To the average beer guzzling, blunt puffing man, manicures are no more than a little maintenance. He sees a chick with her nails did, gives a compliment then goes about his day. End of story! But fingertips have become so much more. Women are on the rise taking nail art by storm from the salons to the big screen. Just look at director Ayla Montgomery, a.k.a Brass, who is the woman behind “NAILgasm”: a documentary about nail art.
I was introduced to Brass, by way of Cerritos, CA last year after exchanging emails and following each other on Tumblr. It’s actually quite amazing how she does most of her research on who to interview through social networks and NAIL ART tags. She and I flew out to London, experiencedSophy Robson’s NailPorn together, took a few pictures and next thing I knew, I had ended up featured with her in Scratch Magazine. It was at that moment that I realized just how huge her project had already been and was going to continue to be.
Brass was constantly traveling across the USA to interview respected artists including Naomi Yasuda,Hey Nice Nails, Astrowifey, and Madeline Poole. Following “NAILgasm’s” successful Kickstarter funding, Brass soon made her way to Japan to include one of the world’s hottest nail artists, Nagisa Tushima of Disco Nail. And then the trailer dropped! Blogs were showing so much love, nail artists and enthusiast were going crazy, and now the wait is nearing its end. In the midst of finalizing “NAILgasm” Brass talks about the power of Tumblr, her experiences with the film, and how the nail art community has grown more connected.
JGM: What inspired you to create a nail art documentary?
B: I love documentaries and I love nail art so it seemed like the perfect marriage to me.
JGM: How did you define “NAILgasm?”
B: A NAILgasm is that feeling of excitement you get when you see some really amazing nail art. It really is like having an orgasm caused by nails.
JGM: Since meeting your goal on Kickstarter, “NAILgasm” has received a tremendous amount of popularity on social networks. How do you continue to successfully gain nail artists and nail enthusiasts support?
B: By being honest. People know when they’re being lied to. I am genuinely in love with nails and the work that these artists do and I think [that’s why] people gravitate towards the project. Everyone wants to belong to someone. For a lot of us who are separated by geography, we can be friends all over the world just based on nails. And well…nail art is just really awesome!
JGM: How have you used Tumblr/Twitter as a tool for your film?
B: That was my main promo tool for Kickstarter and still is in terms of promoting the film now. I have a larger following on Instagram, Tumblr is second, then Facebook, then Twitter.
JGM: Would you consider either to be your biggest resource?
B: There would be no NAILgasm without Tumblr.
JGM: Can you talk a little bit about the power of tags and any personal experience you’ve had with it, like discovering people to interview?
B; Once I heard the founder of Tumblr say in an interview that ‘nail art’ is one of its most popular tags, I’ve been tagging everything. If you don’t tag your posts it gets really difficult for people to find you. I don’t post without tagging. That’s a huge ‘No, No.’
JGM: Are you a Nail Art tag editor on Tumblr?
B: I was briefly and then I lost my spot, I couldn’t keep up with the demands of the nail art community.
JGM: What’s it like discovering artists through a community online then connecting and building in person?
B: I find that most people don’t bare their soul online they just give you a taste. Once you meet them in person, that’s where the real connection starts.
JGM: How long have you been working on the film?
B: I started filming “NAILgasm” in July 2011.
JGM: How have you and “NAILgasm” grown?
B: This film has changed my life. Literally. I’ve met so many amazing women whose stories have really inspired me to be better at my craft and really go for it!
JGM; When is “NAILgasm” going to be released?
B: December unless HBO wants to buy it, hint hint (laughs!)
JGM: Have you entered into any film festivals?
B: No. Unfortunately I have missed all of the deadlines for the festivals that I wanted to do. So instead I will have a screening tour of the film where I’ll visit various cities and show the film.
JGM:How have you seen the nail art community grow a bit more connected through this film?
B: I think the film has exposed artists to one another. That’s the power of documentary—it exposes new worlds.
exciting news! I got a shout out from Brass in her interview with Scratch magazine and my photo is all up in that piece as well :). it’s been an honor to have helped on “NAILgasm”. I’ve learned so much about myself and so many incredible ladies, but just to clarify, I blog photos onto NailPorn and create captions edited by the head woman in charge. There’s not really a writers block just yet, but maybe Robson will consider? Vlogs are probably more forward anyways and NailPorn has already got a lock on that.