Columbia Chicago journalism graduate. I interview cool people and obsess over nails. You can get an idea of my interest by viewing my blog, as well as stories and interviews composed by me. I started as a writer for M.I.S.S., Gloss Magazine Online, The Lipstick Diaries, and Don't Trip Yet. Today I blog for NailPorn and I contribute to Jungle Gym Magazine.
I am the co-editor of Tipsy Zine,
Author of THAT'S TOTALLY IN! THE ADVENTURES OF ISIS NICOLE ILLUSTRATED BY SARA M LYONS and your coco connect.
"Tell him I’ve been too fucking busy or vice versa"- Dorothy Parker
All inquires send to
last night i was interviewed by @kati_elliott (a rising journalist, nail artist, and hand model who i often refer to as the protege of sophy robson), and i can’t wait to see and share when it’s finished! she’s really dope!
Interview By: Isis Nicole
Adreanna Corrales is Chica Artista Nails—- the totally zealous manicurist whose passion, full of sincerity, pours onto ten tiny digits. She’s sweet like sugar and credits her boyfriend and Spifster as part of her inspiration to become better at her craft. Features in NAILgasm, as well as the first issue of Tipsy Zine, was only the beginning for Arizona-based Corrales. She’s got her eye on the prize, and a special good girl gone bad in this special midnight interview after the jump!
Name Adreanna Corrales (also known as) Chica Artista Nails
Hometown Phoenix, AZ
Website www.chicaartistanails.tumblr.com and @chicaartistanails on IG
Most Known For Painting nail art and being all about the nail art life.
Unknown For My dance moves, and I don’t mean hoocihe mama twerking moves, though I do enjoy that every now and again. (Laughs!) I still plan on taking a contemporary dance class for myself soon.
When did you start doing nails?
Well I always loved to paint my nails since middle school, but I didn’t start going hard in nail art until about one year and a half ago. I started nail art on myself maybe like three years ago. It all started with my boyfriend painting polka dots on my toes. The more I did nail art designs, the more I loved it and wanted to go harder. For me, the possibilities are endless and my finger nails aren’t enough. I gotta share it with everyone I can, and use their finger nails too (laughs!)
What does your art represent?
My nail art is freedom and happiness. Like all art, it’s an expression whether it be a mood, a style, a persona. Painting nails for me is like a breath of fresh air. For my friends and clients, it’s a freedom of expression. I like adding flare to ladies who wouldn’t otherwise express it on their own.
Do you have any favorite polishes or techniques?
Like a lot of nail artist, I’ve noticed we all like Orly or O.P.I. which of course are always smoother to paint with. Right now I’m really loving Sation just because it layers nice and it’s not too sheer when I apply it over another color. I started out using stripers for all my nail art, but now I work better with the nail art brushes I get from the nail supply store. I’m still learning new techniques. Practice works best for me.
How do you set yourself apart from other nail designers?
Well right now I’m still finding my style that says, “Hey Chica Artista did those nails.” I can always tell which nail artist did what nails. I’m not sure if I’m there yet, maybe I am but I can’t tell because it’s my work. I like to think maybe it’s because I am always trying a new style. I’m a nail art chameleon. If you want urban I’ll give you urban. If you want soft and pretty I’ll give you that. If you want solids, you got it.
How did your appearance in NAILgasm come about?
I saw what Brass was doing with nail art and I was completely moved. Nail art is my life and I wanted to do anything to contribute. I am fairly new to this nail art game, so it took encouragement from my boyfriend, ”Like just email the lady, what do you have to lose?” Next thing you know I’m in LA talking my head off about nail art and what it means to me. I just had this feeling that this is something I have to be apart of. There are so many nail art vets and I’m just a new comer, so I was exrta stoked to be part of NAILgasm.
What does it take to be successful and motivated in the nail business?
For me it takes courage and confidence. Being unsure of myself and being scared to put myself out there were AND ARE at times, things I still deal with. You have to have the courage to take the next step. Don’t be scared of failing or of things not working out as planned. People won’t know who you are and what you have to offer unless you put your work and face out there. Definitely gotta be confident in what you are doing. I have something to offer the world, my art is valuable and I am worth the dreams I have in store for myself. For me it was that first step like “I’m gonna do this, I’ma post my work and I’m gonna let people know ‘hey I do nail art’,” I wasn’t sure if people would like my work, so it took a while to run with the idea. If your work is good, people will appreciate it. So just keep on going from there. Put your name up and don’t be scared to show what you can do.
