This week on Nailpolis Magazine, we’re excited to share our interview with Michelle from Break Rules Not Nails. Michelle is known for her incredible ability to recreate famous paintings on her nails. The recreations are mind-blowing and hyperrealistic–it takes real technique to be able to do this. You may have seen Michelle’s Salvador Dali & Goth Mona Lisa nails on Nailpolis’ Top 100 nail art designs page.
Michelle comes from Brisbane, Australia, and currently lives in a small country town halfway between Sydney and Brisbane. She lives with a small mischievous black cat named Leila (named after Leila from Futurama), because the cat has some attitude! There are nearly 800 bottles of nail polish in her house. (Despite her obsession with nail art, she can’t wear nail polish to work, so some of her designs come off once they are done.)
How did you get into nail art?
I stumbled across a water marble tutorial on Youtube. Then I found another tutorial and another and another!! I never knew such things were even possible with nail polish! I was hooked. I found Robin Moses and my favourite nail artist Tartofraises tutorials. It was love at first sight!
In high school (20 years ago!) I would paint one side of my nail black and one side white. I thought this was pretty sophisticated….little did I know!!
What’s your #1 favorite painting? What do you love about the painting?
I’m presuming you mean a fine art painting. I don’t think I have one or even a favourite artist. There are just too many to choose from.
I love the colour, energy and brushstrokes of Van Gogh, the weirdest of Picasso and Dali. The brushstrokes and texture of Cezanne. The beautiful pastel drawings of Degas. The technical brilliance of Michelangelo and Leonardo. How could I choose between them?? Not to mention modern day artists such as Abigail Larson.
How often do you do a new nail design?
While there is always some nail art design ticking over in my head, getting to create one happens only once or twice a week. I have a list of 50-60 ideas to try! I try to post twice a week on my blog.
How long do you usually spend on each nail design?
I can spend anywhere from 30 mins to quite a few hours on a design. I haven’t timed myself. If a design is a complex one, I paint on fake nails, so I can come back to it without it getting ruined before its finished. At a guess maybe 6 or more hours for a detailed design.(eg fine art inspired such as Mona Lisa) I shall have to time myself.
We’re so impressed by how you recreate paintings from so many different art movements! What are some of the top techniques you use? How do they differ for more naturalistic designs, and more abstract designs?
The style is created by the brushstrokes, if they are blended together or not. Or sometimes just flat areas of colour as in the Picasso nails.
I either paint with polish, watercolour and acrylic paint mixed together or just watercolour. If using polish, I constantly (nearly after each brush stroke) wipe my brush of the old polish (onto nail remover wipes in a little pot), before I pick up more polish. This is because the polish dries so quickly on the brush.
When using watercolour paint this is not necessary and the watercolour blends together really well as in the Michelangelo “Pieta” face. Watercolour needs sealing between layers and of course once the design is completed. From memory I painted Van Gogh with polish and the Dali with watercolor.
I have made one tutorial which is of the Goth Mona Lisa landscape background. I hope to make more.
Goth Mona Lisa video tutorial
Are there any nail art tools that you simply can’t live without?
Brushes would be the tools I can’t live without! Surprisingly I don’t use really small brushes, but good quality ones are essential. Like the old saying goes… you get way you pay for!
What are your tips for beginners who are just getting into nail art?
Practise, practise and practise some more!!!
Never tell yourself that you can’t draw or paint. I believe everyone can, it is more about looking at shapes and the direction of line and depth of shadow. Hand to eye co-ordination will come, but you need to look carefully at what it is you are trying to draw.
I did give Charlie from Pocket Money Polishes some drawing tips online and now she paints and sells her paintings!! Don’t be defeated by your attitude, pat yourself on the back when you see an improvement. Keep at it!!
Start simple and don’t compare yourself to others and give up. Instead use them as inspiration, copying others work teaches you a lot, but if you post it online always give credit, it is manners and etiquette! We all have to start somewhere, some have been at it longer than others and are further down the road, some are just beginning their journey into nail art.
Find a nail art challenge group (facebook) where there is a theme and a date to post on. This is kind of like homework, because it motivates you to come up with an idea by a certain day. Think outside the box! Pay attention to clean up around your cuticles and pulease pulease don’t do the dreaded “claw” hand pose! A natural hand pose makes alot of difference. Try to keep all nails roughly the same length and look after your cuticles, you will have stronger nails as a result.
Who are some of your favorite nail artists?
- Tartofraises (my favorite nail artist)
- Robin Moses
- Lucy’s Stash
- Chalkboard Nails
Among others, those are the ones that spring to mind immediately.
What are some of your hobbies outside of nail art?
Outside of nail art I’m a volunteer with an emergency service. We respond where people need rescuing (car accidents etc) and to storm damage.
Where I live, when it rains it rains!! So sometimes I can be found on a roof with a tarpaulin in hand or lugging around sandbags. I tend not to do too much of the rescue side, not my cup of tea.
I enjoy doing anything creative, gardening, cooking, painting, beading, sewing, wire working. I love to make “things”. I like keeping fit and exercising. Walks on the beach or bush, fishing, I love the outdoors and nature.
Tell us something interesting or funny about yourself!
Interesting or funny??? I studied art at Uni, my major was drawing. After 6 hours a day, blending charcoal my fingerprints wore away! I ended up failing figure drawing, so failed the course. I lost a lot of faith in art after this and didn’t draw or paint for years. Some of my lectures have some strange ideas like…”Van Gogh has said all there is to say about old boots”! I have ended up being a chef and cook desserts in a resort. I really like my job as it allows me to be creative.
I cut my own hair according to the moon, a science experiment that I’m yet to decide if it works or not. I cut it to grow quicker…..I hope!!
We’re so proud to say that Michelle was one of the earliest artists on Nailpolis! Thank you so much for allowing us to interview you Michelle! We look forward to chatting to you again soon. Don’t forget to visit Michelle’s blog and follow her nail art on Nailpolis!