5 best nail artists for abstract, 3D manicures: Sojin Oh, Eichi Matsunaga, Park Eunkyung...

5 best nail artists for abstract, 3D manicures: Sojin Oh, Eichi Matsunaga, Park Eunkyung...

A real stunner

Text: Emily Heng

Image: Instagram | @sojinails
Image: Instagram | @eichimatsunaga

You've seen one gradient nail design; you've seen them all. Don't mind us if we sound a tad jaded — as much as we adore our prints, patterns, and French tips, there comes a point where even we nail enthusiasts have to acknowledge that the industry might be stuck in a rut. We're talking a hamster wheel of recycled ideas, supposedly "reinvented" tropes, and revived trends. Or so we thought. Upon closer inspection, we've discovered five boundary-pushing nail artists hell-bent on transforming the talon sphere as we know it. From three-dimensional ice sculptures to fungi-encrusted digits, here are the formidable nail creatives of note.

Sojin Oh

The Korean-born, Los Angeles-based artist is regarded as a visionary in her field. No subject matter is too grotesque or out-of-reach, be it hyper-realistic dead bees or cascading sea anemones. She cites nature and David Attenborough's BBC documentaries as her main source of inspiration, all of which is created using 5-free Bio-Seaweed Gel to further her efforts at saving the earth. Or, at least, contributing less to the destruction of it. You might have spotted her works on the likes of Kim Kardashian, Kelsey Lu, and Lil Miquela.

Eichi Matsunaga

It's difficult to describe exactly what kind of pieces Matsunaga produces. There's no doubt that meticulous detail goes into each one of them; a contraption of wires, spinning cogs, and attached appendages that will fit right in on the set of any sci-fi dystopian flick. Loosely defined, we'd call them modern, futuristic designs that pay homage to Akihabara, Japan's electric city.


Park Eunkyung

Scoring an appointment at Unistella is often compared to striking the lottery. As legend tells it, you have to book your appointment at the same time as your flight to Seoul to even stand a chance to earn a coveted spot. Home to many an Insta-famous nail design, founder, Park Eunkyung, is lauded for her simplistic yet striking looks utilising negative space and jewellery. Is it any surprise, then, that she considers A-list celebs such as Blackpink, Cara Delevingne and Irene Kim as regular clientele? We think not.


Jan Arnold

Arnold's avant-garde nail creations have graced countless runways. Revered for her work at fashion houses The Blonde and Ryan Lo, she is one to look for should you be seeking opulent, extravagant, and mind-boggling claws. Affectionately known as the First Lady of Nails, many credit her as the party responsible for bringing lacquered, tricked-out manis to Fashion Week. Prior to her involvement, the couture runways had models rock bare nails. We'd go as far as to call her a legend.


Betina Goldstein

This self-taught nail artist burst onto the scene with a repertoire of inimitable inventions featuring everyday items in the vein of thread, pearls, and even frayed denim. Leading the charge on the short, trimmed nails movement, Goldstein is a shining example of how you don't need a large surface area to don creative nail art.