Are there any nail artists you find admirable?
Pretty much everyone I follow on IG or Tumblr (laughs!) But I am in absolute awe with Spifster. She does things with abstract lines and colors that I could never think of. Just when you think you can’t do any more or get better, she comes up with another combo. That’s definitely my inspiration to keep my nail game up. Got me practicing my lines and color combos! Then of course there’s Disco Nail, Britney Tokyo, Lily Nguyen-ThisIsVenice, and Hey! Nice Nails. Seeing post from Hey! Nice Nails gives me hope and gets me excited to getting my own shop one day!
If you could design anyone’s nails who would it be?
I would have to say Rihanna. She always has her nails done. Whether it be a solid color or decked out with nail art, they are always long and fierce. She’s a celebrity with love for nail art. Plus she is always in the lime light so I definItely like that idea of my work being seen by millions.
What do you want your work to be remembered for this year and in the future?
I’m ready to take my nail art to new heights. I wanna go bigger and better. I wanna try harder designs, different styles, and paint things on nails I have never done before. I want my work to show that like “Dang, Chica Artista Nails is doing the damn thang!” I am always stepping my game up, and that the quality of my work is always progressing.
Additional: Contact to book appointments
Interview By: Isis Nicole
@Afghan_Spice nee, sina ruby Homayun, puts the P in precious. Commended for her self-titled streetwear (debuting spring/summer 2013)—- sinaruby hatches out of its honeydew eggshell mixing Middle Easten cultural traditions and 90’s street style with a digital twist. Learn a lil something about this super-cute-proverb-princess-and-designer (who’s so over basic b******) after the jump!
sina ruby Homayun
Hometown Bay Area
Website: Under Construction
Most Known For
My nose chains.
My goal to inspire a social movement.
Favorite place to go for peace of mind?
Fish Ranch in Berkeley, Twin Peaks in San Fran, anywhere with a view and clean air.
Least favorite trend(s)
Anything that basic bitches wear..
Johnny Depp… Ahhh!
Bitchiest shade served
I don’t serve shade, all I give is love.
Are there any cliches you ever live up to?
Not sure about that, I hate cliches. I always try to be the opposite of habit.
How did you get started with sinaruby and what does your streetwear represent?
I’ve always wanted my own brand, but never had the balls to start my own business. After going through a life changing tragedy it made me channel my pain into fuel to follow my dreams. My street wear is a mix of cultural traditions with 90’s street style. I want to educate people about different countries and what’s going on in the world through my clothing. My message is just as important as the looks. I hope to inspire a social movement and hopefully awaken our generation.
How do you achieve each look?
I use inspiration from the Middle East and mix it with street. I guess I’d wear every look whether it’s for guys or girls, so it’s pretty easy.
Are English translations made available?
Yes there will be a translation on the shirt for the person to know! But it won’t be visible.
What’s next for your line?
Every season I’m trying to focus on a different country and culture. Mainly countries that need a voice.
Do you have any collaborations?
There have been talks of some but nothing for sure yet!
What inspires you as a woman?
Being myself and most importantly, standing up for what I believe in. I think women should create their own rules and not try and live up to society’s expectations of them.
What do you want to be remembered for this year and in the future?
I want to be remembered for creating a new style in fashion. In the future I want to be remembered for starting a modern day Civil Rights Movement. I wanna be the Mother Teresa of my generation. I want to educate people and hopefully make a lasting impact on the world though my clothes.
Closing words of wisdom?
Faith is blind trust. Question everything around you and don’t be afraid to speak up for what you believe in. Same goes for the way you dress. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. It’s one of the most beautiful things you can do.
i also had the honor of interviewing jessica tong for the first issue of tipsy.
i had the honor of interviewing misha of tokyo fashion diaries for tipsy.
i also did a writeup on DISCO which landed her on the cover of tipsy zine.
