Hairstylist Nero Unveils His New Exhibition, Youth

Behind the Image is an ongoing series taking a more personal look at both established and emerging creative talent.

Nero | Image courtesy of MA + Group

Nero, Hairstylist

Based: New York City, USA
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Representation: MA + Group

How did you first discover your passion for hair, and what led you to study at the Japan Beauty College?
In high school, a mentor inspired me to pursue a career in hair. Their passion and skill were contagious, making me realize hairstyling’s transformative power. This inspiration led me to enroll at Japan Beauty College, where I could hone my skills and deepen my understanding of hair design.

What other jobs have you had?
Before moving to Paris and New York, I worked as a hairstylist in a salon in Tokyo. My time in Tokyo, focusing on haircuts, color, and perms, provided invaluable experience working with diverse clients and styles, preparing me for my time in the American luxury market and community.

What inspires your creative process and influences your artistic vision?
Everyday life and the people around me. I draw inspiration from the vibrant energy of the places I’ve lived in and visited, the diverse cultures I’ve encountered, the personal stories of my clients, and, importantly, cinema. Nature, art, and music also significantly shape my creative vision.

What have you watched/heard/read lately that has inspired you?
The movie “Perfect Days” by Wim Wenders inspired me by highlighting the beauty and joy in the details of everyday life. This film reminds me to appreciate the small moments and find inspiration in the mundane.

What do you love about what you do?
I love the time I spend in the morning making and drinking coffee with my wife. It’s a quiet, reflective time that sets a positive tone for the day. On my days off, I enjoy surfing to clear my mind and reconnect with nature. Professionally, I love the creative process of transforming someone’s look through hairstyling. It’s not just about haircuts; a great hairstyle can dramatically enhance how someone feels, how their clothes look, and how they appear in photos, creating a powerful overall impact.

What’s one thing outside of your work that you would like people to know about you?
I believe passion turns dreams into reality. This philosophy guides my personal and professional life, and I believe that pursuing what you love with passion leads to fulfillment.

Who do you think is one to watch?
I can’t choose just one because all my friends & colleagues are incredibly talented! They each have unique talents and perspectives that inspire me daily, and I believe they will all make significant contributions in their respective creative fields.

Selected Work

By Nero | Image courtesy of MA + Group

I was selected for an event related to the Ron Herman concept shop opening, UNDER R, in Tokyo. I was chosen after presenting my personal project at the end of 2023. The process of compiling the images was challenging because it involved facing and selecting images from hundreds of portraits I’ve taken, all of which were excellent. “YOUTH” isn’t about numerical age; it’s about the attitude of living with purpose and determination, regardless of age. The exhibit showcases individuals who embody this spirit, demonstrating that youthfulness is a state of mind driven by passion and intent.

Anja Rubik by Peter Ash Lee | Image courtesy of MA + Group

Vogue Korea December 2022 Cover
The hairstyle in this photo features bangs that flow randomly across the face, creating a sense of movement. It has a natural texture while still giving off an edgy impression.

By Jiro Konami | Image courtesy of MA + Group

Y-3 S/S 23 Campaign Chapter 1
The hairstyle in the left photo features long, straight platinum blonde hair, reflecting Tokyo’s unique aesthetic. It captures the city’s nighttime lights and shadows, exuding a mysterious and sophisticated vibe. The hairstyle in the right photo combines a bold mohawk with shaved sides, embodying Tokyo’s street culture with an edgy look.

By Philipp Paulus | Image courtesy of MA + Group

Helmut Lang Spring/Summer 2024
In this Helmut Lang campaign image, the models’ hairstyles stand out with their modern and edgy designs. Each style is simple yet sophisticated, perfectly enhancing the overall cool vibe. The textures and silhouettes of the hair are finely tuned, creating a unified and stylish visual.

Sora Choi by Peter Ash Lee| Image courtesy of MA + Group

Vogue Japan March 2024 Cover
This incredible Vogue Japan March issue cover story was a pivotal shoot for me; I’ve of course always looked at Vogue Japan ever since I got info session styling. I believe the hair enhanced Sora’s expression and helped to highlight the styling in the best possible way.