Action in the Manicure; An Interview with upcoming Ringling Underground Artists

For the past seven years Ringling Underground has been bringing a mix of exhibition and live music to Sarasota. This Thursday, March 2nd, Ringling returns with its second Underground of this year, featuring an exhibit in the Ringling Courtyard titled: Action in the Manicure: Works by Nail Pop LLC & Porn Nail$. This exhibit features two regional artists, Rosemarie Romero and Erin Hart.

Romero is the founder of Porn Nail$ Salon, a mobile interactive installation and performance piece that doubles as a queer-feminist nail salon. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Miami, Romero’s art incorporates kitschy Latinx Caribbean themes that interlace with a desire to celebrate diversity, sexuality, and the human connection.

Hart is the founder of Nail Pop, a radical nail art company that focuses on community collaboration and working with local artists to make everything from nail decals, to stylish dust masks for the nail artists themselves. They’ve worked with many independent and local brands, their most recent collaboration being with Care Bears, celebrating the brand’s 35th anniversary.

Nail art has exploded in popularity in recent years. While single-color paint jobs and the ever-classic French Tip manicure never really went out of style; bold, bright, and blingy nails of the 80’s and 90’s, primarily birthed out of communities of color seemed to be on their way out in the 2000’s in favor of a more natural style. However, celebrities, and the rise of social media in the past five years have changed all that. Platforms like Instagram, Tumblr, and Youtube have allowed artists to share their work, while sites like Etsy and Kickstarter create spaces for new artists to sell their products and raise money for projects. Suddenly nail art that might have once been considered crazy, or even tacky, is everywhere and for everyone.

Leading up to Action in the Manicure, we sat down with both artists to hear more about the exhibit, their background in nail art, and what this art form- once relegated to the shadows and mystery of the salon- mean to them.

What first got you interested in nail art?

Rose: When I was doing my MFA in Creative Photography at UF (University of Florida) I was doing a lot of collages and paintings that focused on the female nude and femininity. So that sort of technical overlapping and focus on femininity led me to start doing simple nail art designs, very basic stuff. But I found that there was something really intimate and connective about doing nails and the space that is created in a salon between the artist and clients and I decided I really wanted to pursue it.

Erin: I’ve drawn and painted ever since I was little, so I’ve always drawn on everything, including my nails. I’d do them for different holidays and sometimes my mom would pay me to paint hers, too. In 2006, I went to school and got licensed to do nails as a full specialist. I didn’t start really developing my nail art until after I had heart surgery in 2010. I needed an outlet and I needed my friends while I recovered, so I’d invite them over and paint their nails.

Both of you started out with mobile salons, and Rose the mobility of your salon is central to your project. What appeals to you about the idea of a mobile salon?

E: I’m still primarily mobile, but I spend more and more time in my studio experimenting and doing editorial work. I started out working in stick and mortar salons/spas, but I really like having control over my schedule and clients by having a mobile salon.

R: Porn Nail$ is inherently an interventionist project. Part of the idea of it is to invade space and bring the experience and intimacy of being in a salon to people who might not ever walk into one. But it’s definitely a guilty pleasure of mine to think about having a stick and mortar salon. If it ever were to be, I’d love it to be a multi-purpose community space for performance, shows, stuff like that.

Speaking of intimacy Rose, you speak about Porn Nail$ and salons in general being a space where juicy gossip and intimacy emerge over the encounter. Erin, you talk a lot about building community in your work. How do you feel nail art can build intimacy and bring people together?

R: I feel like salons, and in the same way barbershops are a space where people come to share their personal stories and engage in cultural exchange. There is an intimate connection that happens in salons when you are working on someone and they are sharing with you about their lives. And I feel like salons in particular are places where historically women have and still do feel free to engage in conversations that are more raunchy, more free, more sexually explicit and to just, make jokes and have a good time. That’s part of what I’m trying to do with Porn Nail$, to make people feel more comfortable with their sexuality and sex in general.

E: Rose is definitely right about nail salons being a place for guests and artists to experience a closeness that I’ve never experienced doing other services. You’re face to face the entire time, holding their hands and taking care of them. Receiving a nail service can be a very disarming experience, so it’s important to be a good listener. Most of my clients are other artists that I collaborate with in the community here in Tampa. Anytime I find a local artist I like, I’ll offer them work designing decals. I think giving people work and a platform to express themselves is a great way to build community.

How do you see nail art empowering others? What empowers you as the artist about nail art?

