NTNA 2014 Pre-Challenge #2: Flat Art Inspired by Favorite Visual Artist

Here is the challenge we have the 18 remaining semifinalists:

1. This is a hand-painted challenge. We want you to pick your favorite visual artist and use their style to show us who YOU are as an artist. (You are not recreating one of their famous paintings, you are simply creating your own design using that artist’s signature style.) This design must be done on a single hand (not nail tips, not a plastic hand, but a human hand). You can extend the nails and shape them using any products you want, but we want to see a hand-painted design with no 3-D or art embellishments. You can use polish, gel-polish, or acrylic art paints for this challenge. Email a high resolution photo of your final design on a white background with no props.

2. Please include a brief description (350 words or less) addressing this question: Why did you choose this particular artist and how did you emulate their style to show us who you are as an artist?

3. In addition, please shoot step-by-step photos of the design as you go (up to 10 steps), and upload the tutorial and final image to your profile on Nail Art Gallery — http://nailartgallery.nailsmag.com/. Make sure to write out detailed instructions for each step and use the custom tag NAILSNTNATop18. Make sure to include a link to your tutorial on Nail Art Gallery with your entry.



This year, you’ll be judging each entry in five different categories:

1.  Final nail design (This is where you’re judging the actual nail art/design)

2.  Quality of demo (How is the video? Or how are the step by step photos?)

3. Technique (Is the contestant using advanced skills and techniques? Is she editing herself well? Is she showing a good variety of skills week over week? Is she challenging herself?)

4.  Challenge guidelines (How well did the contestant meet the requirements of the challenge?)

5.  Professionalism (If applicable, was the contestant’s station tidy and clean? Was she using professional nail products/systems as they should be used? Is she using correct terminology and using up-to-date knowledge of techniques? Does she represent the nail industry at its finest? Does she have a polished presentation?)

For each of these above five categories, you’ll give the contestants a 1-10 (10 being highest). There is a place for comments, but at this early stage, you don’t have to leave comments. But you can if you’d like.

We will be eliminating 6 of these contestants this week, so please judge thoughtfully and carefully. You don’t want to see talented artists kicked off yet!

Use the below two links for judging (I had to split the form in half). Please submit your scores to me no later than 3 PM on WEDNESDAY, June 25.

Alecia-Lini:  https://bobitstudios.wufoo.com/forms/ntna-prechallenge-2-part-1/

Marianthi-Yesenia: https://bobitstudios.wufoo.com/forms/ntna-prechallenge-2-part-2/



 Alecia Mounixay (Wilmington, NC)

Seymour yang is a chinese graphic artist known as Meerkatsu who's main work is used in martial arts fighting gear like  Brazilian jujitsu gis. He is known for making art with the intentions of donating all profit for charities like RAIN and Rape Crisis.

I love his work because of the style of Asian art that he does which shows Japanese geishas defeating the demons with easy. And of course pandas!

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Amy Gustafson (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Regrettably I don’t know much about any of our famous influential artists. So I went to Google! I searched top 100 famous artists and as I was scrolling through and the date 1928-1987 caught my eye, as I was born in 1987. The name Andy Warhol rang a bell but you couldn’t pay me $20 to tell you he was an artist. Upon looking into him and who he was, I found out that HE was the leading figure behind ‘pop art,’ which I know all about. I didn’t realize there was an actual person who influenced this artistic expression! Boy did I feel silly. I struggled with the idea of showing who I am using his styles. I don’t think I have ever done a flat, non-sparkle design. But I love colour and I thought it would be fun and challenging to do a self portrait of myself using Andy Warhol’s pop art style of artistry. So I guess I took it a bit literally. I’ve seen lots of comic book style pop art nails, but never his famous colour portraits. I love trying something that I feel like I haven’t seen before, so I decided to go with this idea right away. I knew this design was going to be extremely challenging for me, but luckily he’s also well known for his blotted line technique so I felt like that would benefit the design with any imperfections I felt I had. I love to challenge myself because then no matter what I’ll be happy with my creation as it’s not something I would normally do. This is of course why it’s called a challenge! I am very happy with my end design and I love my tutorial! I feel like any beginner nail artist can follow my steps to create their own version of themselves pop art style and put their own spin on it! I’ve never done anything like it before and turns out, I actually am very proud of my final design!

