One of the designs in the book features miniature sculpted camping paraphernalia (a tent, a bonfire) on each nail, another 3-D flowers "growing" out of the nails like vines.
One of these new creative artists is Oakland-based Liz Baca, a freelance stylist and vintage clothing dealer who never had any professional beauty training but was inspired by her love of fashion to create custom nail art designs to match designer accessories, such as Chanel sneakers and Tiffany & Co's blue boxes. Some of Baca's nail art creations can be seen online at http://www.missomnimedia.com/photo-shoots.
Nails "are like tiny canvases," Baca says. "And it's really trial and error about what adhesive will work with what I'm trying to glue on my nail. I went as far as putting real food on nails for one of our shoots. One of the nails had crumbled-up potato chips with French onion dip at the tips."
The fascination with nail decoration to this degree will probably never wane among artists and craftsy folks such as Baca. The real question is whether nail art will continue to ride the wave of mainstream popularity or fall under the changing tides of fashion.
"I don't see it ending right away," says Wells, likening the nail art trend to the now near-decade-long cultural obsession with decorative shoes by the likes of Christian Louboutin.
It's true that nail art, like shoes, provides an easy way to spice up even the most basic of outfits. And, like shoes, nail decoration can fit and flatter, no matter your dress size.
"It's on an appendage. It's fun and experimental in a way people are not willing to do with their hair or facial makeup, which is too close to their identity," Wells says. "The farther you get from the face, the more experimental you are willing to be."