, by finding new and innovative ways to let my artistry shift the energy around me. I am looking to the future, to ensure a sense of security and satisfaction. A way to be able to look back fifty or sixty years from now and be truly satisfied with the choices I made.

Being an artist always came naturally for me. Finding ways to use that skill was a challenge I set out for myself a while ago, when I decided to become a nail artist. Not only was I able to find an outlet for my creativity, but I was able to make a career out of it. As my skills grew, so did my desire to shift to entrepreneurship. The onslaught on pandemic forced me to close my doors and make another bold career shift. Changing gears is not for the weak of heart. It can be daunting to walk away from the safety of a solid career and a hefty investment. But often, change is needed to breathe new life into an already exciting career.

The challenge this week, a futuristic, over the top, metallic nail design, pays tribute to the shifts I have made over the last two years, to keep my career fresh and alive. Like so many others, I have become a subject matter expert at changing gears, on the fly, trying to stay afloat in this new, fluid world. As we head into this new Industrial Revolution, I have been heavily inspired by Steampunk design and much of my art has been influenced by the Victorian-era industrial revolution. The innovations that occurred in this era were game changers, allowing for enormous growth and bigger, faster and more powerful machines. Change is necessary for progression, and the change I have experienced over the course of the last two years is nothing short of revolutionary.

Watch her video diary

Watch her reel


Color Me KUPA

Pixies are magical, mischievous fairies that are often dressed in green and purple, who dance in the moonlight to the music of frogs and crickets. Pixies are often up to no good and enjoy playing pranks. The colour purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red and is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition.Purple Pixies.Two words that perfectly sum up my daughter. She was the inspiration for this set of nails. A magical, mischievous character who is full of joy and delight. Both calm and fierce in one singular force. Bold and opinionated, yet sweet and polite. Fearless. Fierce. As the mom of a daughter, I know that she is watching and listening, learning how to be a girl, and eventually a woman by how I navigate the world. I strive to always be a positive role model for her. To teach her independence and perseverance. We encourage our children to be outspoken, curious, and to question things. We embrace mischief and pranks, silliness and laughter, as this is how we can teach our children to be positive, outspoken and good human beings. 

This set of nails showcases the pixie theme from Kupa’s colour sleeve collection. These fun and magical fairies would feel right at home, hiding amongst the purple flowers that make up the second set of nails. The purple, pink, and blue hues blend perfectly, creating a magical forest in which these little pixies can flutter about, causing mischief.

As an artist, it’s easy to get lost in your own little world. Creativity and ambition are often synonymous with isolation and solitude. But I have found strength in numbers, as a wife, a mother, a business owner, and most recently as an apprentice.  I am always seeking out new and exciting ways to express myself creatively. Most recently, I have started an apprenticeship with a local Tattoo artist in my hometown of Owen Sound. This opportunity has not only given me the ability to learn a new skill and become an exciting new addition to my career, but it has also provided a new avenue to be creative. This new adventure has been one of the most exciting opportunities.

My strength, as an artist, is free-style hand painting. I especially enjoy the small, special details that hand painting allows me to offer to my clients. With a focus lately on traditional tattoo artistry, I used this style for this challenge. I have quickly learned to adapt my artistic style to be able to create traditional tattoo designs while completing my apprenticeship at Dutch Ink. Underside nail art is also a favorite detail of mine, as it allows my clients the opportunity to have something special, and dare I say, private for them to enjoy. I pulled from my strength as a Mother for inspiration for the underside nail art of this challenge, and recreated the family portrait that my 5-year-old daughter recently drew. Strength in numbers is how so many of us have persevered through the last two years. The strength of love in my home and from my family to support my dreams and ambitions is what allows me to continue to be an artist.

Watch her video diary