Nail Art: Small Canvas, Big Effect



Sophia M. Papadopoulos

Art: In the eye of the beholder

nilBeauty has been said to be in the eye of the beholder, and the same can be said about art. To one person, splatters of multiple colors on a canvas may be considered art, yet to another, that same painting can be just that; splatters of colors on a canvas. What it comes down to is a matter of preference and taste, and since art like beauty is subjective, each person has the freedom to enjoy any form of art that comes his or her way.

Ancient routine

(33.2) color blendOne form of art that has been popular amongst women in particular is nail art. Many women have adopted the routine of getting their nails done as part of a bi-monthly or monthly grooming ritual. On any day, nail salons can be found filled with women taking a break from their everyday hectic schedules, and enjoying a luxury that spans back to 3000 BC.

Royal vanity – from Japan to Egypt

3d nails 1Although the definite origins of nail art is not factually known, it has been reported that the practice of nail decorating began with the Japanese and the Italians who were the first to begin adding color to their nails around 3000 BC. The Chinese would also color their nails by adding a type of lacquer made out of beeswax, gelatin, and a variety of flower petals. For the Chinese, however, nail staining was also a ritual that signified royal status. Chinese nobility would either paint their nails silver, gold, and in later centuries black, as these colors symbolized their imperial rank.

The Egyptians were also known to paint their nails, but their color of choice was a reddish brown. Similar to the Chinese, the Egyptians also used nail color as a means to signify social order. Egyptian Queens would use various shades of reds at the tip of their nails, while women of lower rank would only be allowed to use pale hues. Egyptian kings were also known to have painted nails.

Nail color, social status

very fancy nailsIn ancient times, the condition and color of a person’s nails was also an indicator of his or her social status. For laborers, their hands were their tools, so their nails were not manicured. And since they only received minimal pay for their work, the laborers would spend the money they earned on basic necessities rather than luxuries. Only the wealthy upper-class was able to afford and have manicured, primed and decorated nails.

21st century portable art

3d nails 5Although nail art in the 21st century has remained a symbol of status to some degree, our bare nails also offer a canvas that can be used to create some intricate and amazing works of personal portable art. And with a variety of nail art, spanning from freehand nail art, airbrushed, color blends, fancy French, seasonal, and 3D, there are endless possibilities when it comes to this form of nail art.

3D nail art

3d nails with charm 103D nail art, in particular, is a form of nail art that brings the typical flat-based colors and designs produced on the nails to life; a technique where art meets fashion and vice versa. These elaborate designed “nail chips” as they are called, can be custom-made to fit any clients’ request, preference, and can also be made to correspond with any special occasion.

3D nail art also has no boundaries, and like jewelry and other fashion accessories, nail chips can range from delicate and sophisticated in nature to overly ornate and over-the-top. And for those who enjoy being extraordinary and want to make a bigger fashion statement, they can request to have jewels or charms attached to their already extravagant 3D nails.

3D nail art – how it’s made

3d nails 6Stereoscopic (3D) nail art is made by the nail artist first applying a paint-like material or mixture over the nails and then sculpting any shape or design the client wants before it dries. If the 3D nail shape or design in simple, then the nail artist can sculpt it immediately on each nail. However, if a client wants more intricate designs such as flowers, each nail chip is made in advance and then assembled and glued on each nail.

The process of making the 3D nail art can span from three to four minutes for simple designs, to twenty minutes for more intricate pieces. If a client wants a full 10-piece set of nail chips accompanied by complex decorations, rhinestones and details, this set of nails can take two to four hours to make.

Artistic technique for the ages

For those of you who would like to become a walking canvas of artistic inspiration and make a fashion statement through artistic expression, nail art may just be the thing for you. All you will need is a little time, clean nails, and a whole lot of imagination. And no matter what your artistic taste may be, the art of nail painting and sculpting is an ancient technique that will continue to flourish and gain popularity amongst both novices and connoisseurs of art alike.

(1) freehand nail art

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