Nail Art As Sociology Experiment? We Can Dig It...

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Nail-Art-1-cutA manicure, at its core, is a very social experience. You have one-on-one contact with your nail tech, not to mention the chatting you may do with other patrons about their polish choices, or the compliments you get later from friends and (sometimes) strangers on your decked-out digits. We've never really thought about it that way before, but thanks to a new project by artist and RISD graduate, Breanne Trammell, our eyes have been opened.

Trammell's Nails Across America project consists of her taking a two-month road trip across America, to share the social experience of manicures. We’re not talking glitter nail stickers — this is nail art with a capital A, transforming the beauty trend into a new interpretation of performance art. With a refurbished trailer as her mobile salon, Trammell will be traveling to recreate the intimacy of getting one’s nails done, beginning with her first stop on May 28 at the Mixed Greens Gallery in NYC and spanning as far as Corvallis, Oregon. Her goal is to "create an intimate platform to exchange ideas and conversation."

Made possible by a recent Kickstarter campaign, it was important to Trammell that her services be free (yes, that's right, free). “The project is for everyone — the ideal audience spans a broad range of ages, and economic, political, and social demographics," she says. "Building an archive of participants as diverse as possible is essential to the project's success: young, old, blue-collar, white-collar, mechanics, gallerists, and farmers alike,” she continues. Not only does Trammell’s project equalize a beauty regimen across all social barriers, it also opens up such an intimate experience for more diverse conversation.

Stop by her mobile salon and choose from manicure colors including Cheetos Orange and International Klein Blue, or nail art designs inspired by Richard Diebenkorn, donut sprinkles, #2 pencils, pretzels, pizza, and other American “classics.” . Free manis and a meeting of the minds in an old-fashioned social salon setting? We fail to see the downside to this.

Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Barnett-Winsby

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