This week. we caught up with Eda Levenson, a Brooklyn-based freelance nail artist and founder of Lady Fancy Nails, who used the cool, Dead Presidents nail collection by Tomboy BKLYN to create her latest Aztec-inspired design.

The Trend: New nail art trends tend to pop up daily. With numerous designs to choose from, it’s no wonder the decision-making process can easily lose its appeal. As of late, we love the look of each nail boasting a different design. Easier said than done, there’s a thin line between clashing and classy. This intricate design featured is definitely the latter.

Read on to learn more about this custom manicure and the nail artist behind it.

EBONY: Eda, what inspired the design?

Eda Levenson: Many of my designs are inspired by the women that I get the privilege to create for. My philosophy for nail art is to harness the power that all women possess and translate it into a design they can proudly represent on their body as a statement of their strength. This particular design was for my friend Alicia Zakon, an amazing poet and writer from the Bay Area, who stopped in Brooklyn on her cross-country book tour to celebrate her birthday. Yes, I tried to impart all of that through this piece!

EBONY: How was the design created?

EL: For polish, I used the Tomboy BKLYN Dead Presidents collection. To start the design, first I used a nude base coat to give the nail a natural sheen. The client wanted earth tones, so I chose the sage green Dead Prez polish for the tip of the nails, leaving the base nude. After I painted the tip of the nail, I applied the black line work to add the intricate detail. I then included a touch of the gold using the Tomboy BKLYN Midas polish. I love this, because each design is a little unique. It slightly varies while still looking cohesive due to the continuity in color and basic elements.

EBONY: How did you become a nail technician?

EL: My first experience with nail art came from one of my students while I was living in Oakland. One of my girls was doing her nails at lunch, and I asked her what she was up to. I sat with her and she taught me how to use the nail art brushes. She sent me to all her favorite beauty supply stores and I started practicing on my friends. I wanted to explore this new art form for myself, but I also learned it was a really special opportunity for women to spend together and invest in some time for conversation and self-care.

EBONY: What do you feel is your artistic significance when it comes to nail art?

EL: I create nail art that is inspired by the inherent boldness and vibrance of women. At the heart of my work, I use nail art to accentuate female beauty and power. Nails are canvases that convey style and personality far differently than traditional elements of beauty, such as facial cosmetics, which has historically been defined by male notions of what beauty is. Nail art offers women a chance to break from that and re-articulate our own beauty and femininity.

EBONY: What advice would you give to aspiring nail technicians? 

EL: My advice to emerging nail artists is that it is essential to actively nourish your artistic soul. As an artist, I’m constantly hungry for inspiration, being that I’m producing original work on a consistent basis. In order to nourish my creativity, I look for inspiration everywhere—not just at art shows and galleries (which provide an abundance of inspiration), but also in my daily life. This pushes me to find the beauty and art in discrete things like the patterns in the sidewalk or the color spectrum of a sunset. I have found that if you actively look at the world through this lens, you are constantly feeding your artistic seed, therefore allowing it to flourish!

Check out more designs by Eda Levenson (@ladyfancynails) on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

—Loren Lee