I love when I come across nail art that absolutely blows my mind, so I just had to have a few words by Steph Berry who runs Haus of Lacquer. I was introduced to her work during fall 2011, but it took me until around May of this year to actually hit her up! The graduate of Blanche Macdonald Nail Parlour is a hard working wife and mother of two in a nail league of her own with respect for certified creators who come correct. The sugar sweet fan of gold jewelry, long hair, long nails, and anything related to London, shares her inspiration/preparation, insight on what HOL represents, upcoming nail tours, the sexiest thing ever done for her, and more after the jump!
Unknown For My love of gaudy, gold jewelry and anything London related.
Sexiest Place You’ve Ever Been Hm…I haven’t been anywhere I consider sexy yet. Leave that one open for me…
Sexiest Thing Ever Done For You Having someone leave their family, friends and country for me.
Top 5 vices Buying anything and everything nail related, always feeling the need to travel (call me a gypsy), bright lipsticks, food and shopping.
Currently on your playlist A lot of 90’s R&B and Hip-Hop.
Least favorite trend(s) Um….I don’t know. Leg warmers?
So tell me a little bit about yourself (aside from nails because we’ll get into that as we go) I’m a wife to an amazing man and mom to two awesome kids! I’m not too sure what else there is to say about me.
How important is the existence of the Haus of Lacquer and what does your art represent? I started “Haus of Lacquer” so I could have a creative outlet. Now it’s become something I’m proud of. It has led to so many opportunities that I didn’t think were possible to nail techs, like being asked questions for an interview (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), being represented by an agency as dope as Nobasura, being part of a brand as dope as Queens, seeing my work in print ads, photo shoots and music videos. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be doing anything besides sitting in a salon painting people’s nails red. As for my art? It represents all the things swimming around in my head. It’s kinda cool to have someone come in with an idea of what they want on their nails and I get to put my twist on it. So for me, Haus of Lacquer is very important, but the existence of HOL is something that I’m still trying to grow and expand.
When did you start doing nails and why? Growing up and still now, my mom always did her own nails. And most of the time it had some sort of a design on it. Actually, her go-to nails were almond/pointed shaped and had the half moon mani with a french tip. She’s been on trend for decades so I started painting my nails too. Soon after that, in high school, I was doing those horrible acrylic kits you get at the drugstore. Ew. Eventually I started going to salons. I always loved having my nails done, but no one could ever do what I wanted on them. So I thought, why not do this for myself then went to school for it. You know, I always wanted to be a tattoo artist but I knew my artistic abilities would never be up to par and I couldn’t imagine doing something so permanent on someone. I just don’t trust myself enough to scar someone permanently. So it’s nice to be able to put my art on someone without worrying about them not wanting it anymore when they sober up. If they get bored of it, they can just get rid of it and move onto the next HOL design!
What’s the inspiration behind your nails and how do you prepare for each design? I take a lot of inspiration from prints of fabric, clothes and art. Random doodles will sometimes turn into a design. Obviously the nail art community inspires me, as well! As for preparing for a design…I don’t know that I always do prepare. Sometimes I just go in blindly, especially if it’s a design someone has brought in. Usually, if it’s something I’m trying to work out in my head, there’s nothing like grabbing some polish and trying it out on myself first. It’s about figuring out what technique to use for that specific design you’re working on.
Do you have any particular polishes that remain to be your favorite or long lasting? Hm, tough questions. I use a lot of different polishes. Everyone seems to recognize OPI’s colours so sometimes clients will gravitate to them more. But I like the wear and colours from Orly and Illamasqua personally. RGB and Butter London are up there, too.
I’m guessing you spend more time now fighting stolen photos and making sure that you have accurate sourcing (MTV Style kinda f***** up!). Does this come with the territory and how do you make things right? Meh. You know, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. I mean, sometimes people mean well and want to compliment your work, they’ve just overlooked the sourcing part (do your homework!) Whatever. It’s when people use your work and try to take credit for it. That’s not cool. But I mean on the bright side, I’ve been lucky enough to have my nails be the inspiration for other people’s nail art and nothing’s cooler than that. Can’t complain there.
What’s your favorite piece of nail art you’ve coined or created? Coined or created? I don’t know. Maybe the chains x chains, where I put actual chains over hand painted chains? Some of my line work is unique, I guess. There is so much amazing nail art out there that I’m not sure if what I think I’ve created hasn’t been done already. I mean, sometimes I think I’ve got this amazing idea and then I’ll randomly come across an old nail photo from the 90’s that is essentially, my big, bright idea.
How do you set yourself apart from other designers out there? I’m not just a nail artist/designer. I’m a nail tech, too. Plus I’m always researching new techniques and different products. I wanna stay on top of my nail game. There’s so many good up and comers out there. Need to keep hustling!
Random, but umm do longer claw manicures ever get in the way of sex? (Laughs!) Not in the way of sex per se, but I imagine that there are certain “jobs” that involve your hands that might involve a bit of careful hand placement.
What does it take to be successful and motivated in this business? You just gotta love what you do honestly. There will always be haters out there or people out there who don’t get what you do, but you just have to remember that there are people out there who love what you do, too.
What’s the most challenging part of making a name for yourself in the nail industry and how do you overcome it? I’d say making yourself stand out from the crowd can be pretty challenging. You want to offer something that no one else does.
Do you have any pop-up events or nail tours coming up?! Yes! I’ll be in Wah Nails in LDN in mid-July. Check out my Tumblr page (www.hausoflacquer.com) or Twitter @hausoflacquer for updates!
I see your manicures as a celebration of youth culture and steeze, but what do you see it as? Thank you! I don’t think I can top that.
Why do you think that there is this continued buzz around nails? What better way to accent an outfit? I mean nail artists are coming out with some crazy stuff…there is always something better around the corner to keep people interested.
What do you want Haus of Lacquer to be remembered for this year and in the future? This year I’d just like to be remembered as being better than I was last year. Hey as long as I’m being remembered right?
If you could design anyone’s nails who would it be? A guy! I don’t know who. A dude who would rock them with no shame. David Beckham or Johnny Depp. Ryan Gosling wouldn’t be a bad pick either…
(Oo la la Ryan Gosling is f***ing sexxxy!!!!)
What’s the craziest nail request you’ve had from someone? I haven’t gotten anything that I consider super crazy. I’m still waiting on someone to blow my mind. Any takers?
Any advice to aspiring artists? If it’s what you really want to do, stick with it. It can be tough in the beginning. Promote yourself. And for God sake, go to school. Don’t be giving anyone any fungus. I’m kidding…sort of. Good luck!
Additional: how to book apptments, service menu Offering natural manis, gels, acrylics, BO$$ nail art and general dopeness. Contact me by email to find out more info on my services or to book an appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org