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Aistė Plechaviciute

Aistė lends her graphic design skills to the world of nail artistry, creating exquisite and admirable designs.

Chicago, Illinois

Her work may be recognized under the name "Hey Great Nails", a platform that flaunts chic designs and inspires many who come across it. Prior to making nail artwork, Aistė has worked as a Graphic Designer, Marketing Specialist, and Business Owner.

Why does nail art appeal to you?

Nail art for me is a safe place where I can express myself; I can be me and create. Creativity is my passion, it is almost like a therapy where I’m in my zone creating and I lose track of time. I love nail art because you can make a statement, you can show who you are or it can just compliment your look like a piece of jewelry. Through nail art you can connect with like-minded people or people who you never knew would appreciate your art. You can raise awareness, educate, or share a story behind it.

Another exciting part of nail art for me is to capture the right moment in my pictures and showcase it in the best way possible. There are literally endless possibilities and reasons why nail art can be great. I use nails as a tiny canvas to tell my stories. It’s not always deep, but it can be when you want to. I also want to inspire people. I love sharing my knowledge and seeing people become inspired, recreating my work.

Not everyone has the confidence to share their work. I know it’s not easy to overcome your fears of being exposed, aware of your imperfections like skin textures, finger length, nail shapes, or even the fact that people will be judging your creative abilities and ideas. I’m self-conscious too and I doubt myself sometimes just like we all do in our moments of weakness. Seeing people be inspired by me and follow their own creative journeys, improve their skills, build confidence, and empower themselves through nail art is something that keeps me going. It’s really rewarding and I absolutely love it.

I choose to create art to tell stories about things I care about, find interesting, or feel inspired by.

What are some sources of inspiration for your designs?

I find inspiration everywhere. People ask me this question all the time and I always say - inspiration can be found literally anywhere. I am a professionally trained creative, so I just have a habit of collecting and hoarding images of things I like and find inspiring. I can never know where my best ideas might come from or when the right time will come for them to see the light. So I collect a bunch of different interesting visuals and I think of ways to turn them into art. We just need to pay attention. See what fascinates us, what things we care about, what do we get excited about? And then think of how we can turn it into something that expresses us. Things that often inspire me are other artists, fashion, nature (color palettes/organic shapes), design. Even products like nail polish itself can give me an idea and inspire me to create.

Have you considered using another canvas for your artwork?

I used to paint & sketch. I still sketch my ideas on my iPad or notebooks. It’s really hard to find time to properly paint, since I already have a full-time job and so much work on Instagram as a content creator.

Do you like to match your nails with your outfits, bags, and accessories, or do you prefer to have your nails serve as a highlight to your clothing?

I do everything - match outfits, bags, accessories, or the other way around haha. It really depends on the situation. Although recently with the amount of content I have to produce my hands are always mismatched and rarely go together. Sometimes though, contrasting nail art on both hands might be the thing you want to go for. Looking funky is my thing too.

Are there any preferred brands that you like to use?

There are so many brands I love. I can mention a few in no particular order. LoveNess by BiBi’s Beauty and Supplies, O.P.I, DND Gel, Pear Nova, Cirque Colors, Static Nails, ICEGEL, Madam Glam, Nailtopia, UNT, Olive & June, ORLY, F.U.N Lacquers, Huella, Drizzle, Orosa, and more.

I also have a huge list of brands I still haven’t tried but want to get my hands on. I do have certain standards for the products I choose to use. There were several occasions where I wasn’t comfortable with using PR products, because of the poor quality or brand reputation. I never recommend or post products I’m not happy with. Neither do I post negative reviews. I believe in fair chances to do business, so I choose to deal with this in private with the brand and let them improve. I always give my honest opinion and feedback. Also, I genuinely believe brands can learn and grow like that. I really don’t like public shaming and hurting businesses before they get a chance to do better. I feel like if something doesn’t align with my values I have a choice to work with somebody else. For another creator though, the same product/brand might be the best they have tried so far.

Before I moved to the USA I lived in the UK and owned Anfora Wine Bar Restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland. This was a very creatively challenging experience too. My restaurant was featured in numerous publications.

When did you begin your journey as a nail artist?

There’s no specific date. I always loved getting my nails done. I have been obsessed with nails since I was a child. But I started my Instagram Nail Art page and practiced nail art more often during the pandemic. I would say 2019-2020.

Have you been interested in other creative avenues different from what you do now?

Yes. My profession is heavily related to creative industries. I have a degree in Visual Communications: Graphic Design, and Business Administration: Marketing. Currently, I work as a Marketing and PR Manager / Creative Director for a Logistics Company. Nail Art and Content Creation is my part-time hobby/side job. I also used to work as a graphic designer and managed a lot of my freelance branding projects.

The nail artist community is very saturated, what do you feel makes your work stand out?

It is hard to judge and talk about your own work. This question would probably be answered better by my followers. The feedback I hear the most about my work and what people like about it are my ideas and sources of unexpected inspiration. We see beauty in different things and that is what makes us stand out.

What has been your most rewarding experience as an artist? Is there anything you are proud to have accomplished?

Overall, the whole creative experience is very rewarding. I really appreciate the process, journey, brands, and people believing in me and supporting me every day with their time, attention, and kindness. The nail community is honestly the best! I've made so many friends here. As cliche as it sounds - we learn from each other and grow together. Some of my proud moments were being recognized by industry leaders (magazines and brands). Being featured and published by Vogue Greece, Elle India, ProfNail, Nail It! Magazine, NailPRO, Scratch Magazine, Allure, Missguided, HYPEBAE Beauty, InStyle Russia, POPSUGAR Beauty, Pantone, Cosmopolitan Japan, Nailholic Korea, BBAF, etc.

Do you have any aspirations for your nail art in the future? Are there any goals you’d like to achieve?

I have many aspirations and goals; unfortunately, it’s too early to share them in public. Maybe I am superstitious, but I’m not comfortable sharing something that is a work in progress. I can only say that I am a person who doesn't like to stay still and too comfortable. So I always find ways to challenge myself with new projects that help me progress and achieve my goals.

In the process of creating work, what have you learned about yourself?

That challenging myself helps me to improve my skills and surprising myself with the results can be very rewarding. That many things you never believed could happen to you are possible and creativity is an inseparable part of my life, no matter what form I choose to express myself. I never imagined myself playing a role in the beauty industry as creative, but here I am. It is not shallow as it might seem. In fact, it is very creative, rewarding, and I feel I do belong.

Check out more of Aistė's fabulous designs on her Instagram account: @heygreatnails and be on the lookout for the launch of her website, coming soon!

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