R: With Porn Nail$ I feel like so many people have been able to experience this intimate salon setting. Porn Nail$ has been a way to bring people together and show them this [nail art] is for everyone. I’ve had boys come with their fathers to get their nails done, men who have never had their hands touched like this or nails done who were willing to come in and explore something and felt safe to express that with me. Because of the mobility and pop-up nature of the salon, it turns something that is hidden away into something with no walls and no barriers; it demystifies the salon experience. People come and feel like they can play with gender, play with the signifiers, and express themselves in a way they might not feel comfortable elsewhere.

E: For me, nail art allows me to be self employed, I get to choose my hours and my clients, there aren’t many jobs where you get to maintain that kind of control while still being creative and making money. I’m very lucky to be doing this for a living.

Both of you describe your projects as feminist. How do you see nail art as a feminist expression?

E: It’s probably one of the most diverse industries and we’re all here to make a living with our art. Giving that sort of autonomy and agency to people is feminist to me.

R: Outside from what I’ve said before about the salon being a place where people feel free to open up and express themselves, there’s this expression in Miami called Chusmeira, which basically means like radical shamelessness. And it’s this word that’s used when women sort of break traditional gender roles and norms of how they should behave and present themselves. It’s used a lot in the Latinx Caribbean community when, for example, a woman dresses too flamboyantly or acts a certain way. So it’s something that is put onto women from outside them and something stigmatized and with nail art and the space that’s created for women in a salon to express themselves however they’d like…it’s not quite an inversion of the word, but pushing these boundaries is something I keep in mind.

What’s your favorite kind of nail art to do?

R: I am all about glitter and rhinestones. I love sparkle, give it to me! I also like doing more eccentric stuff, nail piercings, things like that. And I really love using this Latinx concept in my work called “Mal de Ojo” and basically it’s like when someone looks at you with jealousy or like maliciousness and so to ward off this evil people wear eye designs called “nazars” and I love using these eye designs in my work.

E: Anything extremely intricate or ornate, the kind of nails few people have the patience to sit for!

Can you describe a little bit of what we can expect from the exhibit at Ringling Underground?

E: This year I’m collaborating with Care Bears, so you’ll see them included throughout the pieces. Each set of nails displayed is it’s own tiny universe to explore. Rose and I will be offering nail art manicures to the guests on a first come first serve basis. It’s going to be really cool.

R: As Erin said, we’ll both be doing nails in the courtyard, first come, first serve. We’ll also both be doing custom nail sets that will be on display and mine will definitely be playing off of the architecture of the building itself. I’ll also be bringing my Porn Nail$ aesthetic with me, rose garlands and Rococo objects decorating the courtyard.

Thanks so much for talking to us! We can’t wait to see the show!

E: Thank you so much!

R: Thanks!

Ringling Underground will be held this Thursday, March 2nd at 8:30PM. For more information visit their website: https://www.ringling.org/events/ringling-underground.

Interview conducted and written by Ashley Phelps

Matthew Holler – Recent Photographs

February 3 – March 27, 2017
Opening Reception, Tuesday, February 7 (4:30 – 6:30PM)
Patricia Thompson Gallery, Sarasota

Matthew Holler’s fascination with photography and the fashion industry led him to earn his BFA from the Ringling College Department of Photography & Imaging and pursue a career as a fashion and portrait photographer in Sarasota and New York after graduation. Heavily influenced by early to mid-twentieth century photography, Holler draws inspiration from Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe and Helmut Newton. The selection of works in the exhibition by this dynamic fashion and portrait photographer represents a wide range of his photographic approaches from 2011-2016.

Matthew Holler
Matthew Holler

Read an interview conducted by exhibition curator Mark Ormond from November 2016
http://www.ringling.edu/sites/default/files/Questions%20for%20Matthew%20Holler.pdf


The Patricia Thompson Gallery hosts rotating exhibitions of work by Ringling College alumni.
Location: The historic Keating Center building on the Ringling College campus. One half block east of Highway 41 on Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Way in Sarasota.

Gallery Hours:
Monday thru Friday 8:30 – 4:30 pm

For further information:
www.ringling.edu/galleries
galleries@ringling.edu
941.359.7563

Tempus Projects: Artificial Paradise

Tempus Projects presents ‘Artificial Paradise’, new work by Jenal Dolson in Project Space.

February 11 – March 10, 2017
Opening Reception, Saturday February 11 (7-9PM)
Tempus Projects, Tampa, FL

Jenal Dolson is the third artist in residence to spend one month in the Tempus Projects residency program, and to have an exhibition housed in the Project Space for one month following her residency. Dolson’s paintings are loosely based on a framework of landscape with notions of place, time, memory – a metonymy based in abstraction. Referencing themes of memory and sentiment of object/place, she abstracts perspective in a way that puts aerial views together with horizon lines and still make reference to the foreground, middle, and background as well as interlacing the systems of classifying maps in a choroplethic /geologic way.

