Vanity Projects: Nail Art Gets An Artsy Boost In NYC

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It’s about time people began to recognize nail art as a valid form of expression. In New York City, art curator Rita Pinto is putting a high-brow spin on the high-end mani.

We’re talking about Vanity Projects, a new gallery-gone-nail salon set to open its doors this summer. The salon space will feature a video art gallery, and a rotating cast of international nail artists-in-residence to ensure your finger bling never gets boring.

We met Rita last week at her Vanity Projects’ pop-up salon at the Museum of Modern Art’s outpost in Queens, PS1. The space was festively decked out in gold and silver tinsel sculptures created by Confetti Systems, suspended above a bevy of busy creators, including local aesthetician-artists Fleury Rose and Naomi Yasuda.

“Getting my nails done has made me realize how much time goes into the nail art process,” Rita explains amidst a flurry of manicure patrons making their way through the installation, “because nail art customers are a captive audience, I wanted to merge the experience with video art.” Rita, who has been curating video art for over 12 years, explains that in gallery settings, video art can often go unnoticed, “I find people do what I call ‘video art drive-bys’– they peer in, they look, but they don’t get the whole story. As video art gains more momentum, we need to find a way...to cultivate some kind of appreciation for it. I thought what better way to do that than a salon setting”.

We sat for a modern art mani by LA artist Britney Tokyo, who surprised us by creating hand painted red lips on the nails of our ring fingers, and then tied the look together with a flat black rhinestone detail, placed at the base of the rest of our claws.

With the Moma PS1 experience such a success, we are thrilled about the opening of Vanity Projects’ full time store and all it will have to offer. “Our residency program will include national artists, as well as artists from areas such as London, Canada, and even Thailand,” explains Rita who describes the salon environment as a luxurious but relaxing place to let loose, share, and exchange resources—a beauty shop meets art collective. “There are so many amazing ways to tie nail art into just about everything.”

Rita explains, “For the pop-up shop today, Fleury Rose designed a full nail set to match the Confetti Systems installation. Artists are continually inspired by their environment and so, by default, the nail artists are inspired just by being here!”


Jessica Washik at work with a display case of fun pop-art-like nails.

Vanity Projects Salon is set to open it’s doors in The Lower East Side, NYC July 2013.

Vanity Projects Pop-Up Nail Salon
Saturdays, March 2, 9, and 16 | 12-6pm
PS1 in Queens, NY