Sojin Oh on creating otherworldly nail art for the likes of Björk and Hunter Schafer

Sojin Oh is a strange interpreter of the genus. For the Los Angeles-based nail artist, inspiration comes from strains of bacteria, marine life and Rene Redzepiof mushrooms. Lil Nas X recently glittered in Oh’s chrome nails; Hunter Schafer Wearing a set of crystals to the Met Gala. “The great beauty of the natural world influences my love of adventure,” says the certified Korean native of scuba diving. But there is an electric current lurking in these nails of fire and ice, masked by the realities of living in a constant state of fire. Oh considers lava like a muse because it is “considered destructive and violent, but it is also creating and creating new life.” Even if Oh dreams of designing nails for a sci-fi movie one day, she hopes her work — embellished with droplets or gecko spots — inspire solidarity with Mother Earth.

In parallel with this look of winter hell made for Vanity Fair, taken by Adrienne Raquel, Oh shares her favorite nature docuseries, a musician’s new muse, and her dream collaborators for the coming year.

Vanity Fair: Water and ice are repeating elements in your design. Where did you find inspiration?

Sojin Oh: In 2016, I went scuba diving in Tulum for the first time, and the kaleidoscope of reef shapes, colors, and patterns was imprinted on me. I have become fully certified in scuba diving. Growing up in Korea, I visited tidal pools with my grandmother in Haenam-gun, where she went oyster hunting, which makes me inclined to prefer aquatic life. One of my favorite instagram accounts, @waterbod, a stunning record of the creatures in California’s tidal pools. I like the fossils of the Natural History Museum and the Monterey Bay Aquarium — they interest me more today than art museums. David Attenboroughmany BBC series frequently being rotated when I can’t go out and experience nature’s gifts in the flesh. I think he opened people’s eyes to the amazing beauty of biodiversity, and even if a somewhat selfish appreciation of this beauty changes perspective and leads to material change. , that’s also very beneficial. Most recent, Fantastic Fungi on Netflix has been loved. Chef René Redzepi, who searches for rare edible plants and mushrooms, is a really great example to me of how exploring nature can yield a creative approach.

An homage to flowers that freeze in winter.

Photo: Sojin Oh.

How has California shaped your eye for nature?

Living in California, it is clear that we humans, who have caused global climate change, have a responsibility to take care of the planet. I consider nature Mother Nature, and when your mother gets old or sick, it’s the child’s duty to take care of her. Like the Attenborough films, I hope the representation of nature in my nail designs inspires conservationist thinking. Individuals, myself included, can continue to take small steps to do better every day while ensuring that we hold corporations and governments accountable for the larger steps we must. perform. I am very emotional with the work Greta Thunberg do. We’ve been privileged to experience so much diversity here in California, but it’s constantly threatened by the effects of climate change. These utopian and utopian visions of Mother Earth are translated into my work.

What technique did you use to create these two ice and fire nail patterns? Do you have specific reference points?

I’m very inspired by lava (one of my cats is named Lava) because it embodies this utopian/backward dualism. Lava is considered destructive and violent, but it is also creating and creating new life. The icicles demonstrate how time freezes and capture minimal absence or nothingness in clear forms. To create both sets, I used building gel, similar to turpentine, and I let gravity control the shape by flipping the nail and letting gravity act on the gel. On the ice nails, I added glass spikes made by Grace Wardlaw to make it look more realistic and crystal. Sojin Oh on creating otherworldly nail art for the likes of Björk and Hunter Schafer


Aila Slisco is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Aila Slisco joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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