Sometime over the past year, nail art went from kitschy to cool to certifiably huge — and if you're looking to see more of the "art" part of the trend, look no further than Christina Rinaldi of
Prima Creative. The New York-based designer and artist looks to the runway and beyond for the impeccably precise paint jobs she shows off on her Tumblr. Here, she shares some of her favorite nail designs; we dare you to look at them without being impressed and inspired.
When did you start creating nail art?
I've been recreationally creating unique nail designs since the 7th grade. My dad is a model car enthusiast and I used to steal his little jars of unique paint enamel colors. Back then, nail polish brands weren't manufacturing the colors that they are now. I've been photographing my personal manicures since 2006.
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What made you start creating nail art inspired by fashion?
Fashion is a natural source of inspiration for my nail art because both fields share core design principles: color, texture, proportion.
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Can you walk us through your process?
The process generally starts with flipping through my vault of inspirational images (found at random) until I find the one that fits my mood for that day (some days are bright days, some days are neutral days). From that image, I choose my color scheme, sketch out the design, and plan which colors to lay down first.
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How long does it take to create a look?
Each look can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on the number of layers and colors.
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Do you have a favorite manicure?
Yes, but it varies depending on my mood. I'm partial to the recent cheetah-print nails (pictured), and always love the illusion created with the reversed deep V manicure.
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The reverse deep V manicure.
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How do you find the time to do so many manicures?
It has become a creative ritual for me. I dedicate one night per week to create my personal manicure, and create a few manicures for close friends over the weekend.
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What do people say about your nails?
Many people are surprised to learn that I do them myself. They often ask how I duplicate the design on my opposite hand — which, again, is really just patience and practice.
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Where else do you find inspiration for your nails and personal style?
Inspiration really does come from everywhere: eye shadow colors, modern product design, people walking down the street, window displays. I work on Crosby and Howard and consistently find amazing inspiration from the
Jil Sander and Opening Ceremony windows.
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How do you get the lines so straight?
Number one trick of the trade: low-adhesive stickers and/or tape. When arranged strategically, you can get some really amazing results.
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What brands do you use?
All of my manicures start with
Essie All in One Base and end with Essie On The Go topcoat.
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Black, neon, and nude nails.
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A spattered manicure inspired by artist Beatrice Boyle.
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A base coat of American Apparel lacquer in California Trooper is covered with pink dots (Essie Bermuda Shorts) and
Sally Hansen's black nail art pen.
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A multi-hued, multi-patterned look.
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A look to match a Fall 2011 runway look from
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A classic color combination in an anything-but-traditional style.
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Shoes — namely,
Mark Fast's platform heels for his Aldo collection — inspired this look.
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A geometric, mint-green manicure.
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Waves of polka dots over slashes of white.
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A reversed deep V manicure done with Mattese Elite Neon Lightning Blue polish and American Apparel lacquers in California Trooper and Poppy.
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Tiny dots reign on this duo-toned V manicure.
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A manicure inspired by a geometric-pattern
Stella McCartney dress.
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Pattern and texture to match a kisslock clutch.
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An overlapping deep V manicure.
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A stippled staircase of a manicure.
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A look inspired by
Monique Lhuillier's Spring 2012 ready-to-wear show.
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