As an honorary member of the nail industry, curator extraordinaire Ryan Lanji hosted the nail event of the year in my opinion. NAIL* PHILIA a celebration of all things nails which demonstrates just what this industry is capable of. I was thrilled to invited to take part in the amazing collaboration of some of the leading names within the industry, Like mobile manicurist The Illustrated Nail, who works with a range of musicians including M.I.A. and Nicole Scherzinger and Sophy Robson, who has worked with Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford, and Dior there was also Jenny Longworth who created "clock nails" for singer Jessie J's music video.
Primarily this event was made up of those familiar names in the world of session techs like Marion Newman who was instrumental in bringing together the two faces of this industry; nails and fashion. It was a shame that just a hand full of examples could be displayed from the very talented nail technicians and nail artists available thought out the industry and I hope if there is a next time those nail technicians that continue to educate and celebrate the industry will be able to show case their skills. “For the public” Ryan says this exhibition “will redefine everything they thought nails could be” and for that I am hopeful, it would be nice to have the industry popped in the spotlight for a change and perhaps have some different more extreme and artistic examples put on show for the world to admire. In the east end of London Degree Art.com is an intimate gallery in Bethnal Green and has opened its doors and welcomed the nail industry with open arms, I think this this exhibition shows the world another art form and tells them that we can join the ranks of the hair and fashion industry, as an art form nails can be celebrated and worn by all, I feel sure this is a moment in history to be celebrated.
So enough of my musing let me tell you how I met Ryan. It was just four months ago I received an email from Ryan’s asking if I would be interested in Nail philia and if I would be able to come up with an installation for the gallery. We discussed this a little further and settled on these Monochrome roses. I wanted to show the different elements of nail design within one set, from nail art to acrylic design growing into jaw dropping fantasy application. These individual elements are represented using the rose, a familiar and beautiful object. Created in black and white so as not to confuse the techniques with colour, this piece takes you from salon viable nail art through to the more extreme 3D design. The nails are punched with a red rose to cast the eye on a journey from nail 1 to nail 10. Sophie Hanson made a cast of her own hands out of Wax.
The second installation was created to represent the trends of today within a popular nail shape. This is animal print taken to the extreme. I use real snake skin within the nails, combined with traditional nail applications to make this a more wearable option. Using pigments to enhance the texture of the skin, I wanted to make this seasons trend an ultimate accessory. The hands where created by Sophie Hanson again and if you’re tempted by the bag this was on loan from Angel Jackson; Samaya mini box bag in Candy floss.
|Megumi Mizuno in front of her installation|
Antony Buckley had a beautiful pop art installation with some delicate painted faces, a change from his usual pink and whites. Megumi Mizuno showed us 2 fantastic images which she did in collaboration with another artist who hand painted the arms and hands of the model.
|Retrospective of work by Sue Marsh|
The highlight for me though was to see Sue Marshes work all in one place, Sue, who in my opinion is one of the founders of fantasy nail art, displayed her life’s work including the nails for Alexander McQueen and the Spice Girls. Now retired from the nail industry, I spoke with Sue and she told me this is a great thing being done for the nail industry.
Alex Fox editor of Scratch magazines and one of the sponsors of the evening told me that ‘tonight we are making history, this is a good thing for the nail industry and we are all a part of it’.
I could go on, but there are various images available of the other installations if you click HERE , which included an quirky gun inspired installation from Sophy Robson, and Nick Knight, best known for directing Lady GaGa's Born This Way video and shooting album covers for Bjork, Boy George, David Bowie and Massive Attack. He has created a series of films one of which is called Nailed and he created with Marian Newman. Jenny Longworth decorated a spectacular jacket by placing blood red polished nail tips on the shoulders and hanging nail tips handed painted with nail art from chains from the cuffs. There was some nice work from Mike Pocock and Sweetsquared created their Handeleir, a take on a chandelier made up of waxed hands suspended from invisible thread. Each of the finger nails had minx applied. Cleverly artistic!