My posts are usually picture-based, but I just saw the Nailgasm documentary and was so inspired to write about it (if you’ve never heard of it you should totally check it out, it’s amazing). I don’t think I’ve ever really written about what it is that I love about nail art, or why I’m so drawn to it. And it’s funny, a lot of times when I get complimented on my nails I sort of shrug it off and say something like “yeah, it’s my hobby.” Well, you know what? Nail art is just that – art. And it really fulfills an artistic and creative need in my life. I love that I can just wipe it off and start over, that I can find inspiration in color and pattern and even texture and then wear it. How seriously cool is that?
And Nailgasm pointed out some really interesting truths about nail art. During the Great Depression, women reached for red lipstick. It was a cheap way to find some expression and beauty in otherwise tough times. In this recession, the nail industry has grown by leaps and bounds. Did you know that in the US, women spent $768 million on nail polish alone. And that’s not including professional manicure services in salons – it’s a $6 billion industry. Obviously you can spend heaps of money on nail polish and supplies – but generally speaking, “nail art doesn’t discriminate” (that’s a line from the film, I wish I wrote down who said it). That speaks to nail art’s roots in lower-income neighborhoods, made more mainstream by the hiphop community, and then celebrities, seeping into fashion and then everywhere from high end salons to the drug store; the stereotype of Asian salons, history in the black community, and current popularity in the mainstream. My point is just – anybody can do nail art. It’s totally accessible.
I freaking love nail art. I love that I can express myself in ways that I find difficult to do through clothes or hair (damn you curly hair, damn you!). I love that I have control, that I can create works of art that I can wear. The options are limitless – you want to glue feathers or beads or rhinestones or bows or dollar bills to your nails? Go for it! That there are rainbows and skulls and My Little Pony and sunsets and abstract patterns! And glitter and lace!
I am so glad I saw this documentary. I wish I could sum it up more succinctly. I’ll just say that it was really inspiring and fascinating, and you should watch it too.
You can purchase the documentary for $9.99 in the NAILgasm store.