Interview By Isis Nicole:
Sasha Kremenetsky is nail art’s defender. You might recognize her from her Tumblr The Holy Nail, a nail lover’s wet dream recently evolving into a creative writing project. According to Kremenetsky, new boo on the block, The Holy Nail Blog, is meant to serve as deeply confessional and experimental as possible. In other words, The Holy Nail has matured, putting on its big girl panties to link fragments of Kremenetsky as a writer, nail fanatic, and comic book nerd while also allowing nail enthusiasts a space to express and build their talents too. Find out more about Kremenetsky’s constant quest, nail art wishes, and loves for puns after the jump!
The suburbia hell otherwise known as Manhattan Beach, CA
Most Known For
As a kid I dressed up as the red power ranger for Halloween two years in a row. Also, working at a little comic book store/art gallery while in college.
As of right now it’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, listening to public radio, and Sharffen Berger Milk Chocolate Nibby bars.
Did you watch GIRLS on HBO?
I did. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I’m disappointed that the show didn’t include more Women of Color, but on the other hand I think Lena Dunham, as a writer, is very strong. I know she’s discussed the topic in various interviews since and has said she intends to remedy the situation. I look forward to seeing more of the show and how she plans to follow through on that.
3 things you must do (or have done) before bed?
Make sure my face is clean, put on a nice smelling plant based cuticle oil, and turn on a movie or show.
How many zines do you own?
I definitely have a pretty fair amount. Whenever I can, I try to hit up bookstores in L.A. like Ooga Booga and FAMILY. Those are my favorite spots. The most recent zine I purchased was one by Will Sweeney called Captain Mindseye. He had a really great solo show at Synchronicity Space where I got my zine signed by him and everything.
Favorite nail artist(s)?
Two words: DISCO NAIL. When I saw her Ghost World nails I nearly fell over. I’m a sucker for those kinds of esoteric references. I also have to give it up to my L.A. girls. I really dig Madeline Poole’s work. She’s got the steadiest hands I’ve seen thus far and her work requires it. I also really admire the fact that she consistently takes nail art to an unexpected place. I adore the fine young ladies behind Hey, Nice Nails! I had such a fun time getting my nails done by them! They really know their stuff and are so down to earth. Recently I’ve been checking out a lot of work by Nail Swag. I think she will be my next stop on the L.A. nail art tour. Also, Sophy Robson. My first post on Tumblr was about her work. Seeing her stuff made me want to get into the nail game to begin with.
What is your background?
On my dad’s side I’m Russian and (a tiny bit) Iranian. I just found out about the Iranian thing a few months ago from my grandparents. On my mom’s side I’m Ukrainian and Jewish. My brother and I were born and raised in Manhattan Beach.
How did you come up with The Holy Nail?
The title idea came from wanting to marry my English literature background with my extreme love for nail art. I don’t know what it is with nail art blogs and puns, but wordplay is a recurring theme with so many of them! I love a good pun so I kind of wanted to keep that tradition going. I began the site in college when I had to take a pretty gruesome prerequisite course on medieval literature. We read a lot of Arthurian legends. I initially started the site around that time for the purpose of introducing my friends to something I was genuinely interested in. I never thought it would turn into what it is today.
How do you think The Holy Nail became so popular?
To be honest, I think a lot of it was good timing. I’m definitely riding the nail art wave, so to speak. I also think part of it may be that one of my main focuses for the page was to make sure it was curated. I only post what knocks my socks off and I don’t apologize for it. Of course, I’m always open to submissions. I’m just really picky about what I choose to post. That ended up working toward my advantage, I think. I also think that nail art and feminism (yep, I dropped the f bomb) go hand in hand. Right now we live in a really politically charged time that doesn’t make it super easy to be a woman. I think nail art not only provides women with an opportunity to become a part of a community, but also is something that can be used as a tool for empowerment and expressing oneself. I think that’s a big part of why the nail art scene has exploded the way it has in the last few years. That isn’t to say men don’t have a place in the nail art world. I love a guy that can rock a manicure, but let’s be realistic, the nail art world is predominantly run by women, which is okay! Men have enough industries where they are the ones that run things.
Do you have any new nail adventures in the works, or major plans brewing for your blog?
