We introduce you to some of the worlds most influential nail artists who shape today’s pop culture by creating pieces of art on the tiny area of our fingertips


When hearing the word “nail” in context of beauty and or fashion, the most prominent word that comes to mind is “French Manicure” which was invented in the late 1970’s by Jeff Pink. Since then, the development in the area regarding materials, shapes and colors has sky-rocketed.




Motifs range from squeaky colorful designs to morbid, 3d nails which exceed the practicality of being companions in everyday-life. Some artists, like Alona Sobolevska create sets (10 nails = one set), where the work turns the subject into a living performance art piece.





Tomoya Nakagawa uses Zbrush to create his designs, which are then 3-d printed and finished off by being painted. In addition to the nail designs which are high in demand, Tomaya creates headpieces, grills and other jewelry accessories.



Especially in the music and fashion world, nails which slay have become a status symbol. Celebrities, pop-icons, actresses as well as every day people enjoy the glamour a personalized manicure offers. Nail artists draw their inspiration from all sorts of fields: be it from album covers as in Melissa Samuel’s (@finesseyourclaws) case showed below, or nature itself in @calientenails‘ creation.




However modern, it is worth noting that nail art has been present in many civilizations throughout history. The practice of painting nails dates back as far as ancient Egypt (5000-3000 BC), where social status and seductiveness was visualized by nails dyed with henna. 3200 BC, male Babylonian warriors were painting their nails with black and green kohl in a ritual preparing them for war.




In today’s fashion photography, it is common for brands to have a nail artist on set, additionally the traditional hair-and-make-up artist.
Gestures made with our hands are – after the facial expressions – the most impressive way how humans show their emotions and character, making our hands extremely important for self-expression. Nail art cannot be erased from today’s pop culture, having become a solid accessory for people from all creative fields, expressing their — and/or the nail artist’s — creative vision at the end of their fingertips.





Image Credits:

Cover: collage by the author

1 © @badgirlsgoodnails
2 © Caitlyn Anne Iskra (@horninails)
3-5 © Alona Sobolevska
6 and crop image © Tomoya Nakagawa
7 © Melissa Samuel (@finesseyourclaws)
8 © @calientenails
9 © @deuzenity
10 © Maïli (@dollzby)
11 © @cocamichelle
12 © Britney Tokyo (@britneytokyo)
13 © @bykarina.nails