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Fingernails are art

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By Jessi Towell
Collegiate Staff Writer

Is it just nail painting, or can you call it nail “art”? That’s a question I’ve been asked on more than a few occasions when my fellow classmates see my many whimsical manicures. I have always been quick to inform them that it is, in fact, an a type of art.

“Anything that allows you to get creative is an art form,” said GRCC student and Tanaz Hair Boutique and Day Spa employee Alexa DeVries. Nail art trends are cropping up all over and DeVries, who’s been a polish enthusiast since grade school, always gets the scoop on them when she’s on the job.

“There are quite a few trends out now that aren’t ‘the norm’ when it comes to painting nails,” said DeVries. “Using magnetic nail polish, OPI’s ‘Shatter’ colors, and painting just one nail a different color” were just a few of the ways that DeVries said artists could express themselves with nail polish.

WAH Nails, a London-based nail salon, is a front-runner in the nail art movement. Their website showcases and features outstanding manicures of all sorts. Instead of flat colors, things only the most daring fashionistas care to try are shown—bows, stripes, words, flags, fruit, Vitamin Water logos, cartoon characters, and even pierced nails, just to name a few.

According to the salon’s website (wah-nails.com), WAH Nails founder, magazine publisher, and stylist Sharmadean Reid, was even dubbed one of the “15 people who will define the future of arts in Britain” by The Independent online newspaper of the United Kingdom.

“We live in an era where DIY is made even easier with home technology,” said Reid during an interview with The Independent, and it certainly has. Since their website was launched in 2009, the users from image-sharing websites like Tumblr.com have made many attempts to copy and expand upon WAH’s designs for their own nails.

Doing home nail designs is admittedly difficult, especially for those who aren’t ambidextrous or may not have the tools. But anyone can, with enough experimentation and practice, learn to do their own nail art.

The tools a budding nail artist uses are integral to a successful and artful manicure. Slim-tipped brushes are a must-have item when beginning to create a nail art look. They can be purchased for $1 to $5 at grocery stores including Family Dollar, Meijer, and Walmart in their makeup aisles. Many artists use nail art pens, which can be purchased at the same grocery stores. These tend to cost more (between $6 to $9), though their accuracy is far better than what can be achieved with brushes. For thrifty artists, toothpicks can even be dipped into nail polish to make perfect polka-dots. As far as colors go, Devries suggests “pale, sort of pastels, or neutral tones.” “I saw a lot of browns and grays, and the nude manicure is huge,” said DeVries.