Spotlight on Nail Artist Ash Crowe AKA AstroWifey
Words can not explain the excitement I felt when I learned Ash Crowe of @Astrowifey was willing to take time out of her VERY busy schedule to answer some questions for Bon Femmes. Most people already know I fan girl over art but I don’t think many are aware of my love for nail art. I'm one of those people who feels naked and exposed when my nails aren't painted. Therefore, nail artists are my heroes! The fact that they're able to create such beautiful pieces on the smallest canvas is mesmerizing. Naturally, I became a fan of Chicago based nail artist AstroWifey as soon as I spotted her work on Instagram. After reading through her story, my love for her work has definitely increased! Her journey towards becoming a full-time nail artist is truly inspiring and it all started with a Chicago Public School after school program. For the evil people out there trying to get rid of programs like these, Astrowifey is living proof of the importance and positive life-changing effects! Please continue reading below to read all about Ash Crowe. When you're done reading the interview, head over to her Instagram page immediately to check out her amazing work!
What sparked your interest in Nail Art?
In high school, I was in an after school program through Chicago Public Schools called After School Matters. In the program, you learn to paint and I enjoyed replicating famous paintings and getting into the artists creative process and details. The traditional canvas size sort of overwhelmed me when it came to filling the canvas with my ideas but had a passion for art and details. Naturally, at that time, my friends had some pretty amazing nails with airbrushed motifs and beads, so I thought to myself why don't I just replicate legendary artists on nails? This was back in 2007 and I had never seen it done before so I just started playing around on nails and the rest was history.
Are you a full-time nail artist? If so, how did you make the decision?
Yes, I’ve been a full-time artist since around 2009. I was working full time in corporate health care and was miserable, it was a toxic environment and I didn't have a college degree so I was terrified to leave a steady and safe job. I decided I would go to nail school to get certified while working full time at the agency. All the signs at my job were pointing for me to move on but I dragged my feet out of fear until one day the pressure collapsed on me and I just walked out. I never walked out of a job before and I cried the entire car ride home but little did I know that would be the catalyst to me starting my career as a full-time artist. I already had clients on weekends and evenings completely booked but I was worried who would book with me during the day time, turns out a lot of people have alternative schedules and it was the best move I ever made.
How did you decide on the moniker, Astro Wifey?
I always keep this question as a special story to share with clients, it's personal to me and sort of silly. But long story short it represents strength, celebrating woman and embracing your individuality and differences.
Who or what inspires you?
Strong woman, everything I do I do with women in mind. I have an amazing community of woman around the world, especially in Chicago, and we all come together to uplift, lean on and inspire one another. This past year in Chicago I see the female community linking together to make some powerful moves. So many of my girls have created businesses and their own lanes and it pushes me to be and do better.
Is there a particular style you prefer?
I really enjoy detailed artwork and going back to my roots of replicating tiny miniature paintings on nails. It’s where the love for nails started for me and it never gets old. I’ve also been told that people enjoy my florals so I’m often painting little gardens on nails.
Has your style evolved?
I think when I look back at my work from the very beginning it was an overload of ideas. Now I think I design with more refinement and balance in mind. I enjoy more of a cohesive look now.
Are there any nail trends you're loving or hating right now?
I hate the asymmetrical nail shape, google “lipstick nail shape”. I’m loving the mood ring nail art, nail artists are taking tiny metal gem frames and painting a bunch of shades of color shifting mood polish within the frame making it look like a mood ring and it changes with your body temperature (aka mood). Also really into nails that have hole-punch designs like stars and hearts. This only works with extensions but is a really fun and unique look, not for the faint of heart.
What is the most challenging aspect of your profession?
Having boundaries. When you take on clients they are your responsibility and my clients go hard for their appointments. So sometimes if they need to cancel or move things around and I am completely booked things can get a little out of hand. In recent years I’ve gotten better with my boundaries but it comes with daily challenges when you run your own business.
How do you decompress after a tough week(or client)?
The gym or spending time with my best friends. For me going to the gym is not only for my bodies health (especially since I’m can be sitting up to 10-12 hours a day with work) but also for my mental health. It’s me-time and its where I shut off my brain at the end of the day. Friends make me laugh, so spending quality time with them makes me happy.
What has been your favorite collaboration or creation so far?
I worked with my friend Dzine (Carlos Rolon) with his exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago called Homebodies. He was inspired by his mother who did nails out of their living room when he was younger. He made a replica of their living room from the 1970s, complete with shag rug, macrame planters, and orange plastic-covered couch, and I did nails out of the living room for the summer. The nails were very sculptural and over the top. I even had someone propose to his fiancé using one of the designs I made.
I imagine you have a stellar list of clients but do you have a dream client whom you haven't worked with yet?
I just did Rosalía’s nails for Lollapalooza and she was one of my DREAM clients. I believe in manifestation and I told everyone who would listen that I wanted to do her nails and it happened! The next client I would love to have would be Tierra Whack, I like working with clients who are next-level creative and are really about the nail art life.
Any advice for anyone hoping to join your industry?
Connect with others in your industry. Most nail artists are willing to share knowledge and it helps motivate you to grow and learn.
How do you define success?
Success has never been monetary for me, success is waking up every day and fulfilling my dreams.
What is the long term goal for Astro Wifey?
I would love to open Chicago’s first nail art studio and I want to expand by making merchandise and products.
Any last words?
Stay true to your visions, don’t let anyone limit your dreams!