UK based artist Kayleigh O’Connor creates finger tip works of art by shaping and painting false acrylic nails into everything from Indiana Jones’ hat and whip to a sparkly golden snitch from Harry Potter. Even if her name doesn’t sound familiar to you, I’m sure you’ve seen her Batman or Tetris inspired nails on Tumbler or Pinterest. Kayleigh says she, “started gluing on false nails when I was around 16…After a while I started painting designs on them so they didn’t look so boring, and then it went a bit crazy, with different shapes sizes and all that… Now I mainly make them for fun and like to change them a few times a week .”
1. Where do you get your inspiration?
I have no idea where the inspiration comes from (apart from the obvious text I’m ripping off, haha). If I can’t attempt a straight-forward, sort-of-copy of something (like, say, the TARDIS) I like to think of ways to get the essence of a film/show/character by using colors, shapes, etc. This is usually the case when I make the minimalist character nails (as I am rubbish at painting faces). I don’t usually plan ahead either, I just know what I want to try and then I get started.
2. How long does it typically take you to finish one set of nails?
On average it usually takes me around 45 minutes to an hour to make a set, sometimes up to two hours if it’s fiddly or I have to wait for parts to dry before I add more details. Then again, some sets might only take 20 minutes. I never know how long they will take me until I finish. If I’m making a themed set I might put the corresponding film/show on so the time flies by.
3. What tools do you use and do you have a nail polish brand that you prefer to use?
I am so primitive when it comes to nail art! I did buy a fancy set of professional brushes but I have barely touched them. Instead, I like to use an old paintbrush that I cut most of the bristles off to make it thinner, I’ve been using it for about three years now. I don’t have a favorite brand, I just have a big case of cheap-o varnishes that I have built up over time. I’ve only recently discovered that I could use acrylic paint on my nails too, so I am having loads of fun with that.
4. Of all your nails, which one is your favorite?
I think my favorite ones are the Alien (Chestburster) nails. This was the first time I tried using acrylic paint and was really pleased with the result. Someone commented recently that they liked “how it’s plain white and then bam, alien!”, I enjoyed that.
5. Do you want to work in a salon one day or is it all just for fun?
I would definitely like to work in a salon one day, or at least have my own little internet shop where I could try and sell some of my nails. For now I just make them to amuse myself and hopefully others.