Artists of Monta Vista: Arushi Agarwala

Lydia Seo

ArushiAgarwalaSenior Arushi Agarwala grips a thin brush, using short strokes to apply the next layer of color. After dipping her brush into yellows, pinks and blues, she finishes putting together a medley of bright colors, a miniature sunset, all contained within an area the size of a dime. Her nails are her canvas, and her polish is her paint.

Agarwala’s interest in nail art began with her first bottle of nail polish, which she received on her seventh birthday.

“I was inspired,” Agarwala said. “For me, it was just because [nail painting] was a novelty, because my mom didn’t let me do it before that. And the idea that I could have such a small canvas, because usually I’m used to painting on huge canvases.”

Using mainly her thin brushes, Agarwala creates intricate designs on her nails. She particularly enjoys painting sunsets, flowers and abstract patterns. More complex designs require her to turn to her bottled palette of about 60 different hues and shades.

Although she enjoys her craft, Agarwala isn’t very selective with the polishes she uses. Nail polish generally costs seven to eight dollars per bottle, but she chooses to spend less for some of her collection.

“Honestly, for me, I don’t think I should spend so much money on [nail polish],” Agarwala said. “Sometimes I usually just go with the cheaper ones even if they’re not better quality.”

The success of the piece is not focused on the quality of the polish, but the artist’s creativity and resourcefulness through use of different techniques and tools. Nail artists have a variety of tools at their disposal, such as tape for clean lines, toothpicks for dotting, sponges for texture and attachable rhinestones for flair. It is this use of artistic imagination and freedom that Agarwala believes makes nail art both a fashionable pastime and a standalone art form.

“If you see some of the people out there do crazy things like add 3D objects to their nails and stuff, they make it into an art form,” Agarwala said. “I think it’s an underappreciated art form. It takes a lot of effort.”

Below are a few examples of Agarwala’s nail art. [Used with permission of Arushi Agarwala.]

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