Right now I’m working on some collaborations for the blog (The Holy Nail Blog ) that I’m super excited about. I’m going be publishing reviews about some of my favorite products and I’m currently taking submissions for art, poetry, and journalistic style pieces (feel free to contact me at email@example.com if interested). I want to see whatever my followers have to throw at me! I’m still debating on whether I want to include tutorials. I use them constantly, but I think they’ve sort of oversaturated the market. Although, I’m sure if someone presented one to me in a new and refreshing way I could be convinced.
What has been the biggest reward/challenge since creating The Holy Nail?
So far my biggest reward has actually been my biggest challenge. That is, to take The Holy Nail into a blog. My intent with The Holy Nail Blog is to foster a space where nail art enthusiasts of all backgrounds can come together and form a grass roots community. A lot of what it’s going to be is taking the concept of a “beauty blog” and turning it on it’s head. The personal is political, so why can’t a beauty blog also be about important issues? The project is more than just the blog or the tumblr at this point. This project has become about joining together fragments of myself (as a writer, artist, nail fanatic, comic book nerd, what have you) and creating a multidimensional project that represents me in a holistic way. All my past experiences are now informing what I want to do with this blog. I’ve never worked on a project like that before and it’s really exciting!
If you could let anyone do your nails, who would it be?
So hard to choose! In Los Angeles: Madeline Poole. I haven’t gotten a full set by her yet, but I know she works primarily on shoots and things like that. Elsewhere: Disco Nail and Sophy Robson, of course! I’ve had many a daydream about packing up and going to England or Japan to get my nails done.
What have you learned throughout your quest?
That nail art is a sisterhood and I’m so lucky to be a small part of it.
I got a chance to file down with Glossy Loca of The Boobs. Read what shehad to say about nail art in our first issue of @TipsyZine!
I interviewed guitarist Sharon Aguilar for @TipsyZine. She’s very sweet and rocking the stage with 2NE1. Park Bom introduced her to nail art and it’s been manicure matrimony ever since!
Interview By: Isis Nicole
Jessica Washick says you don’t really need a man. U NEED A MANICURE! And by the looks of her portfolio, she’s probably right. From PA to Brooklyn, the 28-year-old Parsons graduate currently designing at Coach Handbags, creates eclectic nail art, and hopes to someday polish Beyonce even if she does have one of the coolest men on the planet. Much like my big sister Madeline Poole (whom I have self-proclaimed as my sister in the first place), I was drawn to the mystery of Washick. She was another one of those #NAILART Tumblr girls who came and conquered with what felt like overnight. But having gotten closer to more and more artists of this industry, I am learning it isn’t so. These ladies are working their ass off, putting their best pieces forward, and earning respect from people who want their designs. So anyway, get to know how Washick made the most of of her heartbreak and why U DON’T NEED A MAN. U NEED A MANICURE after the jump!
Most Known For
Nail Art/ Public Service Announcement Nails
I’m an avid post-it doodler. I have a website called www.littleillys.tumblr.com where I doodle on post-its! Most people (in the Nail Art Community) don’t know that aside from being a licensed Nail Tech, I also graduated from Parsons with a BFA in Fashion, currently design at Coach Handbags, and used to design prints/patterns for Diane Von Furstenberg Home and Pantone Home.
I never feel guilty for anything that makes me happy in the moment.
How do you make the most out of NYC?
I keep myself really busy and find fun in everything.
Before I wrote out your questions I had been reading an interview on a perfumist and somehow, I was wildly attracted to his words. What were you up to miss thing before kindly taking some time out to answer questions for me?
I was drinking a bag of chips *smiles*
What inspired your saying, “You don’t need a man you need a manicure?”
In 2007 I went through a break up and I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, so I literally started putting my time on my hands. The first nail art I ever did was nude nails with feather edges. They’re on my website actually! [Click here to see.] Right away I fell in love with it. It made me feel so strong and during that time I developed a motto for myself: U don’t need a man. U need a manicure.
When did you recognize that you were a nail artist?
I really realized that I was onto something when I joined Tumblr and got an incredible, overwhelming response to my nail art from people all over the world. I’m still amazed sometimes at the notes that my entries get. It’s a huge accomplishment for me to create art that inspires and interests other people.
