From elevated to gross, meet the artists behind APOC NAILS new drop

From elevated to gross, meet the artists behind APOC NAILS new drop

by Robyn Pullen
12 min

APOC Store – the curated fashion and art marketplace brimming with IYKYK emerging and independent creators from across the globe – has just revealed a new venture: APOC NAILS. Working closely with eight artists to create a collection of totally unique nail accessories, APOC NAILS is APOC Store’s new Nail Art collection and the solution to your outfits’ missing piece (because you’re not fully dressed until you’ve put on your nails).

From ready-to-wear designs to sculptural avant-garde creations, the APOC NAILS collection has something for everyone, given how diverse the styles and aesthetics of the eight artists it collaborated with are. From elevated and pristine, to edgy and grungy, we spoke to some of the incredible artists who helped create the collection about everything from their dream clients to their favourite sources of inspiration. To shop any of the designs created by the eight artists below and available on APOC Store now, hit the link to APOC NAILS’ page, but before that, let’s get into why they’re iconic in the first place.

@cyshimi brings nail art from an alternate reality

From elevated French tips to “laguna shrine” inspired nails, it feels like each of your nail designs are so unique they could all exist within different universes! Given they’re all so different, what’s your number one source of inspiration?

Anything that is powerful, unique and just represents a new vision can become a reference to doing nails. The internet, nature, the streets, nostalgia and nail communities are some of my main references right now.

What was your inspiration for your contribution to the APOC NAILS collaboration?

I wanted to bring nails that really spoke to me, I chose my favourite designs that could still be used easily by anyone that knows how to handle nails. Some of them are more graphic, others more sculptural and others focused on textures.

If nail art is a form of self-expression, what would you say your designs are trying to express?

My designs represent indestructible power and resistance. Nails are historically a symbol of identity and community across cultures, it’s a way to celebrate plurality and defy normative concepts of beauty and ways of life. A lot of my motivation comes from the fact that there’s a hygienic and polished idea of beauty that I don’t fit into, and my nails are loud about that. When I create, my main motivations are colors, textures and shapes that when combined, creates a set of performative sculptures that are beyond aesthetics.

Dial up @hotnails666420 for an iconic set

Your sources of inspiration seem to come from all over the place, from moth wings to brick phones. But is there anywhere specifically you go to get inspired?

All of my original works begin with found objects, it’s rare that I come up with a concept before finding the object that inspires it. For a while, it was just stuff in my apartment and when I ran out of inspiration I began trolling pawnshops and neighbourhood variety stores. I inherited a ton of little objects and art supplies when my grandmother passed, and that has been my main source of inspiration for the past year. 

If you could create a nail set for a celebrity of your choice, who would you choose and what would the set look like?

I would love to make cell phone nails for Rico Nasty, I think she would really appreciate them. I want to make brick phone nails inspired by peoples first phones, but I’m not sure any of the rappers I listen to are old enough to have had brick phones

Do you find it more fun to create nails that are aesthetically pleasing or repulsive?

I think I’ll always gravitate back to the grotesque. Nails for me have always been about the push pull of attraction and repulsion, even the nails I wear in day-to-day life. Long nails are inherently sexy, but there is a point when they get too long and it becomes frightening to the average person. Those are the nails I like best.

Escape into the alien world of @texto_dallas

A lot of your designs are so abstract they seem as though they’ve been inspired by objects and beings from other planets! Assuming you haven’t actually seen aliens, what would you say is your biggest source of inspiration? 

I wish to meet aliens one day and ask what they think of my nails but actually we don’t need to look after space to see crazy stuff, just Discovery Channel is enough. Mushrooms, sea creatures, insects… and all the animes and video-games I played represent the infinite goldmine I’m digging.

What inspired you to start creating nail art?

I was in Vietnam with my brother and we met a group of guys talking and smoking cigarettes under a waterfall close to Hanoi. As they had a black car with tinted windows parked down the hill we fantasised the fact they would be some mafia guys. One of them that seemed to be the leader had one hand with very long/sharp pink nails with cherry flowers painted on. This vision of pure masculinity of those guys in jeans and white shirt posing like machos and talking loud with the detail of those nails blowed my mind. I started to imitate him, and then I needed more.

How do you want people to feel when they look at/wear your designs?

I love the reaction of people watching my nails and even more when they wear them. They can get intense, emotional and most of the time so happy and confident it is my biggest reward. I also love the fact some comments on my post reveal some disgust or fear, it is for me irrefutable proof that they are Art.

Bite into @raw.nailsss‘ toothy talons

If you could sum up your contribution to APOC NAILS in three words, what would they be?

