3dd5b76546c7c64a156d michael polsinelli

We are thrilled to partner once again with the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) to promote all of the talented artists who are finalists for the 2018 NAHAs (North American Hairstyling Awards), the most prestigious hair and beauty award in the country. In this feature, get to know more about this year's Avant Garde Finalist – Michael Polsinelli.

Michael Polsinelli's Avant Garde collection, Aileron, is simply stunning, to say the least. We love the way he took styling to a new level with the medium he chose to create these pieces with. True works of art, we can't take our eyes off of these images. Keep reading to get to know more about Michael and the inspiration behind his collection!

What was the inspiration behind your collection?

My inspiration behind this collection was about trying to fuse different elements to come up with a unique end result. I was following my intuition and wanted to work with feathers for some time but I needed to find feathers that were not so obvious. A surface that made you look twice and ask the question, “what is that”?  I found these feathers along with my assistant, rummaging around the Fashion District in downtown LA, and they were perfect. I wanted to relate them back to hair somehow and decided to arrange and cut the feathers into haircuts. I called the collection Aileron, which means a hinged surface in the trailing edge of an airplane wing, used to control lateral balance or a moveable surface.

What is your favorite thing about Avant Garde?

I think the greatest challenge in Avant Garde is creating something that is new to the eye. You have to invent a new process or methodology, which is usually more difficult than the end result itself. Discovering a new method is crucial to the journey of self-discovery and growth. This revelation is what I enjoy the most about Avant Garde.

What did you learn about yourself through this collection?

What I learned about myself when I created this collection was that I was more stubborn than I thought. I knew that some how or some way I was going to have to persevere through my mistakes and difficulties.     


What was your biggest challenge?

I had a lot of challenges when I created Aileron. Every stage of construction was a learning curve. My first challenge was creating a skull cap so that I could fasten the feathers to. I used a material called buckram, which I had never worked with before. I had to learn how to pull and stretch and cut it into shape with water and insert a thin piece of wire around the hairline for stability.  I then had to figure out how to attach the feathers. Once I did that, I had to try and tame the feathers into shape, which were like blades of individual steal and stood out at 90 degrees. I then cut the feathers into shape and wrapped it tightly in plastic and applied heat periodically ever yday until they behaved and took the desired shape.

What other forms of art inspire you?

I get my inspiration from everywhere really. It has to stop me in my tracks and make me look again. I take ideas from Fashion designers such as Iris Van Herpen, futurism, textiles and words. I call it being plugged in to the matrix. Try and absorb everything around you. Sometimes we look but we don’t see.

How much prep time went into each piece?

Each piece approximately took 5-7 days depending on the level of difficulty

What was your favorite part of this shoot?

My favorite part of the shoot is watching the team do what they do best. Everyone works so hard to put all the pieces together and the collaboration between us is when the magic happens.

How did you select your team? Have you worked with them before?

I have worked with everyone on the team at some point in my career for other companies or other hired jobs. So it made it easier to select the talent I wanted on my team. The most important thing for me is working with thoughtful people.  Everyone has to respect and help each other to have a successful shoot. I don’t like drama! Second, we all have to bring something to the table that can further the creative vision of the shoot.  I truly believe you’re only as good as your team so I like to surround myself with talent and of like mindset. 

Tell us a little more about you, as an artist.

I never really know what to say about myself when asked about being an artist. I’ve been very fortunate to work with great people and mentors. In life you have to work hard, make your luck and put yourself in the right place at the right time. I don’t know if I’m talented or just plain stubborn and won’t let myself be defeated. I am very meticulous and persistent when I am working. I think what makes artists grow is discovering a different way or method when it's not working out. I believe you have to leave some details to chance and let the process redirect you to success. When you force creativity, it usually backfires.

How do you Vegas?

I’ll be in Vegas for no longer than 3 days. It’s way too much stimulation for me if I stay any longer. I love going out for dinner, catching a great show and then letting loose.

Salty or sweet?

I say both, why deprive yourself!

Be sure to check out all the NAHA finalists here!