What is your background?
I’m half Italian half Polish.
I’ve often seen your nails pinned to the top of my Tumblr dashboard, so two questions: in what ways has social networking been a helpful tool?
Art of any kind is such an emotional, personal creation and I love that social networking has the ability to connect people just based off similar interests. I feel like I know (and love) a lot of nail artists or nail art bloggers that I’ve never met because I can recognize their style, I get their vibe or I can understand their vision based on what they post. I think a lot of my followers probably feel the same way about me— I love that.
How do you get your nail art blog to standout from so many others?
I like to do inspired, themed nails. I [will] usually research the inspiration until I’m ready to do my nails. Not all my nail art makes it to the blog. They have to be really special. I can literally go through my blog and tell you people, moments, breakups that inspired these nails. For example, Public Service Announcement, my most popular entry, was inspired by a serious heartbreak I was going through. I was really sad when I was doing those, so I had amazing nails to make myself feel better.
You started a gift guide this month that looks absolutely stylish and spry! What made you do that and do is this a collaboration between you and the brands?
I really don’t like doing what everyone else is doing so I didn’t want to create holiday nails for December. I decided to touch on the Holidays but not in an obvious way. I always had the thought that jewelry designers should use nail artists to showoff their work and so I just did it myself. I reached out to four of my favorite brands and they were all into it!
Not to put myself in this but…what are your thoughts on Tipsy Zine?
Tipsy Zine is an amazing concept and I think that it has the ability to turn into a true Magazine. I’m really impressed by all the women in the nail art community. I admire people who walk instead of just talk. It’s so inspirational to see women (like yourself) creating magazines, nail polishes, documentaries—you’re bringing everyone together and creating a positive community. That’s really powerful. It takes women who are confident with themselves to be able to appreciate talents of other women, so it says a lot about yourself plus every woman contributing to this nail art movement!
What would you want people to discover about themselves after experiencing a manicure with you?
That you can get excited about something small without other peoples permission.
What has been the biggest reward since you’ve started doing nails?
The amount of love, fan mail, and press I’ve received. It’s been really incredible. I’m also so grateful to have met so many amazingly talented and interesting women.
If you could do anyone’s nails in 2k13 who would it be?
Beyonce Giselle Knowles. Been her biggest fan since Destiny’s Child on MTV Spring Break singing “No No No.” Seen her in concert a million times, know all the dance moves, all the lyrics, met her, obsess over her. My love for her will never end.
What advice would you give to someone looking to be successful in your profession?
Your best advertisement is doing your best work over and over again. Save your money.
By: Isis Nicole
Meet Peter Cottontale. He produced Metal Petals by Lili K, which makes him responsible for this one track titled “Highlight the Moon” that makes me cry newly divorced tears and I’ve never even been married. I still have yet to meet him but we were introduced through Twitter, and he was nice enough to grace my blog with a little bit of his music history QA style. The Chicagoan who worked with artist’s like Chance The Rapper and Thelonious Martin, shares his music rituals, inspirations, and what he wants to be remembered for in the future after the jump!
My website is currently being revamped www.realcottontale.com but feel free to keep up with me on Twitter for updates and shows @realcottontale.
Most Known For
Production on Chance The Rapper’s 10 Day project, and wearing rabbit ears during performances.
What is your least favorite trend?
I never understood getting star tattoos. .
Can’t I have my cake and eat it too? Please?
A busy day? It usually starts with me fighting with my alarm clock once or twice, going to some sort of place of work, then a rehearsal (or two), a studio session, then ending with a couple of rounds of select video games at my god-brothers house. Vacation Life.
I learned of you after listening to Lili K’s “Metal Petals”, though I am sure you have been creating music much before then. When did you start?
In high school I was involved in a small studio program on the southside of Chicago which peaked my interest and gave me some knowledge. Besides that, I started to create music professionally around four years ago. Lili and I took sometime in 2010 to record a whole live album around 12 tracks long, and it stretched over multiple genres. “Hello Goodbye” was also our first product as who we were as artists at the time [and] it was never released, but we do play some of those songs live. My first released product was “Prelude to Hello”, Lili K’s Neo Soul/ Hip-Hop EP. By the way, Thanks for listening to new EP.