Jenal Dolson
Jenal Dolson

Jenal Dolson graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honors B.A specializing in Painting. She has been living and working in Toronto for the past 7 years. She is a recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Emerging Artist Award, Toronto Arts Council Visual Artist Project Grant, and the Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grant. She has exhibited in Canada and the U.S.A.

The event is sponsored in part by The Gobioff Foundation, The Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Stanton Storer Embrace the Arts Foundation, Knox Family Foundation, and Mermaid Tavern. Please join us for an afterparty at the Mermaid Tavern directly following the reception at 9 pm.

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/947115965424576/


Tempus Projects
4636 N Florida Ave. Tampa, FL 33603
www.tempus-projects.com
tempusprojects.art@gmail.com
813.340.9056

Ringling Underground: Dimension of Style

Ringling Underground exhibiting five regional artists Danielle Dygert, Nathan Freda, Lauren Moradi, Yanuary Narravo, and Manny Rangel.

Thursday, February 2, 2017 (8PM – 11PM)
Ringling Museum, Sarasota

Ringling Underground is a series of one night only events combining live music and experiential artworks in the Courtyard. The event is free for college students with a valid college ID. It is an extension of the Art After 5 program held on Thursday evenings. After hours discounted admission is $15 for adults; $5 for children 6-17, children 5 and under and Museum Members are free.

Meet the Arists

Danielle Dygert
Breadth by Danielle Dygert
Danielle Dygert (b.1993) is a landscape and portrait artist based in Sarasota FL. She received her B.A. from New College of Florida Art department in 2016, with a focus in Classics. Danielle’s paintings are known for their use of mythology and portraiture as a means to challenge identity and persona construction. Mythologies operate in an individual’s mind and societies alike, they depict self-image and cross-cultural views and create potent tensions of changing societies and history. Currently she works as the Administrative Assistant at the Art Center Sarasota and as an instructor at a private studio in Lakewood Ranch. Danielle has exhibited and performed regionally (at venues such as Two Columns Gallery, Tricho, Tampa Museum of Art, and Art Center Sarasota). She is currently working with the Institute for Psychogeographic Adventure on a multidisciplinary performance for the Ringling Museum’s Experiment #42.000 to take place in March 2017.


Nathan Freda
Gavis by Nathan Freda
Nathan Freda, from Tampa, is a 2012 Ringling College of Art and Design alumni who focused in printmaking and sculpture. Previously working in printmaking studios in Sarasota and New York, Nathan now works as a framer in the Tampa Bay area. He has also started selling his soft sculptures and ‘fiber paintings’ on multiple websites. Nathan’s work portrays imagery upon his personal communication skills. The three-dimensional works he create represent a surrogate for himself expressing thoughts and emotions he finds difficult to say aloud. He uses fabric and yarn to convey a ‘welcoming’ feeling. Each object holds a link to a memory of someone or something that he once had a connection to that he cared about at a particular moments of his life.


Lauren Moradi
Kush n Diamon Dust by Lauren Moradi
Lauren Moradi‘s sculptural pieces work to dissect the ideas of the domestic while subtly critiquing the comfort of a living space. By injecting irreverent and often nihilistic humor into the familiar belongings and detritus that she draws her work both welcomes and ostracizes the viewer, aiming to make them feel as if they are simultaneously invited into yet uncomfortably trespassing upon someone else’s private space. Working out of Tampa, FL Moradi received her BFA from University of South Florida in 2012. She has shown at Tempus Projects as well as being a founding member of their project gallery space QUAID.


Yanuary Navarro
Road to Rio Grande Vango by Yanuary Navarro
Yanuary Narravo was born in a tiny village cradled by mountains in Honduras. She studied illustration at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida and currently works as a layout designer in the Tampa Bay area.
Her personal paintings and illustrations are part of a series of ongoing visual short stories titled ‘The World of Wolli.’ The pieces are depicted in no chronological order. She has been building the story one painting at a time over the years. Subjects referenced in the works include a love for botany, earth & space science, Sci-Fi, fairy tales, childhood, and Latin American culture.
Over the years the narratives have expanded to include a network of people around her, with their life stories, and how they inspire her. She exaggerates people into these characters in the form of storytelling. Truths are costumed in metaphors which creates inviting images to entertain the viewer. With each piece she reminded that individually we are just a tiny dot in the context of our universe. At the same time that all tiny dots have a purpose. As Dr. Seuss said it best, “ No matter how small.”


