Working for Studio Number One, I just had the chance to contribute to the hand made 'zine that the studio self publishes in conjunction with gallery showings at Subliminal Projects. This third (and my first!) volume is inspired by the group exhibition, Nailed. To quote the gallery site:
Nailed is inspired by the 2011 book titled Nailed: The History of Nail Culture and Dzine, published by Standard Press and Damiani. Photographers from around the world were commissioned to document nail artists, clientele, and salon owners in their respective cities. The photographs that best represent the diversity of this personal and customized form of expression are presented in the publication, along with a historical account of the history of nail art and adornment from the Ming Dynasty in China to the present. The project outlines the trends and techniques that have emerged with time and the relationships nail art culture fosters, both inside and outside salon walls.
Nailed at Subliminal will focus on the presence of nail art, from the urban underground to high-end glamour and contemporary art. A selection of photographs from the publication, as well as unique sculptural hand jewelry and limited edition sneakers, will be on view. Subliminal has teamed up with ASPHALT to provide music for the opening reception. Closing weekend, the gallery will turn into an “Imperial Nail Salon” with music, drinks, and nail art. Madeline Poole from Nailing Hollywood will be setting up shop, providing an opportunity for viewers to both observe and participate in nail art culture.
The exhibition opens to the public on Friday, September 7th followed by a book signing with several exhibited artists on Saturday, September 8th at The Standard, Downtown LA. Dzine will further explore the theme of Nailed and his studio practice of custom culture through a site-specific installation and intervention during the ASPHALT festival, taking place September of 2013 in Exposition Park, Los Angeles.
For my take on the theme of the show, I chose to do two hand illustrations, each paired with digital gradient fades of colors complimentary to the paintings. With the paintings, I wanted to have fun with juxtaposing contemporary fashion concepts of beauty and self identity with historical art/ifacts that deal with similar issues, but within the context of the time they were made.
The first piece combines crazy, over the top street fashion acrylic nails adorned with yin-yangs, bling, rasta colors and pot leaves, as they would be worn by the praying hand of Buddha. Yeah, there's a bit of spiritual philosophy and gender issues in there, for sure.
The second piece is the Venus of Willendorf perched in silver studded, black leather platform high heels. Historically, the venus has been perceived as a fertility fetish, or maybe it was just the Playboy of it's time, but really...is there a difference? Who knows, but either way, the power of female sexuality is being addressed. And those shoes, those shoes. People obsess over shoes, especially women for crazy over the top heels. The more wild, the more desired.
So, to sum it up...beauty and control, mixed up with influence of society and ideas of the self. To suffer for beauty? No one said being pretty is easy.