What is your background as an artist?
I’m actually a Jazz keyboardist. I did and still do weddings/gigs whenever the time calls. I played in a band for about a year that backed a couple of local artist’s including Dave Coresh, Gemstones and Lili K. I’ve traveled with Chance to a couple of places and have been able to rock with him. I’ve played in rock/soul group Mathien and have had the chance to play in a lot of cities I’ve never even thought of playing in.
How do you make your work standout?
A lot of the music that I do is either all original, or some concoction of something plus something to equal music. I also use a couple of choice instruments when recording and producing.
Are there any routines or rituals you practice before recording? Some people sing in the shower, others collect undergarments…
I usually have a pair of headphones in my ears, listening to a rough version of something, making sure I have my parts down….but I really want to know which one of your interviewees collected undergarments. Did he or she (hopefully he…) give them back when the record was done? Is this how the thong song was invented? All rhetorical questions.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your art?
More so what has the biggest influence. I love to imagine. It’s really exciting. It’s even more exciting turning your imagination into a tangible item.
How would you describe your style?
Ehhh, that’s for the listener to describe. I’m bad with labels, ask my ex.
Who is your clientele?
Mostly vocalist looking for production or producers looking for a session keyboardist or co-production. I’ve gotten a chance to work with Chance The Rapper, Stefan Ponce, Lili K., Thelonious Martin, Legit, Chris Mathien, Suliman Shabazz, Squair Blaq (Animate Objects) Natalie Oliveri, and Legendary Traxster.
Do you have any favorite upcoming acts?
Two that come to mind now. Kids These Days and local Milwaukee band Kane Place Record Club.
How do you make the most out of Chicago?
Wandering. I use to bike at dangerous times of night. I would stumble onto private properties as well as enter shady neighborhoods. One time I accidentally fell asleep at this spot on the Beach around Belmont. Woke up to the sunrise and I had a lunchable with me. Great day.
What do you want to be remembered for?
Inspiring positive creativity and imagination. And as a piano Playing Rabbit.
By: Isis Nicole
Mariana tried helping out my blog by suggesting one of her friends for me to interview. I had to kindly object because I was more interested in who she was. The 24-year-old Chicagoan is passionate about her art, plus checking out museums around the city. She dabbles in carpentry and gets her nailsdid. All I do is type, so I’m always fascinated by women who don’t mind putting their hands to work, but still manage to keep them looking good. Anyway, meet Mariana after the jump. Sorry fella’s, she’s taken.
Mariana Flores, but I go by Mari.
24, sometimes I feel too old. Other times I feel like a baby.
Chicago (South Side)
Most Known For
My paintings and passion for the Chicago Bulls.
My graphic prints and being 1/8 Chinese!!! (Laughs) it’s not much, but my dad and grandma try to do little things to remind the family of our culture.
I’m not quite sure how we discovered each other. Was it through nail art?!
Indeed it was! I’ve been going to AstroWifey since early this year and I found you through her and TipsyZine! Which I am beyond excited for!!
When did you recognize that you were an artist?
I’ve been painting since I was in 4th grade, but I didn’t recognize myself an artist until I was in art school…still don’t consider myself one. I feel like art is so deeply personal and sharing it with the world makes me so nervous!
What types of things do you create?
Anything and everything. I love to decorate my life. I’ve made giant dioramas to mini paintings, to metal sculptures, customized clothes, I even do custom cakes, but you have to be really special to get one of those! As far as my aesthetic goes, the type of things I create all depend on my mood. I love color so that always plays a big role. I love clean lines, and symmetry, but the most noticeable thing about the type of things I create is my culture. What I create is very much influenced by my Mexican-American heritage.
How did you get into carpentry?
My dad, he’s been a carpenter and construction worker my whole life. I was always a tomboy and always with him when he would fix things around the house. Now if he’s too tired I do the building for my mom.
Has social networking helped launch any of your work?
I’ve gotten requests for work from my bio on Twitter, but mostly friends on Facebook who look through my work hit me up for the most opportunities.
