I do not paint my fingernails. I take care of them but there is never any color on them. Just clear, plain clear.
Until Tuesday. That’s when I went blue, glorious blue.
And the reason is not vanity nor fashion but rather art. Breanne Trammell art.
The New York/New Jersey art professor, who will be at Real Art Ways at its monthly Creative Cocktail Hour Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m., is in the midst of an art project she calls “Nails Across America.” it’s a cross-country road trip of sorts, aimed at the art behind the manicure. Her plan is to do a documentary not just the color painting nor the designs nor the necessity, but the intimacy, the conversation and the insight that occurs when two people are sitting practically nose-to-nose for an hour.
“I love color and the performing arts and just got an idea that doing a documentary on 500 manicures would be fascinating,” said the 33-year-old who teaches at SUNY at Purchase and at Ramopo College in New Jersey. “It’s been an experience.”
Trammell began her 30-stops journey after the semester ended, transforming a 1968 Shasta Compact travel trailer into a mobile salon. She did get her nail license in order to go forward with the art documentary and a manicure with her includes a few pictures and for some along the way, video as well.
“I haven’t looked at it all yet, I am just collecting everything and writing some and when
I get done I will put it all together,” she said.
A core member of the Wassaic Project in New York, Trammel, who received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, has incorporated art and whimsy into her manicure art selections. There is “Cheeto Orange,” reminding her of one of her favorite snack foods and color, and a gold with black polka dots representative of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. I chose ’Klein Blue’ the bright, deep blue signature color made famous by French artist Yves Klein.
Trammell, who does manicures on both men and women, has great stories from her journey so far like the one about “Barry the Cowboy” in Texas and the teenaged mothers in need in Minneapolis. Her stories were another benefit of the hand-to-hand art going on.
But back to my nails. I was positive I would go home and take the color off, sure in my heart that I was just not an “artsy” kind of woman and way too old to be flaunting such nail notoriety. But I didn’t. I like it and find myself smiling ever time I look down at my hands. I like the boldness and the surprise of these nails of statement. I like being art.
Call 860.232.1006 for a manicure appointment and Creative Cocktail information or go to realartways.org.