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see the artist inspiration.


Danielle Constantino (Lincoln, RI)

For the second preliminary challenge I wanted to again, step out of my comfort zone. As an artist, I consider my work very neat and clean. I have a very literal style, and I pride myself on that. My lines have to be perfectly straight, and my smile lines have to have just the right curve. I guess it's just how my OCD frontal right lobe works. While researching many artists, I decided to go with my first instinct. I chose Pablo Picasso. He has a style very different than my own. He saw the world in a very bold, abstract manor. This had a huge impact on his art, and on how art was “supposed” to be in the mid 1900s. His type of envelope-pushing creations, are very easy for people to connect with. This is what made his work as popular as it was, and still is today. Picasso tended to use tons of bright colors, and a color-blocking method to create everyday objects. He also used tons of distracting patterns for his backgrounds, but somehow his foregrounds still stand out. I created my piece using his bold, abstract style. But I added my own twist by using mostly black, white and gray. It was very hard for me to teach my brain to forget about proportions, and realism. But I knew if I was going to emulate Picasso, I had to shed my normal ways.

Picasso painted many women. In fact, most of his abstract masterpieces involved at least one female.  With my piece I wanted to tell a story. I wanted to show people who I am as an artist, and a person.  To add my own artistry into Pablo Picasso’s realm, I decided to do most of the piece in gray scale. Although, I typically use black and white to create a trendy feel, I wanted to create a gloomy vibe, so when adding bits of color, they would really pop. The gray scale lady is supposed to represent myself presently.  The way I feel on a day to day basis — stuck in a routine, just going through the motions every day, waiting for something unknown to me. Wishing to find a balance between all my stresses and pleasures.  The colorful lady in the mirror is a reflection of what other people might see when they look at me.  I am creative, and colorful.  I try to make everyone I cross paths with, have a brighter day.  I am a people pleaser, sometimes I consider it a fault.  It can be very draining.  One day I hope to learn how to juggle my own happiness with the pressures of pleasing so many other people.  On the thumb nail, I want to show the beginning steps of combining who I am now, and who I wish to one day be.  I hope you enjoyed my entry, and the story behind my inspiration.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see the artist inspiration.


Erica Tam (Yellowknife, NW Territories, Canada)


 NO ENTRY. Please give her 1 across the board.



Karrie Bowers (Morgantown, WVa)

For this challenge, I chose to do nails inspired by, and in the style of, Wasilly Kandinsky. Kandinsky is considered by most to be the father of abstract art, and his style varies wildly throughout his career. I admire him from an art standpoint, as well as in a more general sense. I attended university, and majored in Political Science/Pre-Law and then finally gave into my heart's desire and attended nail technology school when I was almost 30, so I feel like I have a kindred spirit in Kandinsky. He originally followed a much more academic path; becoming a lawyer and an economist in his early days. He was offered a professorship by the time he was 30, and around this time, he began to take formal art classes.

Color spoke to and possessed him from an early age, and after being exposed to art education, he became something of an art theorist. He was especially moved by the psychology of art and color. I suppose the emotional effect of art on Kandinsky is what led to his foray into what would become known as "abstract" art.

The period that I am most fond of, and the period these nails are inspired by, is the Bauhaus period, so known for his time teaching art there. This was a very prolific time frame for Kandinsky. He also did some of his most precise brushwork, and played a lot with balance and contrasts. Colorful clusters of shapes and lines in stark contrast to negative space, squiggles to straight lines, amorphous blobs to triangles and perfect circles... I tried to include some of his whimsical sense of balance and geometry to my nails, editing the colors a bit to create my own palette.

I have also been obsessed with color my whole life and I often have Kandinsky, and those Abstract artists he inspired, in my mind when I sit down to paint. I may never have Kandinsky-esque talent, so few do, but I like to think I have a similar artistic spirit and a bit of the same obsessive love for color and art.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see the artist inspiration.


Konstantina Tsihlas (Athens, Greece)

You asked us to pick our favorite visual artist and use their style and create our own design on a single hand. I decided to use my own hand and extend my nails with acrylic and gave them stiletto shape.

