Friday, October 28, 2011
Our Tragic Loss
The nail world is saddened this evening to learn of the loss of one of our most talented nail artists. Tom Holcomb was an amazing individual. I did not know him well but I did have the pleasure to take a workshop with him in 1999 in Ohio. It was a stretch financially for me at the time but I knew I must get myself there. I asked my dear nail friend Deb Shoaf if she wanted to come with me so the weekend was on. I thought initially I am so out of my league, what am I thinking taking this class with the master himself. My doubts were immediately lifted when we met Tom that day. I had seen him at shows and knew of his work but this was the first time I had a chance to see and learn up close and personal. He was so humble and unassuming and made the whole weekend an unforgettable experience. We sat in awe for a few demos, I was just amazed at his control over his acrylic as he crafted a face on a fingernail. It totally blew my mind. Next we went over some technical instruction, and then, we were put to the test, literally we had to do nails under his watchful eye, in a competition. No pressure, Salina Rush and John Hauk, champions in their own right, were in attendance as well, which speaks volumes for the respect we all shared for this man. I remember working on my whites when he came by looking over my shoulder. My fingers started shaking like I was possessed by the devil himself. He just joked with me and said, I got my eye on you girl, you're alright. Tom put us at ease the whole day laughing and sharing bits and pieces of himself, not the nail guru but the man. He scored the nails and when it came to critique my nails he was too kind, offering encouragement, not criticism. He showed me that my points were not too far off from the top scores. Far enough, but he pointed out the positive. I always took time to watch him at a show whenever I could and always took another great tip away with me. I am so saddened to hear of his passing. I look to the young up and comers and am sorry for their loss, to never experience his amazing gift. His legacy will forever live on in video, stunning photographs and in the small piece of him we all carry within us. That part that pushes us to excellence. He redefined the "competition" nail always upping the ante with a new twist on his already perfect execution. So heaven just got one of the best nail techs up there and I'm sure he already has a line waiting. RIP Tom. You will continue to brighten our world from above.