What would you want people to discover about themselves after experiencing your art?
This is some heavy shit. My earlier work was always for someone. I usually painted because I saw something that inspired or reminded me of someone, and I wanted them to have a piece of that moment in which I thought of them. I guess I wanted them to discover how beautiful they were to me. But now that I create art more for myself. I guess I want them to discover their love for something.
You seem pretty open on your Twitter! Is there anything you refuse to talk about online?
(Laughs!) I’m glad you ask! YES, I actually hold back A LOT!! I try not to tweet as my inner ratchet self. I keep my romantic relationships to a minimum on social media, I may refer to “him” or post a pic that has to do with “him”, but other than that I like to keep my private life private.
How do you make the most of Chicago?
The most common way I make most of Chicago is by getting out of my car and walking the city. I love the museums, I have to go to them constantly. I love seeing the city from the Lake. And when you walk you discover new places to eat!! Walking and eating, that’s how I make the most of Chicago.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for loving. Loving what I do and the people in my life as much as I am capable of loving.
By: Isis Nicole for Jungle Gym Magazine
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.
Interview by Isis Nicole
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.
Young, brown, and gifted Queens native, A.V. Rockwell, is the type of person to let her work speak for itself. The director and screenwriter whose patrons include Rita Ora and Pusha-T, captures and preserves the crux of New York City through her visual mixtape Open City. The coarse vignette “Heist”, scored by Travi$ Scott, was followed up with “Trey”, an enticing black-and-white interlude scored by Dominic Lord’s “Old English” on the Staten Island Ferry. Read more about A.V. Rockwell’s inspiration for Open Cityand its importance to the arts after the jump.
Interview by Isis Nicole
JGM: What is Open City?
A.V: Open City is New York City through my eyes. It’s a collection of guerilla-style short films, both fiction and documentary, told through a mixtape format.
JGM: When was it created?
A.V: It first started bubbling in my head in December 2011. I was on the road constantly last year working as a videographer, which left no time for my film work. I was dying to start a new original project and somehow the idea of mixtapes, as a way recording artists showcase their talents, came to mind. I just wondered, what if I used that same concept to showcase my skills as a director. I told a close friend who shrugged me off and I was pissed! Doubt like that just motivated me to see it through, so as soon as I came back to NY in late April I got to work.
JGM: What is the cultural tone of Open City? Is there a common theme?
A.V: The number one relationship between all the stories is their connection to NYC. New York’s five boroughs have eight million inhabitants, which equal eight million stories. We may not all interact, but we’re all related through our shared experience of the city. Open City reflects that.
JGM: When did you discover your passion for music and film?
A.V: I’ve loved both art forms since childhood. Through my work, I’ve had the opportunity to blend the two interests, but cinema is definitely where my focus belongs.
JGM: Are the scores original or pulled from mixtapes you consider appropriate?
A.V: None of the music is original. They’re not all from mixtapes or even Hip-Hop, for that matter. I’m really just picking music according to what fits each story the best, as well as the project’s overall tone. The stories are most important. The music serves the films, not the reverse.
JGM: Is Open City strictly an internet experience or can people expect mixtapes/DVD’s
available for distribution?
A.V: The mixtape is designed to be a web-based experience, but it’d be really dope to see it in hard copy form. That would only happen if we secured the financing, but I can see the design for it already. It’s definitely crossed my mind before.
JGM: I’m really hooked on Amy Collado’s outtake from the short film “Heist.” How did you find your cast?
A.V: Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed! Majority of the casting has been through word of mouth and my personal network. I wasn’t eager to work with professional actors on this project. There is something very raw and exciting about working with real New Yorkers.
JGM: How essential is Open City for the arts?
A.V: I just wanted to be experimental and have fun. Without taking itself too seriously, it’s essential because it’s a fresh idea in an industry that is more drawn to recycling. Anything that dares to be original is essential to the arts because it’s what keeps creativity thriving.
JGM: What do you want people to take away from Open City?
A.V: At minimum, I want those who watch it to be entertained. That’s my job as a filmmaker. If you’re inspired or if you gain some new insight as well, that’s even better. Whatever the ‘take away’ is, I hope you’ll continue watching.