Nail art nation: meet the manicurists

Get your claws out.

Love it or hate it, nail art is here to stay. From the simplest of designs to the most intricate three-course breakfast your digits have ever witnessed, there is inspo everywhere for the nail artists of the east coast.

If you don’t fancy yourself too handy with a detailing brush and dotting tools, no stress. You too can have the extravagant manicure your inner artiste is yearning for. A growing niche, the nail artists of Melbourne and Sydney are multiplying. We spoke to a few of our favourite studios.

Trophy Wife Salon

Who: Chelsea Bagan 
Insta: @trophywifenailart
Where: We have a permanent location in Melbourne. In Sydney we run on a pop-up basis for events and nail bars.
Cost: $25-$60 for plain polish, from $40 for gel or shellac.
Approximate manicure time: Simple – 30 minutes, intricate – one hour.

What inspired you to get into nail art?
I have always been creative and also loved getting my nails done. My interest in nail art began many years ago when I bought some nail art puffer pens on eBay and adorned my nails in tiny fruits.

What do you love most about your craft?
I love it as a form of self-expression. You really can transform them into anything.

Signature look?
We are quite well known for our geometric looks and line work.

Strangest request?
The other day I was asked to paint four different Kardashian faces on someone’s nails. But we get strange requests all the time for people’s partners’ faces, their pets and favourite foods.

Best advice for aspiring nail artists?
Practice really does make perfect.

Nail Polish Addicts Anonymous (N.P.A.A.)
Who: Nella van Veenendaal
Insta: @nailpolishaddictsanonymous
Where: Level 2, 473 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney at Collector Store.
Cost: $25 for a classic manicure, $35 for a feature nail manicure, $40 for half moons or tips, $50-$100 for a nail art manicure.
Approximate manicure time: Between 20 minutes to one hour depending on how intricate or customised the design is.

What inspired you to get into nail art?
I was working in Japan and had some friends who were into nail art and I totally fell in love with it. Then coming back to Sydney, my friend Fleur and I started N.P.A.A. as a club for anyone as obsessed with nail art as we were. It turns out lots of people were.

What do you love most about your craft?
Nails aren’t permanent and you can change them to whatever you feel like. Polka dots and rainbows one week, and monochrome black and white geometric patterns the next. Also cute nails make people so happy, which is the best part of my job.

Signature look?
There are popular designs that clients come in for like daisies or contrasting half moons. My style is very much defined by the colour combinations I use in a design. Lots of pastels and gem tones together and I never say no to a glitter feature nail.

Strangest nail art request?
A client was moving to San Francisco and wanted the Golden Gate Bridge painted across her nails.

Best advice for aspiring nail artists?
Look for inspiration everywhere, from the colour of hot rod cars to print designers. There is inspiration for nail art everywhere. Also practice as much as you can on friends and family to get a feel for different types of nails and polishes. 

I Scream Nails

Who: Celia Cecchi
Insta: @iscreamnails
Where: Shop 11, 130 Carillon Avenue, Newtown, Sydney.
Cost: Mix and match nail art (nail art on all fingers with up to five different designs) is $55.
Approximate manicure time: One hour.

What inspired you to get into nail art?
I was totally obsessed with everything nails. I was also pretty bored at my day job so when I got home at night, I started doing nail art as a way to escape my boring nine-to-five job.

What do you love most about your craft?
That you can match your nails to any outfit or to suit any mood. The options are endless.

Signature look?
My personal signature look is probably colourful, casual streetwear. I always have awesome sneakers though. Always.

Strangest nail art request?  
Although I don’t actually paint nails anymore (purely work on the business operations and growth), I am of course across all crazy nail art requests. We have done lots of boobies and rude bits.

Best advice for aspiring nail artists?
Give it a go. And the obvious. Practice and persistence. These two things will pay off of course.

Image via Trophy Wife Salon.

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