Click on photos to enlarge.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Nail Art

Nail art, by the old definition, in this case a work based on a self-portrait
by Leonardo da Vinci, hammered by Albanian artist, Saimir Strati.
They call this type of thing "nail mosaic" now.

Nail art today
As a freshman in college, I was once a student in a basic introductory studio class designed to broaden young would-be artists' understanding and definition of art. Assignments were broad; limitations were few. A fellow student brought in a slab of wood in which he'd pounded hundreds of nails of various types and sizes to various depths to create an abstract design both eye-catching and expressive. That was my first introduction to nail art (above). Of course, such an application of the term today would be laughable, but for decades after those days, that's how I would have defined the two-word term. Of course girls polished their nails way back then (the 1970s), but no one, even those who did so, would have thought to consider it art. Actually sources on the history of this sort of thing say it's a practice some five-thousand years old. I wouldn't know about that, but insofar as I can recall, it's only been within the past five to ten years that we've come to consider nail polish an art form.
Nail art designs by Vixen
For the benefit of men as ignorant of this type of art as I've been, it basically breaks down into three types (1) designs actually painted on the nails, (2) designs painted on artificial "nails" which are then glued to the real thing (above), and (3) more recently, computer designs printed on a thin film which is then applied to the nail and painted over with a clear top coat. As you can well imagine, these three methods open up a tremendous new frontier for those with a creative bent and a steady hand (not to mention excellent eyesight). It gives a whole new definition to wearable art, which, until recently, had been limited to shoes, jewelry, and various other types of fashion apparel. Suddenly, women have an entire art gallery at their fingertips, perhaps leading them to wish they had more than ten fingers (of course there's always the gallery annex topping the toes).
Andy Warhol would have been flattered.
He might possibly have even worn them.
Mondrian nails

At the high end of the genre are nails with gemstones, feathers, and even miniature tributes to artists such as Andy Warhol and Piet Mondrian (above). Most designs, however, are highly non-representational decorations rather than having any pretense to what we might call "high art." They range from the exquisitely elegant to the outrageously ridiculous, not to mention impractical (bottom). Nails may be filed into virtually any elongated shape, though sometimes they're also flattened into near rectangles. And, for the most part, such art is not for those inclined toward DIY, unless they have way too much time on their hands (fingers?). Thus we have evolved yet another type of professional artist--the nail designer. Thus far it seems to be a "girl thing." Except for some "goth" types, nail art seems not to have crossed the gender gap. That's fine with me. No matter how creative this new type of painting may be, I simply don't have the time to do my nails.
Tetris nails--clever but impractical, how would you ever play the game

No comments:

Post a Comment