I chose Donna Dewberry as favorite artist. She is known for her one stroke painting. She usually paints flowers with one stroke. I really love animals and I really like the way Elena Ballarini draws animals so i wanted to apply Dewberry’s one stroke technique on animals, so i decided to make a jungle. Most artists use one stroke to make flowers i wanted to make this design with some one stroke moves to improve that this technique  can have amazing results on a nail design. I started my  painting with one stroke moves and added some linear design for the details. In one nail i extended  with acrylic ..gave  a stiletto shape..i painted a background and apply again acrylic on  and gave an obele shape. Then i painted my design..i did that because i wanted to give  3D  dimensions. I hope you enjoy my jungle nails.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Lauren Boyd (Memphis, TN)

For my challenge I chose Jean-Michel Basquiat. I've always admired his ability to not paint literally but emotionally and intellectually. He originally started as a graffiti artist in his teen years which makes this even more personal, but the greatest thing was his choice to address social, political or racial issues using his art. Basquiat never painted actual people, but primitive images of his subjects. I chose to paint the famous outlined image if his face over a colorful background.  His Neo Expressionism and primitivist style speaks to me in many ways, both take complicated techniques out of the art and only focus on the core idea and feelings that went into it. It's like telling a child to paint what's in their head, they don't focus on the perfection, just the thoughts and feelings in which you asked them to project through paint and canvas. Art is subjective and never has to be perfect or literal to be art or have meaning.  The crown represents his loyalty and respect for the people he painted. I chose to use this crown in my design for respect for the nail industry as well has the growing art culture. I did use a painting of Jean-Michel Basquiat, but I chose to streak paint over the top of it because of my need for color, and in my opinion, everyone's need for color. Color changes emotions, bright colors can change anyone's mood. Painting itself is healing emotionally, it allows you to dump your emotions onto your canvas releasing your inner tension and pain, or expressing your inner happy child. I feel as though if everyone thought in color the world would be a much prettier place. I hope this explains my very complicated, yet over simplified design.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Lavette Cephus (Toledo, OH)

I chose M.C. Escher the reason why I chose this artist is because his artwork was very unique, it's completely stood out it captured my eyes. I enjoyed how he added life to his work. It made me stare at his artwork, Trying to figure out what exactly was in the picture. He did an amazing job with allusions this was one of his art forms hard I trickery, this excited me more. Some of the ways emulated his style where using the black and white contrast most of his artwork was done in black-and-white. The finger with the side profile of the woman emulate his style of putting objects together I did this by adding a face of a woman applying a Clock a spilled bottle of polish and money on her head. The pinky finger emulates his eye trickery. It's it a silhouette of a nail table and bottle if polish. And my pointer explains the name for this peace reaching my goals and going as far as I can Go in this competition is a huge goal it's a top nail artist trophy with a hand reaching for it.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Lexi Martone (Dix Hills, NY)

When going about this challenge I felt I needed to find an artist that I myself as artist could identify with. In order to show you who I am, I needed someone who had a remotely similar aesthetic. It’s difficult to be myself while also being someone else. The artist choice in itself speaks to who I am as an artist. I don’t identify myself as one particular type of artist such as a cubist or impressionist. However, the one identifying quality consistent in my work is attention to detail. I am a perfectionist and extremely detail oriented. I chose Eric Dufresne for his clean and complex line work. He recreates superheroes using geometric shapes. I really love doing geometric prints and cartoon characters so his work stood out to me. He also leaves out mouths in most of his drawings. This speaks to me not only as a nail artist, but as an artist in general. I've always been known to leave out mouths on my drawings and fashion designs simply because I don't like drawing them. So, here are some Powerpuff Girls "Dufresne style" because I like The Powerpuff Girls.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Lini Sherburne (Sparks, MD)

I am a huge fan of whimsical, fantasy and surrealist art. I am someone who views the world with a sense of "childlike wonder", and I think that is why I am so drawn to styles of art that show often everyday themes in a fantastical way. I love fairy tales and fables, and it was because of this that I first discovered the artist behind my design. Camille Rose Garcia is a well known artist in the pop surrealism community. She has recreated many well known classic stories, such as Alice in Wonderland and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in her own eerie, yet beautiful style.

