Nice Trim

By Steph Jones

New year new trim? Why not spruce up your Barnet with a trippy bit of buzzcut art, a bright and bold gradient design, or a take on Picasso’s ‘The Weeping Women’ (yes that has been done) here are some artists taking the clippers to lockdown mullets all over the world and creating personas through the medium of hair art. Read more here in Nice Trim.

Main Illustation by Ellie Darby-Prangnell

With the invention of manual clippers in the late 19th-century, cropped almost to the skin hairstyles became more achievable and neater looking. Adopted by the military and in prisons, for cleanliness and practicality, the low maintenance hairstyle became synonymous with tough hypermasculine characters. As a symbol of strict conformity and stripping of identity, the style has also been used historically on women as a form of shaming. In comes the 1960’s and the skinheads who took pride in their buzz cuts to oppose the long-haired hippies. In the 90’s the style was picked up by women controversially at first but as the years went on the style has become a lot more common helping release people from gendered stereotypes and explore their identity past their hair.

Electric clippers were invented in 1921 and within a year were being sold all across America making short hair cuts even easier to achieve and particularly more customisable. With the endless possibilities that changeable blad guards made, more interesting styles became possible, leading to the popularity of the intricate fade.

One notably bold head of hair belongs to professional basketball player and overall style icon Dennis Rodman. Notorious for his bad-boy persona and flamboyant self-expression, rarely seen in male-dominated sports at the time, Rodman repeatedly dyed his hair in artificial colours. Patterns would also be painted onto his bleached hair, sporting the Chicago bull in some games to match his uniform as well as a red ribbon in support of aids awareness. With the resurgence of 90’s aesthetics in recent years, it’s no surprise that the style has made a return with celebrities such as Kid Cudi taking inspiration from Rodman’s look.

Using the head as a canvas Janine Ker found her style by working with and combining hair stencilling on longer styles and shaved patterns into undercuts back in 2016, developing her work ever since to create some of the most beautiful and intricate buzz cut looks out there. Considering each client’s individual head complexities is important in making every look completely personal. This faded pastel look Inspired by nature and dainty lace designs is one of her more recent hair carvings, which shows her use of depth, texture, colour and negative space.

Hair colourist and owner of the salon Hair Los Angeles, Daniel Moon started experimenting with hair as a teen when he convinced his wrestling team to bleach their hair as part of the uniform, ultimately it failed and like most of our first at-home hair attempts, turned orange. Later joined the marines where his style expression was restricted leading him to rebel and join beauty school where he could fully embrace his creativity through hair.

Using hair styling as a performance to create a persona for the individual, his work became more involved with lifestyle and culture leading him to bag some celebrity clients such as Kanye, Kevin Abstract and Kid-Cudi. His work features highly saturated dyes often applied to create gradients and blends on the bleached canvas that look like moving abstract paintings.

Working with a platinum bleach base Taya uses depth and shape to create her edgy futuristic designs which she calls hair tattoos. The abstract swirling shapes resemble tribals design with a sci-fi twist and are often symmetrical creating the illusion of a parting. The Moscow based artist works strictly in neutral tones creating a chic and unique aesthetic that highlights the contrast in the cut depth. Working a lot with undercut carvings her work can be applied to anyone’s head for a more subtle but impressive trim.

Shanghai-based digital artist Wang Newone who is influenced heavily by game culture has an interesting way of bringing hair design into the digital realm and exploring its possibilities. Such a delicate and detailed part of the body can be hard to replicate in digital images, but with developing technologies it is becoming even more indistinguishable from reality. Playing with long and short hairstyles in hyperrealistic style makes us question if what we are looking at is real or not. She approaches hairstyling on her characters more like flower arranging adding strands in places they are not supposed to be and colouring individual strands to make a two-toned buzz cut not possible in real life.

Follow the links above to find out more about these hair artists and to view more of their work.

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