For Jackie Bieber, hair should always be looked at as a form of art and personal expression. Bieber, who has a background in painting and visual art, now uses the human head as a canvas to hand-draw her wildest creations. The 22-year-old artist’s immaculate designs range from flames, smiley faces and crosses to some of the boldest colors and textures that hair follicles can hold. The young artist who grew tired of traditional mediums found herself inspired to enter the world of hair design, and within three years, has become one of the most sought-after artists in her field.
What was your upbringing like, and how did it inform you as an artist?
I was raised in Hawaii, on the small island of Kauai. I feel that had a lot to do with who I am now as a person. It was a small island with not much to do, but as a child, I tapped into the art world. I grew up painting and drawing, which became my outlet. I was really inspired by the nature around me with the greenery and beautiful ocean.
When did you start working with hair in particular?
Having a background in painting and drawing helped a lot. One of my friends shaved her head bald, and I was bored with the traditional painting medium, so [I] had the idea to do a painting on her bald head. I had a background in hair products as well because my mom was a hairstylist, so I really just combined the two mediums. I got all the semi-permanent colors and used my friend’s head as my canvas, and that’s pretty much it. Everything I do is hand-drawn without stencils. The first style I did was flames, and since then it’s really evolved and taken off.
When people come to you, do you have a consultation process of sorts?
There is a consultation process, and I have an iPad where I sketch my ideas onto. I’m really just inspired by different colors, textures and patterns within nature. It’s really just all in my head, and I sketch it on my iPad, and then it ends up on someone’s head. Right now people get in touch with me through DMs, which are getting flooded at the moment. However, in the future, I am creating a website. Every client that I work with is very personalized, so I don’t want a booking system. I want to actually talk to my clients ahead of time. When I worked with blackbear for the first time, I just got a DM from him, and we just linked up, did the hair, and it all played out well. With a lot of clients that I work with, they want to do something extraordinary to get a reaction from people.
How long have you been doing hair art since you got your start?
It’s been about three years. I wasn’t as open about sharing it on social media then as I am now. I was posting here and there but didn’t know if it was interesting to other people. Recently, I started posting religiously on TikTok. The first-ever video I posted was a flower bouquet design that I did, and overnight it grew exponentially where it got 5 million views in one night. From there, I started creating more and got some crazy opportunities. I got to work with Dennis Rodman, who is almost like the founder of this style. People see my resume of the different styles I have done and the clients will look through it, but then we will create something new and fun.
It sounds like this all started from such an organic place where you did the art first, and everything else with the internet success is just a byproduct of your passion.
That’s very true. With this hair stuff, it’s so exhilarating because you only have a certain amount of time before your hair grows out and you have to shave it off to start a new piece. It’s always evolving, and it’s always the next thing where you’re exploring new forms of art.
Have you ever had a moment where the process went wrong and you made a mistake with the client’s hair? [Laughs.]
When I do hair design, I go straight into it with no guidelines where I just project my image to the head, and that can be scary sometimes. Each line that I do is bold, and if you mess something up, you have to go through the whole bleaching process again. I have messed up before, but it all ties in at the end. When you’re making art, though, there really is no such thing as a mistake because you can always blend it all together. No matter what, it’s just fun, and this is an expression of art.
Who is your biggest influence in visual art?
I love Takashi Murakami. The colors and creatures that he draws flow together really well, and he’s influenced me a lot.
What kind of music are you into?
I grew up on oldies, especially rock and pop culture. I love the ’80s and ’90s rock, and my dad would always put on CDs when we would be chilling around the house. My dad actually worked in music before we moved to Hawaii, and he had a huge influence on me. I enjoy music as much as visual arts.
What’s the best place to eat in LA?
My house! [Laughs.]
You have worked with a wide range of notable clients, from Dennis Rodman to blackbear. Do you now have dreams of opening up your own flagship salon?
I’m definitely looking forward to opening my own salon eventually, but first I want to start my own business, my own product line and start to teach people with tutorial videos. I’m just one person doing this and sharing my art on the internet, and people want to replicate it. I want to give them all the tools and tricks that I have used in order for them to do it at home with their friends. When I eventually open my salon, I want to have a community of people who want to do fun artistic shit.
This feature appeared in issue #406, available below.