My design is entitled "Artist's Dream", and it shows just a tiny glimpse into the fantastical dreams a girl competing in Next Top Nail Artist might have. The key elements in my design are the dreamer, shown in a faded/semi transparent face, since she is both the creator and subject of the dream. Because I am an artist at heart, a paintbrush paints the flows of the dream, all connected with the "dream weave" ribbon. Butterflies are something very symbolic to me personally, and I have always used them to represent myself as a sort of logo. They also represent the fleeting moment of the dream itself. Lastly, there is a running stop watch, sporting a fancy red manicure, to represent the contest itself (nail art with a deadline!).

I used stripes in much of the design, something key to many of Camille Rose Garcia's works. The fading, brush stroke backdrop, as well as the "dripping" effects are also seen in her paintings. Each nail tip actually ends in a unique, slightly melted end, like many of the stalactite elements in her art. I made sure that my butterflies and the dreamer's face were done in a style straight out of Garcia's works. The use of black as the main color is something else very true to the artist. The style of my design is definitely done in Camille Rose Garcia's own artistic manner, although the theme is all my own.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Marianthi Tsitsopoulou (Oreoi, Greece)

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso was born in 1881 and lived 92 years of artistic productiveness, glory, love and recognition.

Most of us know PP as an eccentric painter,but he was so much more. Sculptor, printmaker, ceramist,stage designer,poet and playwright- just to name a few of his graces.But most of all, PP has been a man with strong personality ,self esteem and wisdom that can learn us a lot ,weather we like his work or not.

The reason why I chose this particular artist to work with,is one of the phrases he left in history,amongst many:"I am always doing that I cannot do,in order that I may learn how to do  it".And this is exactly how I would describe the way I see my work as an artist.

My clients often ask me if I have rehearsed something we are trying for the very first time and I always say no, because somehow I know that art is going to show me the way.And it does,everytime.

Apart from nail technician,I am a kindergarden school teacher for kids with special needs. Special education is something I am really involved in ,I can handle,I believe in,plus, something I think we all should have a taste of, because it can learn us a lot about life.

Next,I have a dog,Eva, which I really love, she is crazy but she is my companion ,she is with me all the endless hours of working,practising, she is even used to the chemical odors despite she is a dog.

Another strong aspect of my personality is my heritage,I am an offspring of Constantinople grandparent refugees,and this is something obvious in the way I have been raised,talk,cook,love,live.

My work is something very characteristic of me,as it takes way more than 8 hours a day in my mind.I believe than what I do for living and who I am,are pretty much the same thing so far.

Last but not least,this whole project would be half without my signature.My name means Mary of the Flowers, so ,I chose to create an “M” for the pinkie, full of flowers.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Marisol Alvarado (Stockton, CA)

I chose a local digital artist from Stockton, California. His name is CJ Wickham, better known as Alter Egoz. CJ does all of his pixel manipulation on his iPhone and prints the image to canvas. He has shown at many local art shows and is currently on display at a gallery in Maine.

CJ’s work inspires me because of his amazing use of color and immense creativity. When I look at is art, his pictures pull me in. His art makes me feel like I am a part of the image. I was able to interview CJ to discuss how he created his images. He said that he never starts with a final plan in mind, but is usually inspired by a background and builds upon that. The main piece that stuck out in our discussion was regarding the multiple layers he uses. He said that he builds layer upon layer in his images and loves to create depth.

I focused on CJ’s layering to create the background of my nail art design to emulate his style. I created layer upon layer with different colors on the nail. To create depth, I coated each layer in between each color with gel. Each layer created a shadow within the nail. This allowed the background to have the depth that CJ loves in his images. All of the nails are meant to be viewed together to create the feeling of a canvas with the artist’s signature “Egoz” on the thumb being placed at the top of the image.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


NailGurl (Bronx, NY)

In this Nails NTNA 2014 “Flat Art” challenge I personally chose to go with a graffiti theme, paying homage to some of my favorite street writers. While I didn’t choose one street writer specifically, I engulfed my thoughts into the lines, and details that make graffiti a definitive feature in my realm of nail art. What I love most about graffiti (or in better terms to some “street art”) is the high definition of color, use of over exaggerated fonts & detailing. When it comes to graffiti as a whole, there are no boundaries, categories, or any “boxed in” conformity that comes with the lifestyle as a whole. That is how I definite myself as an artist first and foremost, always going against the grain and not with what the industry would want to me to labeled as or keep me filed into…and that is a nail tech. I’m an artist before a nail tech!

