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Lisa Mård’s swampy, amorphous nail sculptures are spontaneous works of art


TextDominic Cadogan

The creepy and intriguing looks are how the Berlin-based artist explores her creativity, but also a way to learn more about herself in the process

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“I’m trying to make my work represent me within colours, structure, and something that explains parts of my personal identity,” explains nail artist Lisa Mård on her approach to her work. Looking at her unique creations – she describes them as mini nail sculptures – they’re both creepy and intriguing, often appearing to twist and grow right out of the nail bed with pieces of lichen or beautiful flowers among snaking tendrils made from glue. 

Initially starting out in make-up, Mård felt creatively limited and found she could really explore in the world of nails. “Nails allow me more freedom, and I can be as messy and spontaneous as I want in the process,” she explains. 

As well as a creative outlet, Mård’s nails allow her to explore parts of herself too. “I very rarely dress in colours, which also is the reason I choose to mostly work in the colour palette I would wear myself,” she says. “I also smoke a lot of cigarettes, so therefore I’m creating nails inspired by my filthy habits.” ‘Filthy Habits’ is one of her fave looks she’s created, red and molten gold growths that look like burning cigarette stubs. 

Here, we speak to the creative about her swampy aesthetic, Gothy Medieval Futurism, and why she would love to live as an old person forever.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up? 

Lisa Mård: I grew up in a small village in the countryside in Sweden. As a teen I experimented a lot with different styles and aesthetics as there was not much else to do. That definitely shaped me and the perspective I now have to create.

What are you trying to communicate through your work and why? 

Lisa Mård: I like to use materials that aren’t necessarily viewed as high value and that’s something I want to convey about how beauty is perceived in general. I want to highlight flaws, unusual shapes, and accentuate certain features – that’s beautiful to me.

Who or what inspires you?

Lisa Mård: I get very inspired by my surroundings, by things that are not necessarily seen as beautiful. Some specific colours catch my eye and I then try to recreate it and emulate them within my nails. I also get very inspired by runway shows or well dressed people in general. Anything that makes me feel something, I would try to imagine as nails.

Can you talk us through some of your favourite beauty looks and how you created them?

Lisa Mård: Wet Look – I’m really into wet looks in general, and I tried to figure out how to apply that into a set of nails. I had transparent glue and tried to make them appear as fluid as possible. I then included water and vaseline, and it worked. I think this is my most popular look and probably the one that received the best public reaction.

Swamp – This must be my first set of nails in the direction I’m now creating. It’s my first set made with a hot glue gun. I remember being ecstatic with the results. I tried to use a bit of colour and I was inspired by medieval objects and swamp aesthetics in general.

Filthy Habit Nails – This look personally resonates with me as it’s inspired by cigarettes. I used red candle wax and golden nail polish since that combination of colours and shapes reminded me of a burning cigarette butt. People seemed to appreciate the humour in it.

What’s been your career highlight so far and what do you hope to accomplish ultimately? 

Lisa Mård: The fact that so many people in general seem to appreciate what I’m doing is a highlight in itself. I hope that I will do runway sets one day and create one set for each look. That would be sick! 

What does beauty mean to you?

Lisa Mård: It’s a way of making people feel something and telling a story without using words

Describe your beauty aesthetic in three words. 

Lisa Mård: Amorphous, minimal, and a bit swampy as well.

Which fictional character do you most relate to and why? 

Lisa Mård: Must be Morticia Addams! She’s chill and well dressed.

How do you want to change the world? 

Lisa Mård: If you have a platform and are able to reach out, do it.

You’re the editor of a time-travelling beauty journal 100 years from now, what beauty trends are you reporting on? 

Lisa Mård: Gothy Medieval Futurism.

It is the sixth day and you are creating humans. They can look however you want them to. What do they look like and why? 

Lisa Mård: I would make them look like the human version of my nails. They would all be fluid and monochrome. That would make everyone comfortable in their own skin and the structure and idea about beauty would disappear.

Would you rather live forever as an old person or live your life in reverse? 

Lisa Mård: I would love to be an old person forever. Just drinking coffee and hanging out with my cat sounds like a dream.

What is the future of beauty? Lisa Mård: I hope there will be a lot of awareness on individualism and that we break the current ‘societal norms’ of what beauty is.

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