Manney Rangel
Contingence by Manney Rangel
Manny Rangel is self taught artist based out of Sarasota, FL. He is described as an Escher like draftsman that stumbled into the worlds of Miro, Tanguy, and Ernst. Symbolism makes it’s presence throughout his work, not only through the objects that are painted but by the techniques and styles he uses. He shows patience, structure, and intricacy in the form of stippling and a childlike simplicity with his use of gouache paints. His interest in the human mind and exploration into his own create a surreal look into man’s constant struggle with structure and simplicity; reality and dreams.


The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243
ringling.org

In Process

In Process is an exhibition of new works from artists Dustin Juengel, Noelle McCleaf, Nathan Skiles, Sarah Viviana Valdez, and Tom Winchester.

Friday, January 27, 2017 (6PM -8PM)
3080 N Washington Blvd, #40, Sarasota

Media on view include photo-realistic and abstract painting, color and black-and-white photography, and video installation. Each artwork represents the artist’s individual style, as well as the commonality of an investigative approach.

Facebook Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1391918094182614/

Meet the Artists

Dustin Juengel
Dustin Juengel earned a BFA in Illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design and a MA in Fine Arts from Chelsea College of Art and Design. He is a visiting Faculty member in the FA department at Ringling College and serves as exhibition curator for Art Center Sarasota. His work has been exhibited in the U.S., UK and Germany.

Dustin Juengel
Dustin Juengel

Noelle McCleaf
For In Process, I will be exhibiting new photographs from the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Cassadaga, Florida. I’ve been fascinated by spiritualism and the metaphysical world for most of my life, and I’ve touched on these themes in previous bodies of work. I plan to return to this vibrant community and explore the landscape and its residents as I build upon this new series.

“Spiritualism is the science, philosophy, and religion based upon the principle of continuous life, demonstrated through mediumship”, (Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, Rev. Mary Rose Gray).

Modern spiritualism began in the 1840s, and still continues today at the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Cassadaga, Florida. Spirit Doors were used during séances so spirits could enter and exit homes easily. Many of them still remain on homes in Cassadaga, but have been closed due to obvious dangers. Spiritualists do not believe in the concept of ghosts, but spirits, who are allowed to come and go, and are not “stuck” as ghosts are often described.

Noelle McCleaf
Noelle McCleaf

Nathan Skiles
Nathan Skiles lives and works in Sarasota, FL and is an instructor at the Ringling College of and Design. Recent exhibitions include: The Clockmaker’s Apprentice, The Hunterdon Art, Clinton, NJ; Black Forest / White Lightning, Sloan Fine Art, New York, NY; Welcome to Tartarus, Welcome to Valhalla, Greene Contemporary, New York, NY

Nathan Skiles
Nathan Skiles

Sarah Viviana Valdez
Valdez’s work is an investigation on play within order, which has been a common occurrence all throughout her undergraduate work up to present. She currently works in a variety of platforms. The medium of curation allows her to assemble exhibitions as a way to often challenge the institution and its predecessors. She uses live performances combining sound and visuals to explore the malleability of environments, both spatially and on the level of human interaction (the audience-performer relationship). Her primary focus as of late has been the use of digital processes in conjunction with microbial substance, under the loose guise of fashion.

Valdez has been working with unconventional materials that biodegrade in order to merge biology with technology. The proliferation of new technological products assimilated into our daily lives has softened our natural senses and is in the process of divorcing humanity from its very ‘human’-ness. Her use of biological and technological materials proposes a needed identity for herself and to our developing counter-culture — to establish a true connection to the natural decaying world by having a symbiotic exchange with the objects we wear as our second skin. Valdez believes that working with multiple tools and platforms creates pathways within each medium and transforms them into useful objectives to aggregate desire, leisure and productivity for the viewer and herself.

Sarah Viviana Valdez
Sarah Viviana Valdez

Tom Winchester
The Black-and-White series is a collection of traditional, black-and-white photographs, created using thirty-five-millimeter film, that are printed in ways which guide viewers’ interpretations toward theories of postmodernism.

This is accomplished by including nuanced cues that expose the physical elements of the medium, in an attempt to create unique objects that allegorically counteract the infinite reproducibility of digital photographs.

By photographing places and objects that illustrate themes of banality, simulation, and fragmentation, then subsequently printing those images in a traditional process that can degrade, stain, or be subject to arbitrary variations outside of my control, the Black-and-White series utilizes photography’s affinity for depiction in order to convey a sense of lost reality.

Tom Winchester
Tom Winchester

3080 N Washington Blvd, #40, Sarasota, FL