New York artist, Naomi Yasuda, is constantly pushing the boundaries of nail art, making dreams a reality and exciting the imagination with her striking, intricate creations. Her designs adorn the fingertips of Lady Gaga, Madonna, Steven Tyler, Alicia Keys, Alexa Chung, Courtney Love, Kelly Osbourne, Jeannie Mai, the ladies of Sex & the City and a galaxy of other stars. Naomi is a master of her craft.

What does beauty mean to you?

NAOMI YASUDA: Nails are very important parts of our beauty because even when you have no makeup, even when your hair is not done, your nails still make a striking statement!

You’ve been very creative since a young age; what are your first memories of creating?

NY: I always liked doing my own nails and then I started doing the nails of my sisters and friends. I used to bring nail polish to my school and do my friends’ nails on our lunch breaks!

What do you love the most about your job?

NY: I get to meet so many amazing people. It always keeps me motivated and inspired.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in regards to what you do?

NY: Last year I had a collaboration with Barneys for Lady Gaga’s pop up shop! I made 4 different press-on tips 2minx nail stickers, and I handmade 1500 nail tips! I had to do everything from designing to manufacture. I only had about 3months to put together! It was so much work.

What is your favourite nail art technique?

NY: Gel. I like to use 3D material which is stones, studs, chain etc. Gel really helps to hold them on the nails and last longer.

What are your favourite colours to work with?

NY: I have so many different types of clients and my nail art is always very different for each client. I did Madonna’s nails for her Super Bowl performance in 2012! Words cannot express how excited I was. I still can’t believe it! I also did Alicia Keys’ nails for her Element of Freedom album cover. It was a long day, but every look came out great and I really loved the gemstone, bindi-style nail that I did for her. Steven Tyler was fun too! I did his nails for an Aerosmith concert. He invited me to his concert at Jones Beach State Park, NY. When I saw his nails on the big screen I almost cried! He is one of the most amazing guys I have ever met.

You work with many musicians, actors and artists; do you ever have conversations about art and creativity while doing their nails?

NY: Yes! I usually ask some questions before start doing nails (favourite colour, shape length of the nails, if they play instrumental, if there is special occasion or event etc.). It’s very important to know some information to create the design.

What matters most to you as an artist?

NY: First of all, as a creator, imagination is very important; I try to have an antenna out for new design ideas every day, as I get inspiration from everywhere. I also have so many types of clients that my style has to adapt to their preference but, I do like to add my own flavour! As with anything practice makes perfect! I have about 10 years experience as a professional nail artist and manicurist. I am very confident about my skills and technique.

What kind of art is on your walls at home?

NY: I just painted my walls grey and white stripes! I have Andy Warhol picture in a vintage gold frame on the wall.

Who’s your favourite style icon/designer? What is it about them that you love?

NY: My friends and clients. I get to really know them and admire.

What are some of your biggest dreams right now for what you do?

NY: I’d love to start my nail product line. My goal is for the general public to become familiar with nail art!

Naomi + interviewee Jeannie Mai:

Japanese documentary on Naomi Yasuda (there are no English subtitles but you’ll get an idea of how Naomi creates from watching):

For more Naomi Yasuda. Graffiti nail art tutorial with Naomi. Naomi works at Hello Beautiful Salon. Naomi on Twitter. Instagram: @naominailsnyc