Tokyo Nail Expo 2016 Art Tip Award Part 1

Hey guys, I’m sorry this is coming at you so late. I had some video/upload issues in Tokyo that I was too jetlagged/frustrated to do anything with, so I left it until I returned to the US and felt a bit more sane. Blasted roaming 2G  Internet…ah, Japan.

First off, the Expo was great as usual. I believe this is the 7th year I’ve attended. My only complaint is the lousy crowd control. I don’t want to be a nail snob, but it might be useful if they let professionals in early and then the general crowd. The pros know what they want and zip in and out- not so much the case for the general admissions. However, the mayhem is all part of the experience, I guess. Though it runs for 2 days,  I did only attend on the 30th, as the 31st was my wedding anniversary and Mr. NTMG and I zipped off to the hot springs in Hakone. I did miss the Nail Queen fashion show, but I’ll share the images from the show coverage in the next Nail Max magazine.

For some live footage, check out my summary video from my Facebook page here:

But here’s my favorite part of the show- the Art Tip awards! I’m bringing you *every single entry,* despite being nicely crabbed for lingering too long at by the security-type guy at the Art Tip wall. There is a time and place to pretend you don’t speak a lick of Japanese. 😉

These entries are submitted by nail artists with a given theme. This year is “Japanese Textures,” which should be a pretty familiar theme for most of the artists. We will still see a few die-hard hearts and flowers people, who pull the same lame designs no matter what the theme, but there were quite a few entries with some real creative chops behind them. The crowd gets a voting slip with their entrance ticket and can write down the numbers of their favorite entry.

Here’s 1-25. Click to enlarge.


Some notes on the entries, with the number corresponding to the entry numer:

  • #1. The lady oiran (high-class courtesan of the Heian era) figure looks a bit surprised, but the sculpted red acrylic (?) ring is very nice quality. Not sure why the not-very-Japan peacock crashed the party, but they’re kind of jerks like that. They always strut right in.
  • #2. I like the colors but we need something more. Also, why are the goldfish swimming up Mt. Fuji?
  • #3. Nice bold colors, but not sure what the large red disk is- umbrella? Anyone know?
  • #4. While the work is very nice, the bird looks like it’s contemplating devouring the much smaller baby. Being that Japan has an incredibly low birth rate, babies wouldn’t be the first thought on my mind for the theme, but that’s just me. Also, are babies textured? If so, then something is really wrong with the ones I know.
  • #5. Really tight work on the stone lion dogs. The maple leaves are a nice seasonal touch too.
  • #6. Erm….more details please! Unless the 2D work is extraordinary enough to stand on its own (and one later entry was), we all want to see a little 3D action going on.
  • #7. Very fine geometric detail work but the base nails were HUMONGOUS. I mean, they would have fit an elephant.
  • #8. These look a bit haphazard, I couldn’t quite get what the artist was trying to portray. You’ve got to bring on a little more color and detail to make a statement.
  • #9. I like the way the artist used the space even in between the nails to add texture and 3D drama.
  • #10.  Nicely done crane over traditional patterns, but the design seems a bit cramped overall.
  • #11. While the maiko/geisha figure is a bit off proportion, I love that dragon that looks like he’s plotting something wicked, right down to the whiskers. He’s the star!
  • #12. This is the first entry with a kind of modern pop twist. Bright colors and kawaii animals, along with a random daruma, goldfish and maneki neko. I like…
  • #13. Ah, here come the hearts n flowers brigade. But these are well done enough so I don’t mind too much. Lots of color keeps it interesting.
  • #14. A koi feeding frenzy with interesting beadwork to add flair. This is off topic, but I had a dorm-mate at University of Hawaii who referred to koi as “fatty boombalas.” It described them perfectly.
  • #15. Can anyone help me out with the figure on the right? Is it a dragon, or some tradtional yokai that I’m not familiar with? I  keep thinking it looks like the weird Elmer’s glue figure on a bad day. The background scroll work is gorgeous, though.
  • #16. Another maiko/geisha type entry. Some goldfish and a pretty crane add to the design, which is very traditional. We will see a lot of these.
  • #17. It kind of looks like a gothed-out Veronica from Archie, complete with dripping bloody rose. Definitely different! I guess the texture in this case is blood.
  • #18. Japanese…snake? It’s hard to tell it from the photo, but there were tiny individual scales on it. High marks for patience.
  • #19.A gal and her horse. Nice painting work and use of color but I’m having trouble associating it with Japanese textures. Also, the Japanese enjoy eating raw horsemeat. It’s called “basashi.” I once got duped into eating basashi ice cream. It was exactly what you’d expect.
  • #20. Nice use of color to show some very simple patterns, but it’s time to “level up,” as the Japanese are fond of saying. At least it’s in keeping with the theme.
  • #21. This is my pick of the best for this round. Very fine details and in keeping with the theme- there are fans, daruma, kitsune foxes, maple leaves…stunning detail. Take a closer look below. That’s fantastic painting skills.
  • #22. Cutesy oiran. While I’m less inclined to the kawaii stuff, the leaves and detailing show a lot of skill.
  • #23. Nicely done…phoenix? Hmm…great detail work- check out the geometric knot in the back.
  • #24. Goldfish, kokeshi doll type figure (?) and fan, very traditional. Nice work overall, with a good balance.
  • #25. Hearts n flowers, but again, well done. Not in keeping with the theme in my opinion, though.

So, that’s the first 25. There are approximately 100 more to go, but I’m in major jet lag mode. I hope you have enjoyed them so far- which one is your favorite?


About nevertoomuchglitter

Nail artist. Wanderer. I'm a color-holic, in fact, it was my love of color that brought me to the nail art world. Well, that, and the fact I was too cheap to pay crazy Japanese prices for nail polish while living in Tokyo, so I had to start mixing my own. That's how NTMG began.
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