Eichi Matsunaga takes nail art to a whole other level. With a futuristic, minimal, appeal his designs are made to look like robotic features that are fuzed ontop human hands – something that might have come out of a Blade Runner inspired fashion show.
Originally from Tokyo, where he studied everything he needed to know about the art of the nail, Matsunaga moved to New York City in hopes of accomplishing his nail art dreams. “It was my sister who really inspired me to become a nail artist,” he relayed in an interview with Dazed Magazine. “She was working at a nail salon when I graduated from high school and I used to help her prepare nail art samples for the salon at her apartment. Through this, I discovered that nails were my calling, and I enrolled in a nail art school soon after that.”
Jump forward a couple of years later, and he definitely got more than he bargained for, working for the top names in the industry, including brands like Swarovski and Rodarte and celebrities like Nicki Minaj, Mandy Moore, Lorde, and Mindy Kaling. His work has also been featured in campaigns and editorials for the likes of Vogue Japan, Opening Ceremony, and Dazed.
His work requires much effort and time, incorporating translucent details and custom made metal pieces. Matsunaga measures each client’s fingertips beforehand, proceeding to create pieces with a 3D printer, using a combination of artistic skill and traditional nail art techniques. This process alone can take up to three weeks. “My nails usually verge on the futuristic but I am still very interested in traditional methods and want to incorporate them,” he admits. “My philosophy is that detail is everything. There is a direct connection between my work and other cultural Japanese traditions in Japan, and the overarching theme is the careful attention to each stage of a process.” Take a closer look: