'Nail Art' is a 16mm film shown as a loop, and made entirely using nail varnishes and nail stickers as my materials. It's a visceral response to the craze for nail art, and considers whether nail art is wholly at odds with female freedom, as an activity that requires maintaining a veneer at the cost of empowered physical action in the world, or whether it's a modern-day equivalent to patchwork and a piecing together of feminine community and the emergence of a fresh and active aesthetics.
Nail varnish and filmmaking do have some parallels - both involve toxic chemicals coming into contact with lungs and hands, both contain organic substances (keratin / gelatine respectively), and both can be somewhat preserved through the use of a sealant (clear top-coat / film guard). I chose to make my film on 16mm Ektachrome, a film stock now discontinued and considered perhaps 'dead'. The film you see is the original, which I processed with my hands, and which will progressively become more and more worn by the projector as it loops again and again. I won't try to 'patch up' my film (or nails). I will let it gloriously scratch and wear off through being well and truly used. Nothing is pristine. Underneath their attractive coatings, nails are full of bacteria and dirt. My film is living and dying at the same time, perpetually moving. Nails keep growing after death. Is the same true for analogue film?
'Nail Art' is currently installed at the Vantage Art Prize, where it is contending for the prize! Public voting takes place tonight, Thursday 21st February, between 6pm and 8pm! Wish me luck!