in conversation with

Nyah Greene

Nyah Greene is a nail artist at Hello Birdie, a nail and lash lab in San Diego, California. We spoke with her about all the ways she expresses herself, from art-inspired nail designs to wire jewelry.

Photos provided by Nyah Greene, artwork by STRÅLANDE

How it Began

I was born and raised in San Diego and I currently live in Southern California. I received my high school diploma in 2014. My first job out of school was at my family’s salon as a receptionist while finishing beauty school. I initially wanted to be a makeup artist, but ultimately chose nails instead. Today, I consider myself a nail artist creating art on tiny canvases.

I’ve always been into art (drawing, painting, photography, jewelry making, etc.). I wanted to have a career that allowed me some sort of creative freedom. My family has always encouraged me to do what I love.

Finding Inspiration Around Every Corner

I think working in an environment where the talented ladies I work with share skills amongst each other has pushed me to further see what I can do.

I am also inspired by different periods of art, like 18th-century expressionism and 20th-century modernism. I love their use of shapes and color. An abstract expressionist painting can look all-over-the-place and somehow put-together. Friedrich Ludwig and Wassily Kandinsky are a few artists I love, but Jean-Michel Basquiat is probably my favorite.

I also look everywhere for inspiration. Nature, art books, and interesting photographers to name a few.

Branching Out

Wire jewelry is something I got into, I have a lot less time for it now. I have an interest in the freedom to create beautiful shapes and to experiment with beads!

Working Girl

A typical workday is usually time spent at the nail salon working with the talented ladies of Hello Birdie Lab, a nail and lash salon here in California, and coming home working on collaborations that I may have in the works.

Being A Black Creative

As a Black creative, I feel as though I’m blessed to have the opportunities I have. There aren’t as many female and Black artists in the industry that get the same level of exposure and chances. Being black doesn’t cripple me though, I’ll work to get to my goal.

Pearls of Wisdom

I think a big challenge for nail artists is comparison. There are so many other talented people in the industry and it’s hard to keep up. That’s partly why authenticity is important to me. I want to do something different. My advice for other creatives is try and think outside of the box with each design.

Self-care and Wellness

I love night routines especially when I’m done working for the week. Mine usually consists of a shower, dinner, and movie night after jumping into my pajamas. I also drink lots of water. It’s the best regimen for my skin and body.

What are you wearing when you’re feeling the absolute best?

A positive attitude.