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Tom Holcomb

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Rinn

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I'm interested to find out more information about the late great Tom Holcomb. Any thing sbout him on the net is very patchy.
I understand he was a genius in his field.
I would appreciate it if anyone had any information about him that they could share with us.
 

anna592

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Entity do a set of 4 DVDs...one of them is tom showing you how to sculpt competition pink and whites. All 4 DVDs have snippets of him and how he got into nails and why he loved the industry x

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geeg

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I knew Tom for 25 years or more ... What exactly are you interested in knowing about him? :D:

He was a nail technician. He made competition nails his speciality. He produced a competition nail that was then used as the model, embodying all the criteria for the competition score sheets. He could reproduce the exact same thing again and again and again. He went to japan and Asia and taught hundreds of nail technicians how to clone the exact same nails ... You can see the result of this at every competition. He would have loved you calling him a genius! And I can see that great big Holcomb smile he would have beamed at you for saying it.
 

Rinn

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Well It was another geek who introduced me to Pisut Masanong . I was scrolling through some of his amazing work and saw this portrait of Tom. I knew a little bit about Tom but not a lot. I have a fascination about all these wonderful nail techs who keep pushing the boundaries ....for Pisut to do this portrait of Tom got me thinking ..who was this man , what was his preferred medium , what made him so special ?
So off I went to my friend Google and his work was amazing but Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone could do up an encyclopaedia of nail techs who have been a driving force in the industry?

Gigi , I thought Ketan was instrumental in the competition nail? Or was it Ketan on his side of the pond and Tom on the other?
 

Rinn

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Pisut's portrait of Tom.
 

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Rinn

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For the younger tech's who aren't familiar with Tom's reputation.

Tom was the greatest nail technician in the history of the industry. Tom's successes include 10 times World Champion, 5 times Japan Master, 2 times International Champion in Düsseldorf and 2 times International Champion in Munich.

Tom was the Creative Director of EZ Flow and later was a co-founder of Entity Systems. Tom educated many thousands of nail technicians during his career and his students - which includes many competition champions - will remember Tom for his tremendous skill, his humour, kindness and humility.

It's a very sad day for our industry.

quote from a post by BobSweden
 

geeg

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Well It was another geek who introduced me to Pisut Masanong . I was scrolling through some of his amazing work and saw this portrait of Tom. I knew a little bit about Tom but not a lot. I have a fascination about all these wonderful nail techs who keep pushing the boundaries ....for Pisut to do this portrait of Tom got me thinking ..who was this man , what was his preferred medium , what made him so special ?
So off I went to my friend Google and his work was amazing but Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone could do up an encyclopaedia of nail techs who have been a driving force in the industry?

Gigi , I thought Ketan was instrumental in the competition nail? Or was it Ketan on his side of the pond and Tom on the other?
Ketan on this side of the pond for sure. But for many years there was no standard nail ... In a competition, the nail artists could be just that, creative and artistic. One could design the nails that went with the hand ... The right proportion of pink to white for beauty. The nail shape was up to the artist ... The freedom to be creative, but it was a lottery as to who won, because maybe a judge preferred square nails so didn't mark a perfect set of oval nails high .. See what I mean!

When Vicki Peter's ran all the comps in the USA and she created criteria that had to be adhered to and she chose Toms nails as the standard to be reached. So to win you really have to create Toms nails. The length of the white had to be standard, the c curve, standard 50% of a circle and so on ..... Didn't matter if that shape and length went with the hand or if the proportions were beautiful as long as you made that nail ..... Makes it easy for the judges. As long as a tech can make those nails and do it more consistently than anyone else ... Then they are going to do well. This remains the same today for one category. We have other categories now for Salon Nail etc which to my mind puts some artistic creativity back into competing.
 
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BobSweden

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Vicki Peter's ran all the comps in the USA and she created criteria that had to be adhered to and she chose Toms nails as the standard to be reached.
Competitions existed before this point. Vicki and competed against each other for several years. As I was told by Vicki, she struggled to beat Tom but then had a breakthrough and won. Tom was the first person to come and congratulate her and that meant a lot. Apparently she kept that lead for the next two years and then retired from competing. After that she joined Nails or NailPro (she worked for both over a 25 year period but I don't remember which was first) and became the competition organiser, rewriting much of the rules (perhaps as you say to Tom's original standard).

I believe this was in the late '80's?
 

geeg

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Competitions existed before this point. Vicki and competed against each other for several years. As I was told by Vicki, she struggled to beat Tom but then had a breakthrough and won. Tom was the first person to come and congratulate her and that meant a lot. Apparently she kept that lead for the next two years and then retired from competing. After that she joined Nails or NailPro (she worked for both over a 25 year period but I don't remember which was first) and became the competition organiser, rewriting much of the rules (perhaps as you say to Tom's original standard).

I believe this was in the late '80's?

I was writing specifically about that period of time when VP organised all the comps, not the whole history of competitions. Vicki was a big competitor and won many competitions.

Vicki has told me the stories many times over the years and we have also been friends for more than 25 years ... She is a Massachusetts girl like myself and we speak often. She told me she wrote the rules to comply with that nail because in her mind it was perfect and demonstrated each criteria perfectly.
 
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MamaG

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This is really interesting stuff for a newbie like me. It's great to hear some background / history. Google, here I come! :)

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mum

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Ketan on this side of the pond for sure. But for many years there was no standard nail ... In a competition, the nail artists could be just that, creative and artistic. One could design the nails that went with the hand ... The right proportion of pink to white for beauty. The nail shape was up to the artist ... The freedom to be creative, but it was a lottery as to who won, because maybe a judge preferred square nails so didn't mark a perfect set of oval nails high .. See what I mean!

