So here we are at the end of one journey and the start of another adventure. This week’s challenge asked “Where do we go after we grow?” I’m not the same Nail Artist that started this competition 10 weeks ago, she doubted her skill, she doubted her abilities, she second guessed herself, she was afraid of feedback. For years she had been asked why she’d given up her ‘proper job‘, her income assumed by others to be less than her husband’s, after all “She just did nails”. The fact that she’d built up a business from scratch and had taught hundreds of students was just glanced over.
So as the weeks went on and she listened to the judges talking with such passion she started to ask herself why do some people assume these things about the the nail industry? And the reason in the U.K. is lack of regulation.
My piece this week represents this realisation. At her feet the derogatory comments that we all too often hear, in her skirt the artwork that built her skills, the flowers blooming in confidence, reaching up to self actualisation.
So after NTNA I want to start working with organisations to actively promote the raising of standards here in the U.K. encouraging learners and qualified techs to continue their professional development, to embrace new knowledge and to gain inspiration through education.
WEEK # 9
WEEK # 8
Monogramming is a fabulous art that has come to be a classic for anyone wanting to display their initials on clothing, art or belongings.
The earliest monograms first appeared on coins around 350BC and soon became a symbol of power and royalty. No surprise that the fashion houses started to use them on their clothing, bags and accessories. It’s not unusual for people to recognize the monogram with no idea of what the letters stand for. A brand’s whole ethos conveyed on something as small as a postage stamp
For something so small this week’s challenge was a huge task . Unlike traditional monograms I chose not to use a 3 letter format but to create the S out of the N giving the effect of it having 3 letters.
I also wanted the monogram from a distance to look like a pattern itself rather like Gucci, Fendi or the PB initials used in Balmain’s.
The geometric abstract shapes were inspired by early avant-garde artists Kazimir Malevich & Lazar Markovich Lissitzky ( who incidentally often used just red white and black in his work ). These artist were trailblazers during the early part of the last century and went on to inspire hundreds of other artists; we have all seen the classic abstract designs that were popular in the 80s and are again making a resurgence.
My aim was the that every nails could stand alone in its design or be lifted on to another canvas such as a scarf, bag, or blouse .
When we were set this challenge and asked to choose a theme I was drawn to Art of Prediction. My journey in the beauty sector and fate are intrinsically linked, there are plenty of sliding doors moments. I truly believe that I didn’t choose beauty… beauty chose me.
Fortune tellers had told me I would work for myself, as an artist holding brushes. One even said that they saw me on a TV screen being interviewed. But to someone who worked in an office and classroom 9-5 that all seemed a little far fetched. I fell into the beauty industry by pure accident. There was a short course at the local wholesalers which my husband runs and they needed an even number. By pure chance I’d booked that day off as holiday, so rather reluctantly I agreed to go. Ashamedly I had some rather negative preconceptions of professionals that worked in the nail sector … it must be easy right ? It’s only nails ? WRONG! It was hard ! Not only was there a ton of theory, holding a brush correctly turned out to be a lot more challenging than it looks.
Things changed at the 9-5 and I had to make a choice between working for the Man or working for Me . I chose Me. Beauty has completely changed my life. I’d like to say I have more time for myself but that would be a lie. I’ve never worked so hard. I’ve never been so driven, I’ve never been so passionate, because for the first time I’m not impacted by the ‘ Bosses’ decisions , I’m making my own fate and fortune.
So when this weeks challenge dropped in my inbox I was automatically filled with ideas of what I could make using Kupa’s Enrich RX .. gems .. rings ..bling . But then I took a good look at the brief of ‘ Work to Play ‘ and started to think of what that means to me and my experience of day to day life and going out to ‘ Play ‘ in the evenings or weekends. At work we often only show one side of our personality or a muted version of it. One that conforms to what’s needed for the role, almost a diluted version of us. It’s not until we spend time with people outside of their day to day roles that we see them ‘Bloom.’ We discover they love to dance, can kill it on the karaoke, have amazing hobbies, are artists, have a quirky dress sense, volunteer, engage in passions and interests we never knew about, so that’s where my inspiration came from.
When I think of Futuristic, my mind just explodes. Growing up in the ’80s my vision of the future was a mixture of Mad Max, Blade Runner and Star Trek, and to be honest it looks like it’s playing out that way!
Creating these nails was both a technical and artistic challenge. I wanted to demonstrate the adaptability of the CND future form so not only sculpted 5 traditional C-Curve nails but also 5 more futuristic shapes.
On each nail I chose a ‘ Futuristic ‘ theme using CND Core powders as the base , Brisa Gel , Shellac and Over The Top pigments and glitters. The CND Core powder was a dream to work with, a medium setting acrylic which allowed me to build my shape up easily. In the future nails will become even more of an extension of our personalities, our views and our day to day lives. Maybe we will have QR codes printed on them, mini solar panels or our bit coin account? Nails that aren’t only beautiful but have a use. Will our lithium batteries and computer chips be encapsulated into our latest sculpted set?Nail trends and fashions could be influenced by new discoveries, new worlds and new life forms.
The future is full of exciting possibilities but also new challenges. With all of these developments will we finally get a grip on sustainability, stop dumping our rubbish, or will we just dump it in space instead?
We are at a crossroads in humanities story, there are more people on the planet now than have ever existed. Undoubtedly if we take the wrong path it’s definitely going to be more Mad Max than Star Trek. People are becoming more aware and concerned of our impact on the planet and we are seeing the artistic community express this in fashion, artwork, design and nail trends. I feel this will continue to the extreme, demanding a change to the status quo.
I choose Cheetah & 24c Rose Gold for my inspiration this week, although not the brightest colours in the collection they are two of my favourites. The Cheetah is found in Sub Sahara Africa , and although when you think of the African plains you don’t think of bright colours ,the native dress of the people in this area is bright and vivid. Turquoise and orange feature heavily, using this colour palette I used gel polish to paint my representation of a pair of Cheetahs and the surrounding flora and fauna. I purposefully kept this design matte to offer a contrast to corresponding set on the other hand.
For my second set I drew inspiration from the Arts & Crafts movement. Two of my most loved artists/ designers are Rennie Mackintosh & William Morris. Rose gold and coppery tones were a staple in this artwork and were often twinned with enamel and stained glass window pieces. I wanted to recreate some of the naturalist enamel designs of this time using rose gold chroming powders and gel polish. Being careful not to give my design any 3-D texture I had to work thin and ensure the finished article was flat when completed. By using a similar colour pallet I was able to mix and match these two sets so they complement each other. The enamel pieces almost develop a tribal feel when put against the cheetah. Working this way is something I would never normally do, it really stretched my creativity and gave me a completely different perspective on how to approach a design.