Meet Nagi a.k.a. nail artist extraordinaire Nagisa Kaneko. She lives and works in the hip Shibuya district of Tokyo where she runs an awesome salon called Disco Nail. Nagi’s personal look might best be described as girly new-age goth (or something along those lines), and she rocks it from the tips of her silvery, bleach-blonde tresses to the toes of her tough girl vintage boots.
The theme continues at her salon, which is decked out with crystal shrines, leather armchairs, and walls painted the perfect hue of Nasty Gal pink. The soundtrack is a mix of The Cure and Radiohead, and visual inspiration comes in the form of an ancient TV playing cult ’80s flicks. There are only two seats (book at least two weeks in advance if you’re ever planning a visit!), and the clientele is a mix of Tokyo’s coolest creative girls. Well, duh.
Nagi has wanted to be a nail artist since her high school days, and after she graduated, she headed straight to nail artist school. She admits that she didn’t really have the skills to pay the bills back then, so she just stuck to “easy art, like flowers.” If you want to get into nail art, she recommends starting out with something very simple. Not sure what to go for? Nagi says, “A cross or a heart on a clear base always looks good.”
Nagi also admits that “cute” styles are no longer all that popular with super-fashionable Japanese girls—like Nagi, they prefer their nail art to get pretty weird. She’s famous for creating surreal characters and gory motifs, and says that super-strange designs are a great way of bringing “originality” to your look. These days she’s really inspired by minerals and she also gets ideas from her own vintage clothes. In turn, Nagi inspires the rest of the nail art world. WAH Nails founder Sharmadean Reid says she has “crazy artistic skills in a culture that is used to stick-on kawaii gems. Her Prada nails for Susie Bubble were particularly wow!”
When Nagi isn’t working, she loves to shop at the boutique Sister, which is run by a couple of her friends (the owner was actually getting her nails did at Disco when Nasty Gal paid a visit). She says the owners are really careful about choosing what they carry in store and she always comes away from her visits feeling totally “stimulated”—which is pretty much the effect her salon had on us.
Nagi also loves to travel. She can’t get enough of California and all its wonderful weirdness. She visited the trippy art installation Salvation Mountain on a recent trip and now she’s pretty obsessed. Follow her around the world on Instagram, where you’ll also see drool-worthy Japanese food snaps, pics of her super-cool clients, and (of course) lots and lots of awesome nail art inspo. Like, like, like.