Published: 16th December 2020
This artist from Trivandrum won a world record for her realistic nail art
Rakhi Giri Sankar was inspired by international nail art and decided to learn it. Now, she not only does it for a living but trains children how to do them too
Who doesn't dream of having everything they want at the tip of their fingers? Rakhi Giri Sankar did and quite literally, I must add. An engineer by profession, Rakhi has carved herself a unique niche on a very small canvas: fingernails! She promises that she can recreate any painting of your liking with the most intricate and life-like detail. In fact, the artist admits that she prefers the tiniest of spaces to let her artistic instincts loose. In 2018, she was recognised by the Asian Book of Records and this year, she's made it into the Indian Book of Records for encapsulating a topic within a small space and within a certain timeframe.
Although she's been inclined towards painting since she was in school, Rakhi has never been trained in it professionally. The 29-year-old says, "One day, my roommate came back from an on-site assignment in South Korea with beautifully painted nails. I was fascinated and started reading up on nail art and the right paint to use. I bought some of the right polishes and tried them out on my colleagues and friends. Basically, I would just try my hand at nail art on the weekends, just for fun."
NAILING IT: Rakhi has been conducting classes for young children at her house
Rakhi's work encapsulates beautiful landscapes, moments from nature, major holidays like Christmas, Onam and Halloween and the images of great personalities. After a brief stint as an art faculty at a fashion institute in Thiruvananthapuram, it was this year that she actually began indulging in the art on a professional level. In addition to workshops at educational institutions, she's been conducting classes for young children at her house. In February, Rakhi set up a studio of her own right where she lives.
"With nail art, we're using a very small surface to include what would otherwise be much larger themes, so it takes a lot of effort and time," she explains, "Whatever the topic, when you recreate something that is normally done on a traditional canvas within a space this small, it takes double the time. For me, personally, it is these miniature sculptures and spaces that have always been more attractive. They are more flexible to my eye. I don't want to paint larger-than-life concepts on canvas, but if you tell me to use a set of nails, it will always be more of a challenge."
In addition to nail art, Rakhi also paints 3D portraits, does face sculptures, resin art and pouring work. Since the lockdown began, she's also been attempting embroidery art and botanical plant casting, which is done by creating plant impressions on canvas. It was her ability to learn Russian and Italian painting techniques that allowed her to win the records. This combined with Rakhi's unique knack for encapsulating an image on hand using resin is what truly helps her stand apart. So if you have a scene from history or a screenshot from nature on your hands, you know who to call!