Damn, are there three words?.. Well, like… I’m freaking happy that my passion, dedication and means of exploring the world led me to such cooperation. 

It’s safe to say your nail designs are quite unusual (e.g. I love the teeth for nails). What’s the deeper message behind your designs (if there is one)? 

I like to know that I can fulfil almost any dream that could arise, not only in my head, but also in the minds of those who visit me for nails. I rejoice when I manage to excite the bright feelings of those around me with the images I create on the nails. The range from intense delight to horror and disgust makes me move further in this direction. … As for the teeth, at first it was literally a part of me, I used my own extracted tooth in the design and it looked so perfect on the nail that I wanted to make it my feature. 

If you could design a nail set for a character or celebrity, who would you choose and what would the set look like?

I would love to do Rick Owens‘ nails if he wanted it too. I see him wearing teeth with gems and string caries on one hand and with short grey-metallic claws with worn varnish. And as for me, Madonna is definitely someone I wish I could work with. In my head she’s definitely a style innovator who was never afraid to go beyond the usual. I’d love to make long, elegant but absolutely crazy claws for her. 

Get your futuristic claws out for @samu.el

Where do you go to find the best sources of inspiration?

I find a lot of inspiration in card games like Yu-Gi-Oh, especially the newer generation monsters that are heavily tech influenced which I find really cool. Also building Gundam plastic models helps me understand the design and construction properties of my favourite mecha suits. And of course my favourite manga and video games will be a continuous source of inspiration forever and always.

Both your makeup and nail design styles are extremely avant-garde! Do you think that, in the future, beauty will continue to go even further down this route, or is there a limit to how avant-garde designs can be?

I think beauty and design will only get crazier and crazier from this point on. I think we’re all a bit tired of everyday minimalism, I know I am. I will not stop creating until my fantasy world becomes the real world. We’re already living in a sci-fi future where anything we can possibly imagine to create, we can visualise in VR and materialise using 3D printing, all from the comforts of our living couch. We’re witnessing a wave of makeup and nail design maximalism accompanied by exponential technological growth, so buckle up!

If you could only wear one nail design for the rest of your life, what would it look like?

I like my nail designs to almost feel like a weapon. Kind of like how a sword is supposed to be wielded as an extension of your arm. It makes me feel powerful, in control and like a baddie. So they would definitely be in silver chrome, sharp as hell, modular and shoot lasers. 

Nail art meets the digital world with @whynoen

Who’s someone you would love to design a set of nails for and why?

I’d love to design a set of nails for Grimes because she’s always pushing boundaries and embracing a futuristic aesthetic, which perfectly aligns with the possibilities of 3D and digital art. Working together would be an electrifying chance to create cutting-edge, mind-blowing nail designs that perfectly complement her artistic vision.

As a 3D artist, I expect you have a strong idea of the ways beauty could transform with the help of digital art. What do you think nail design might look like in the Metaverse, where we’re not held back by the laws of physics?

The integration of VR and the Metaverse in beauty and fashion offers limitless customization, interaction, and inclusivity. As for nails, it would be so exciting if they could morph with our mood. Are you happy or sad? They would adapt in color and move in rhythm with your feelings. Surrounding avatars will understand how to better connect with you in the moment. Display personalized messages, and interact with virtual environments. It opens up a new world of expression beyond physical limitations.

Can you sum up your design style in one sentence?

Visual exploration of the inherent beauty of nature captured through cutting-edge technologies.

Find silver and sensual nail jewellery via @rathelwolf

How do you want people to feel when wearing RÄTHEL & WOLF?

We want people to experience their body in a positive way, highlighting curves and surfaces with our jewellery and making them feel empowered. When we design together in our studio, the starting point is always the material and the relationship we create with it to the human body. We form life size mock-ups by shaping metal pieces to fit and highlight different volumes or details of our bodies. Our intention since the beginning has always been to create pieces that empower all body shapes and all genders.

If you had to describe RÄTHEL & WOLF’s contribution to the new APOC NAILS collection in three words, what would they be?

Bold, elegant, sensual

What are your thoughts on the silver vs. gold debate?

WE LOVE SILVER. When we design we imagine our sculptural shapes in polished silver. We are drawn to the boldness and the industrial and cold feel as a juxtaposition to the soft contours of the body. But also which metal colour you choose is a very personal decision. We have a lot of customers who enjoy our designs in gold because they already have gold jewellery inherited and want to combine or just prefer how gold matches their skin tone, so we offer each piece in 18kt gold vermeil, too. Also mixing both colours can be fun and everyone should just enjoy jewellery in the colours they like.

Featured image via @texto_dallas

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