Nailed: polish as high art

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At the corner of Elysian Park and Sunset, where you’d turn in to head to Dodger Stadium, is an old law office that’s been converted into a palace of art.  It’s Shepard Fairey’s gallery, Subliminal, and the other day I went there to meet Dzine, a hot-shot artist from Chicago (he used to be repped by Jeffrey Deitch!) We talked about his latest creation, Nailed.

The book and exhibit of the same name celebrate nail culture, yes, as in fingernails.  Less permanent than tattoos but no less a work of creativity, and with quite a history, too.  Dzine, whose real name is Carlos Rolon, grew up in a Puerto Rican-American household where his mother operated a beauty salon.  Inspired by the camaraderie and artistry of it all, Dzine decided to celebrate it.

He went on to set up temporary nail salons in NYC and Art Basel in Miami.  Given that there are nail salons on every corner, why was this necessary?  Dzine’s hope was to show the gallery crowd that there is Big A art in what seems like a pedestrian effort.

Here’s my conversation with Dzine–who, by the way, didn’t have a stitch of color on his own nails: