Jaysee Nails: Representing Black Women

Artist Statement:

My name is Olivia, and I’m a nail artist under the name Jaysee Nails. I’ve been doing nails since I was 15, and opened my business during the pandemic two years ago.

Since I started my business, my brand has been all about connecting with other Black women and giving them the space to express their creativity and interests with the world around them. I’m an avid protector of nail culture and nails as a quintessential accessory for Black women, despite stereotypes of long, colorful nails as “ghetto” or “unprofessional”.

Additionally, as a queer Black woman, I want make sure that my brand and my work are inclusive of any and everyone who wants to get their nails done - being fabulous has no gender! My ultimate dream is to own my own salon that also acts as a safe space for Black women that can help empower and bring us together.

This piece is a set of nails meant to celebrate the vibrancy and beauty of all kinds of Black women. I chose this colorful pop-art style to show how I see Black women: as fun, gorgeous, and carefree. I wanted to include a myriad of different hairstyles, skin tones, and styles for each girl to showcase the diversity of Black female presentation - our beauty is in our variety! These nails are made entirely with gel nail products.

It may seem like an unorthodox art form, but creating art through nails has been the most amazing journey for me! Like with fashion, nails allow you to tell people who you are without needing to say a word. All I want my brand to do is encourage people to express themselves, and do it loudly. I’m excited to display my work through Western’s Uplifting Blackness Showcase.

About the Artist:

Olivia Collins is a 22-year-old nail artist and MIT student from Mississauga. She specializes in fun and detailed gel nail art, and hopes to eventually open her own salon in Toronto.