Dzine, Nailed: The History of Nail Culture and Dzine
Standard Press, the publishing imprint of The Standard Hotels, presents its second book release, Nailed, by Chicago-based artist Dzine. Following their first release, What Me Worry, a collection of work by New York artist Andrew Kuo, Standard Press highlights another beautifully observant artist known for his embrace of customization and subcultures.
Nailed recounts the history of nail adornment and documents contemporary nail art around the world, including the artist’s own creations. The 192-page hardcover book, features an introduction by Kim Hastreiter, co-founder and editor of Paper Magazine, and includes contributions from Luis Gispert, Yonehara Yasuma, Jamel Shabazz, Mickalene Thomas and Fab Five Freddy. Commissioned photographers from around the world captured nail artists, clientele, and salon owners in their respective cities, culminating with images by Kai Regan of Dzine’s wearable sculptural nails.
Dzine’s work explores the subculture of customization and its relationship to art, music, fashion and popular culture, which the artist references as “Kustom Kulture.” Known for his colorful, jewel-encrusted paintings and for his artfully tricked out vehicles, Dzine’s work mines the sensibilities and trends of the street and translates them into a highly personal, meticulously crafted art form. In Nailed, the artist delves into the more intimate realm of body decoration, celebrating the once underground, and now burgeoning nail art movement. First known to be used in Ming Dynasty China to designate social status, and later in ancient Egypt, Babylon and Rome as battle adornment, nail art functions today as much as a vehicle for personal and cultural expression, as a mainstream fashion accessory.
The child of first generation Puerto Rican immigrants, Dzine fondly recalls the bootleg salon his mother set up in his childhood home and the sense of community it created. It is this environment––the nexus of Nail Art Culture––that inspired Dzine to tell a story that was honest, while staying true to his studio practice. Dzine states, “The people involved in this community have no formal art training, yet their passion to make beautiful, over-the-top ornamental objects is what truly struck me, hence the body of work. It has reminded me why I’m an artist and why I choose to create.”
The body of work informed by Dzine’s research was first exhibited at Salon 94 Freemans, titled Imperial Nail Salon, which in addition to sculptures and paintings, featured a salon chair with a part-time manicurist in the gallery and the New Museum’s lobby window. For the release of Nailed, The Standard Spa, Miami will host Dzine’s Imperial Nails, a nail salon and site-specific installation that will include references to the artist’s childhood home and surroundings, containing personal artifacts and a specially commissioned video installation.
Previous Standard Press publications have included, What Me Worry, Andrew Kuo and Wrinkles of the City, Havana Cuba, JR & Jose Parla. Check out our latest publication Kenny Scharf, Kolors.