When Vicki Peter's ran all the comps in the USA and she created criteria that had to be adhered to and she chose Toms nails as the standard to be reached. So to win you really have to create Toms nails. The length of the white had to be standard, the c curve, standard 50% of a circle and so on ..... Didn't matter if that shape and length went with the hand or if the proportions were beautiful as long as you made that nail ..... Makes it easy for the judges. As long as a tech can make those nails and do it more consistently than anyone else ... Then they are going to do well. This remains the same today for one category. We have other categories now for Salon Nail etc which to my mind puts some artistic creativity back into competing.

Geeg is, of course, absolutely right in this chain of events. Tom was an amazing and inspirational individual and he made it his business to win competitions. And he certainly did that, globally!

However, he created a nail that was easy to reproduce EXACTLY over and over and he did this by measurements and straight lines. This means that, when judged at comps, it gets the highest score as is more quantifiable. He inspired 1000’s to practice and up,their game to enter comps all around the world. He did this to such an extent that he taught his,,then, partner Izayah Jeffrey, an artist, to do nails from a beginner to a comp winner in under 6 months (it may have even been 3).

In my opinion it is now time to move on from that nail. It bares no relation to how technicians earn their living as it is not a 'salon' nail. It is a very specific comp nail. The industry has grown so big now and so many struggle to be successful,in the very hard commercial world.

It happens so often that beginners in their first year of learning can't wait to get on to nail art long before they have gained the basic knowledge and skills. I'm not saying that nail should just disappear but, as Geeg mentioned, there are more categories now that can showcase an individual's creativity and, more importantly in my view, categories that focus on excellent commercial skills. This is certainly happening at all the nail comps in the UK.

Tom has certainly been the greatest competition winner of all time but now I believe the professional nail industry needs a slightly different focus.
 

geeg

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Geeg is, of course, absolutely right in this chain of events. Tom was an amazing and inspirational individual and he made it his business to win competitions. And he certainly did that, globally!

However, he created a nail that was easy to reproduce EXACTLY over and over and he did this by measurements and straight lines. This means that, when judged at comps, it gets the highest score as is more quantifiable. He inspired 1000’s to practice and up,their game to enter comps all around the world. He did this to such an extent that he taught his,,then, partner Izayah Jeffrey, an artist, to do nails from a beginner to a comp winner in under 6 months (it may have even been 3).

In my opinion it is now time to move on from that nail. It bares no relation to how technicians earn their living as it is not a 'salon' nail. It is a very specific comp nail. The industry has grown so big now and so many struggle to be successful,in the very hard commercial world.

It happens so often that beginners in their first year of learning can't wait to get on to nail art long before they have gained the basic knowledge and skills. I'm not saying that nail should just disappear but, as Geeg mentioned, there are more categories now that can showcase an individual's creativity and, more importantly in my view, categories that focus on excellent commercial skills. This is certainly happening at all the nail comps in the UK.

Tom has certainly been the greatest competition winner of all time but now I believe the professional nail industry needs a slightly different focus.
I wish I could give 10 hearts to this post! :hug:

The TH comp nails are extreme in every way. Extreme length, extreme smiles, extreme C curves etc and all completely unnatural-looking But takes good brush skills and control to get that look and pinching tools etc to get that curve. We do not do these things in the salon 99 out of a 100 times.

Hair competitions are just the same. Everything extreme, unrealistic, and not done in the salon. But it does show off a persons skills.

Many new technicians stress so much about being able to produce extreme smile lines and mostly they are never wanted or needed in real life. They also stress about pinching extreme c curves and in the same vein, they are not wanted or needed in a commercial setting. There is nothing wrong in gaining these skills, but keep it in perspective.
 

izzidoll

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What a great and informative thread!

When I first started doing nails at the first Scottish Beauty Show I attended, Tom Holcomb and Anthony Buckley were both demoing on the EzFlow stand and I was totally blown away by the work they were doing.
I put my hands up though and admit I never mastered this extreme nail, not even when I finally got to train with Mr Buckley ;) but by then I was too entrenched in creating nails to complement the hand and natural nails, and I have just always loved creating natural looking nails.

Of course I still admire the dedication, skill and workmanship of competition nails, and competing is a way of honing your skills and getting your name out there.

That said...does it get your name out there anymore? How many of our new nail techs on here have looked at this thread and said Tom who?

In my day (jebus I really am a dinosaur) I knew who was top in our Industry, Tom Holcomb, Anthony Buckley, Ketan Atel, Liza Smith and the lovely Amanda Fontanarossa to name a few, and I got to see them all in action.

I know this thread is primarily about Tom Holcomb but has our Industry got so big that we no longer have idols and nail heros that we aspire to?
 

Rinn

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This is what Salon Geek is about ...

That's partially why I started it Izzi, so we can all be inspired by the greats past and present ..

We may not all become champions but we can all challenge ourselves to keep pushing ourselves to become better and better.
 

Conny

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What a great and informative thread!

I know this thread is primarily about Tom Holcomb but has our Industry got so big that we no longer have idols and nail heros that we aspire to?
I have to disagree.
Gigi, Jim Norstrom and Doug Schoon are my nail-heroes.
Thinking about it, i bet Gigi is the only one capable of making a nail LOL
But all three are smart, helpfull and masters in their expertise.
 

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