Our newest Nails of New York features longtime Paintbox client Jessica Marak, an incredibly-creative graphic designer, illustrator, and content strategist. Jessica is known for her exciting pops of bright colors in her work, as well as punchy, vivid nail photography. Read more to learn how she loves turning her clients' ideas into visuals that tell a story, why she gravitates towards nail color palettes from the 70s (think rust and periwinkle), and how a manicure makes her feel truly inspired.
How did you get into design?
My dad is a graphic designer. He has worked at Hallmark as a greeting card designer for over 30 years, so I just followed in his footsteps. We even went to the exact same college and even had some of the same teachers.
What's your favorite part of your job?
I like seeing people's eyes light up when I am able to turn their thoughts into visuals. I like working with small brands that I truly believe in and helping them tell their story in a beautiful, meaningful way. I love helping them grow and being a part of building something from scratch.
What's your earliest nail memory?
I remember going to the nail salon for the first time with my two best friends when I was about 10 years old. We couldn't decide on a color, so we all picked a "mood changing color" to get more bang for our buck. The nail technician asked me what shape I wanted, so of course I said "square." Afterwards we took a photo in front of the wall of nail polish bottles because it was a pretty big deal!
How did you pick your design?
I always gravitate towards color first, so I liked the 70s palette of this design in the lookbook. I also love clean, geometric shapes, so this design hit all those boxes for me.
How does your manicure make you feel?
My manicure makes me feel inspired. Whenever I have a colorful manicure I can't stop looking at my hands and taking pictures of them on different, unexpected backgrounds. I love how the colors look against my clothes, on my blue yoga mat, against the sky, etc., etc. I can't stop looking at them!
How do you use your nails as a form of self-expression?
I tend to dress according to the style of my current manicure. If I have a clean, nude manicure, I might dress more minimal and sleek, but with this manicure, I'm really leaning into the 70s vibes with chunky, mustard corduroy jumpsuits and blazers. You can't hide if you have this manicure. You have to be bold and own it.
What does a day-in-the-life look like?
I go to my favorite HIIT class in Soho every morning at 8 a.m. Exercising early in the morning wakes me up and gets me mentally prepared for the day. Afterwards, I grab a coffee, pick up some groceries, and head home to make breakfast. I'm a full-time freelancer now, so I try to be all showered and at my computer by 10 a.m. answering emails and getting to work. I often have meetings in the city in the afternoon, so that's when I would put on real clothes and grab some lunch on my way to the next gig. Then, I might work on a few personal projects before dinner and then settle down for the night with a tea, my cat Eevee, and my fiance. We like to watch movies in the evening to unwind and relax. We are really into watching classic horror movies right now, and because Halloween is our favorite holiday! We recently watched Poltergeist and The Sixth Sense.
What's been the proudest or most memorable moment of your career?
I would have to say when I landed a job at my dream company, Refinery29. I learned so much during my two years as an art director there and was constantly inspired by my incredible coworkers. It was such a creative place to work. I am so grateful for my time there.
What inspires you?
Travel, color, my friends, and New York.
Three things you're into right now?
I'm really into using instagram as a creative outlet and tool for creating meaningful content. I'm also really into into nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness, and I'm really into seriously pursuing a side hustle as a photographer.