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Cyshimi: Sculptures of Subversive Beauty
NCO 003

In this fascinating interview, we connect with Cyshimi, an artist whose work masterfully blends fashion and contemporary art. By merging their Chinese heritage with futuristic influences, Cyshimi creates an unparalleled sense of "nowness." As we uncover their artistic journey, we investigate the significance of personal rituals and the transformative effects of web3 technologies on the evolving concept of art.

N: Hey Cyshimi! Your work has been gracing the pages of numerous magazines recently. How has life been treating you amidst this growing recognition?

C: It's very fulfilling for me to see my work and words spread in every interview and feature. I always felt as if what I do doesn't end in the nails or their pictures, so it's great to know that the public can access what's behind them aesthetically. I think my work is a way to make connections and go through unique experiences in life, and that's something that has definitely been happening. I've been producing art before doing nails, and I put a lot of energy into everything that I create, so all that growing recognition feels like I'm reaping what I sow, but there's also a ton more that I want to achieve, go through, and create.

N: While some may perceive your nail sculptures as futuristic, I see you often draw references from your Chinese heritage. In traditional Chinese culture, long fingernails were typically linked to high social status and safeguarded using intricate metal nail guards. Do you find yourself more drawn to reimagining the past or envisioning the future when creating your art?

C: I feel I'm constantly trying to reference both to create a new sense of nowness. For example, my latest work exhibited is called "Technology of the Past, Memory of Tomorrow," a photography of the nails, whereas the nails were physically presented in the exhibition besides the photography. The set was displayed on top of a dressing table made out of ceramics. This sculpture is called "Memory of the Past, Technology of Tomorrow."

Before doing nails, I was sculpting with ceramics, and I love the sense of rawness from this material as opposed to the vibrant and glossy texture of acrylic nails.

So overall, it's about using all these references through time to mark today and now.

N: Nail care has long been regarded as a form of self-care ritual across cultures. Do you have any personal rituals or routines that inspire your creativity or guide your artistic process?

C: I gotta say Pilates has been helping me a lot to stay centered and survive all the back pain (hahaha). It's very important to build a space that is comfortable because we nail artists stay in the same harming position for hours and hours. Overall, exercising, having the house cleaned, and having a good resolved nail project in your head and on paper is what I always try to have. Oh, and music too!

N: You've ventured into the realm of NFTs, releasing collections on platforms like SuperRare and Foundation. In your opinion, does the web3 landscape offer greater opportunities for expanding the definition of what "art" is?

C: Definitely! When I mint something, it's like I'm already defining that as art. And for new media practices like mine, it was a total game-changer.

I see the web3 space being a very fruitful field for languages like makeup, nails, hair, body modification, and tattoo art that were often seen only as an artistic service. The nail movement as we know only exists because of the internet.

My first arts ever produced were digital colleges, and my graduation project was in the intersection of art and technology. I think this journey is really rooted in how I build my nail sculptures and how I see my work. And to be putting them on the blockchain today just ties everything together and makes so much sense.

N: Your work seems to straddle the worlds of fashion and art. Which community do you feel more closely aligns with your creative sensibilities or provides a greater sense of belonging?

C: I think I can find a sense of belonging and not belonging in both of them, so for me it's very important to be present in all of these spaces, plus web3, and understand my limits and push forward what I want to push in each of them.

N: Looking ahead, how do you envision your work evolving and developing in the future?

C: I envision my future with more installation-based projects in real life and just overall going more experimental in terms of how to exhibit nails. I also wish for meaningful collaborations and expanding my work more and more on a worldwide scale.

All images courtesy of Cyshimi.
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