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These nails are a work of art – Post Bulletin

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These nails are a work of art - Post Bulletin
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Some people wear their hearts on the sleeves, but Lexi Danh puts hers on her fingers.

Her heart is filled with a love of art. “The universe is a work of art to me,”She said that every fingernail or toenail is a small canvas that can be used for creativity.

“I love all forms of art,”She spoke. “If you gave me clay, I would work with it. If you gave me sand, I would find a way to create pictures out of it. If you gave me dry dead leaves, I could come up with ideas to create a picture.”

Danh says nail art can be created in the same way as other art forms. “With finger- and toenails, the only difference is that the artist is using a smaller material as a canvas,”She spoke. “I basically paint what I would paint on canvases, only on fingernails and toenails. … I paint sunsets on canvases, I also paint sunsets on the fake nails I use.”

Danh moved to Rochester in 1980. When she was just four years old, Danh and her family fled Vietnam.

“We were rescued by the Malaysian government and stayed in refugee camps there, and were then sponsored by a Catholic family and church arriving in Rochester,”She spoke.

Danh graduated John Marshall High School. Danh then lived in Orange County, California for a while, where she raised her daughter as a single mom. In 2019, she returned to Rochester.

She was 22 and had a child, so she needed to provide for herself.

“I knew my current job was not enough to raise my daughter on my own,”She spoke. “The nail business was booming, and I was told it was good money.”When she was 23, she completed training and became licensed as a manicurist.

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Lexi Danh demonstrates the black gel. designCoco Nails in Rochester provided her with acrylic nails.

Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Although she loves the creativity of giving manicures she also dislikes the working conditions in salons.

“Doing nails is hard on the body, as it is very physical,”She spoke. “Salon owners expect you to be very fast.”

She also claims that the dust she inhaled while removing acrylic nail varnish, even with a mask, was harmful to her health. Now, she has asthma. So today, Danh creates her tiny masterpieces with less harmful products like gel and isn’t working at a salon, though she still loves creating nail art.

Kim Senst, one of Danh’s clients, sought Danh out for a pedicure based on her daughter’s positive recommendation. She describes Danh to be creative and outgoing. “I didn’t know about colors,”Sentiments “She picked the most beautiful pink out. It was amazing.”

This past December, Danh transformed Senst’s big toenails to look like gift packages with blue and white ribbons on a red background.

“I got so many compliments,”Senst stated. Senst said she didn’t want to cover up her nail art with socks and shoes.

“You can trust her,”She spoke. “Say, ‘Do what you think,’ and she’ll create something beautiful on your nails.”

Danh’s nail art includes everything from butterflies to palm trees. Her designs feature abstract work, such as silver starbursts set against a glossy midnight background and angled purple stripes with sparkles. One designShe made colors from orange to sparkling red, layered in squares of different sizes, like a Frank Lloyd Wright stained-glass window. design.

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Danh’s nail art is also sometimes 3-D. “One day I was bored and decided I would use acrylic and sculpted a little bunny sitting on my nail bed,”She says. She’s also proud of a technique she developed to make a marbled swirling designOn the internet.

Danh admits she loves showing off her tiny creations but she humblely acknowledges that there are more skilled nail technicians.

Danh uses a variety of tools to create her nail art. Danh does not use a standard nail polish brush. She also uses wax paper, miniature screws, wax papers, and toothpicks. Swarovski crystals and foil, gems, and dried flowers are some of the accents she uses to enhance her designs. She also uses gel nail polish, acrylic paint, markers, and a variety of pens.

Each process of creating tiny pieces of art on nails presents its own set of challenges.

“Doing 10 fingers is not easy,” Danh said. “Especially making them all look the same or ‘shrinking’ the image on smaller nail beds such as the pinky fingernail bed.

“There are lots of things to consider that clients don’t think about when it comes to me creating designs for them,” she said.

The way Danh sees it, creating nail art is transformative. “A person getting their nails done always makes them feel cleaner or sexier. They feel more confident. … They feel more secure. It shows their character. It takes out the dullness within them, and it takes them outside of their box, stripping themselves of their conservative nature.”

John Sievers is a Rochester freelancer writer.

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