All lines are possible if you ever think about putting your nails in the hands of Spifster——a manicurist based in Chicago whose panache for geometry translates properly onto fingertips. Her choice of shapes are wildly constructed, most suitable for handjobs that want attention. But keep in mind she will deny ya ass kindly if you can’t see HER bigger picture. Yes, to be designed by Spifster you must be 100% ‘SPIFFED’. I was thankful that she took a little time out with me to discuss her start in the nail industry, working with Jeniffer Hudson, being a perfectionist, touring the states and much more, check it out after the jump!
So what’s the story behind Spifster?! Why did you start to design nails and why is it important?
Started in 2008 after years of not doing ANYTHING to my nails. I vowed to start being more girly after highschool, so one day after playing around with a Sharpie Marker my love for nail art began.Spifster began with graphic design though, that’s my first love.
What’s the Spifster routine that gets the creativity flowing before you get to work?
Music! As long as there is some dope ass music playing I’m good, the rest rest will come.
What’s your secret, or rather the risks and experiences it took for you to become an established nail artist?
My secret is always being true to myself. I’ve stayed true to form since 2008, so I think I’m doing something right! My risk was dropping school not knowing what was to come. It has been the best choice I’ve ever made though.
What’s your favorite piece of nail art you’ve coined or created?
Though I’m more known for my precise hand drawn lines, I’d have to say my favorite is my exaggerrated polka dots. It’s a signature of mine and if left to me, ALL of my clients would leave with atleast one finger splattered in dots!
Are you available in salons or do you mostly design in your own private space?
For the past year my creative space has been Shervan Salon, 2201 S. Halsted.
It was an HONOR! Jennifer was a sweet heart and she loved her nails (even though the camera angle on the cover of the mag didnt show them). I was the newbie on the team so I had to remember “know your role, and shut your mouth” BUT, when I showed her and the rest of the team my designs, all was spoken. We shared a few Chicago related jokes too. 2012 has no limits, so YES, expect to see more magazine features from me (God willing.)
Why do you think that there is this crazy buzz around nails, especially in Chicago?
I honestly dont know. It’s just COOL! It’s the easiest accessory with the most options a girl can dawn. The creative culture of Chicago has taken new heights in the past 3 years, so I am soooo glad that ladies (and guys surprisingly) have taken notice.
What is a big no-no in your world of nails?
Taking someone else work and claiming it as theirs. Inspiration is one thing, blatant disrespect for a persons craft is another.
Any nail trends you wish to see leave?
What does it mean to be Spifsterized? (I saw Afrobella use the term!)
(Laughs) She and a few others have used that but the experience with me is more widely known as being “spiffed”. Being spiffy is to be attractive, strategic and stylish in your outward appearance. I like to provide that. I put designs together in a way that is cohesive to each finger and to the person.
Will you ever deny a design or client whose ideas just don’t fit the spifster scene?
YES! (Laughs.) I’m known to do so. I’m big on never compromising your style, so if I dont see the bigger picture in a request, I’ll nicely decline, but will recommend something similar and better fitting.
How do you set yourself apart from other designers out there?
I’m a huuuuuge prefectionists, it’s the Virgo in me. So in my designs, everything has to be perfect or it won’t make it out the salon. It’s geometry sometimes. The equation doesnt work if the angle is off by a degree. Also, being myself and staying within my own lane. I think that’s all it takes being an individual. Be true to self and the masses will take notice.
What does it take to be successful and motivated in this business?
Being in love with it. The most successful in their respective fields stems from their true love for it. I LOVE art and everything it stands for. There’s been times I’ve been balled in tears because I love it so much!
You obviously design dope nails, but for some reason I think of you as a writer or something also. I can picture you writing, do you have a column somewhere or am I trippin?!
No writing here. I think of some great shit to write but when it’s time to write it, I go blank. (laughs.) One day I would love to, but I wont force it. I’ll just continue talking and cracking jokes in the meantime.
Any collaborations with other artists (nail, jewelry, musicians…) in your lifetime that you care to share?
All in due time.
How about a Spifster street team?
A lot of my fans have been asking since the beginning, now I’m in a space in time that it can happen so also, coming in due time!
What’s your biggest challenge so far?
When real life and career come head to head. I love this so much that the other seemingly challenges don’t effect me. Only challenge is when LIFE happens, cause life will throw off all the plans you thought you had set. I’m working through it though and life gets easier by the day.
I saw that you scheduled to do a pop-up event in ATL. Do you usually do nail tours and how often?
I’ll travel to where there’s a demand or simply places I’ve wanted to travel to my whole life. Once I began promoting myself via social networks, places like ATL and NY showed me the most love, so thats where I’ve been so far. This year though I have plans on traveling to LA, DC, Miami, Houston and London!
What’s the craziest nail request you’ve had from someone?
Someone asked me to draw their deceased friend face on their nails…..that was one of those designs I declined (laughs.)
Any advice to aspiring artists?
Do what’s natural and never let anyone tell you no.
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