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Nuni Torres (Kissimmee, FL)

For this second challenge they wanted me to emulate the style of an artist of my choice, to create my own look. Naturally I chose one of my favorites, A South African artist by the name of Tandi Venter. She is a self-taught artist inspired by nature and does art from ordinary to abstract. The reason that I chose this artist to emulate was because I love her style, Tandi marches to the beat of her own drum and does not apologize for it. I chose to go with a safari look inspired by a combination of her work.

Click here to see his tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Robyn Schwartz (Grand Forks, BC, Canada)

I chose Carmen Guedez. Her work is so pretty, I love the abstract look of it, but it's not too crazy. Her flower and nature painting really grabbed me, the colours she used, the theme of her pictures and they totally looked like they would be stunning on a set of nails.  For me, when it comes to art, less is more. This set of nails is simple, pretty and really stands out without too much extra going on.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Sherri Traweek (Redlands, CA)

I based this week’s challenge on the works of Alphonse Mucha, the father of the Art Nouveau movement. I really love how his work embraces the beauty in everything. He saw that life itself was art, and captured that in his now famous paintings, posters and advertisements. It sparked a movement that brought art to the masses. Before that, art was only for the wealthy. I don’t think any of us would be doing what we’re doing if it hadn’t been for trailblazers like Alphonse Mucha.

His work brought together feminine beauty, and the natural design of nature. That closest represents me as an artist. I usually choose clean, fluid, and organic designs, and try to work nature into my art as much as possible. While I have not completely found myself as an artist yet, I keep looking forward and pushing myself to refine my style, and try new things. That is why the girl in these nails is leaning against a tree, reaching for the Art Nouveau-stylized moon. She’s reaching for her dreams.

The peacock is imagined in the style of Alphonse Mucha, with art nouveau architectural elements adorning the peacock and its feathers. It represents who I aspire to be as a person. In many cultures, the peacock represents balance, beauty, integrity, soul and compassion. These traits form the foundation that allows her to reach for the stars.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Simon Gilbert (Victoria, Australia)

For this weeks NTNA pre challenge I have chosen two visual artists to create my own work of art, a landscape mural of Uluru.

Uluru, is a large iconic sandstone rock formation located in the heart of the Central Australian desert. This Aboriginal sacred site is Australia's most famous natural landmark.

My Uluru (Ayers Rock) mural was inspired by my favourite visual artist, Australian photographer, Ken Duncan. I have loved Ken's panoramic landscape photography for as long as I can remember. His work is truly inspiring and is well known throughout Australia and internationally. He captures nature at its best with beautifully timed sunrise, sunset and daylight shots.

Photography as an art form, is hard to capture on a nail without the use of actual photography applied to the nails via decals, so I chose to hand paint my landscape design emulating the small, short brush strokes commonly found on a Claude Monet masterpiece. Claude Monet's landscape artwork grabbed my attention with his unique painting style and use of vibrant colours.

Using Monet's technique I was able to combine various shades of color to achieve my own panoramic landscape design. I have included some examples of both artists work for you to view. I'm sure you will love them as much as I do.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


Yesenia Oliva (San Luis Obispo, CA)

I chose Carla Banks she is an artist living in Chicago.  She combines whimsical art and modern art together.  As soon as I saw her paintings I fell in love, I knew that every painting had a meaning, I love how much color she uses and the different shapes and how every painting has a hint of black and white.  I emulated her style by using a variety of colors, shapes and techniques to create different effects.  I also added some letters "LOVE" she also adds writing to a lot of her paintings. I chose to write love in this set to show the love i have for nails. On the thumb I drew a heart because on every set I do, I put all my heart into it.  I drew a flower on there also to symbolize me, it all started with a little seed and I've seen myself slowly bloom into a better nail artiste every day.  On the pinky I added a teeny bit of glitter to add my touch to it because I love glitter! I feel that i emulated her style very well this set is full of life,color and gives joy which is exactly what she transmits thru her paintings.

Click here to see her tutorial.

Click here to see artist inspiration.


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