Nails Across America: Get Your Nails Done By a Bona Fide Artist During Art Basel

When it comes to connecting with others, one piece of advice not written in Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People is to give manicures. But Wassaic, NY-based artist Breanne Trammell shows how manicures can, in fact, turn strangers into new friends with her traveling project, Nails Across America.

Nails Across America is an extension of Trammell's experimental project, Nails in the Key of Life. The project was created as a way to bring people together through nail art. The goal is to allow for the creation of conversation, the exchanging of ideas, and the sharing oral histories.

Trammell, a licensed nail technician, uses her expertise to give participants manicures they won't soon forget. "The whole project began when I decided to attend a nail trade school to become a NY State licensed nail technician," she wrote in an email interview. "I wanted to learn about sanitation, disinfection, and professional techniques in order to execute this project in the most legit way possible." The art project has allowed Trammell to travel with her 1968 Shasta Compact trailer-turned-mobile nail salon all across the country, and through Dec. 5-8, Trammell will be giving manicures to Miami's citizens at Pulse Art Fair.

If you're familiar with Trammell's other pop culture-infused work--which includes references to '80s and '90s television, Bill Cosby and The Baby-Sitters Club -- you might think doing nails is a departure from her usual installations. But actually, Nails Across America is right in line with her colorful, nostalgic aesthetic. In fact, the nail designs she's created for Nails Across America are directly tied to pieces she's created.

"I have a curated menu of colors and patterns that reference art history, sculptures, videos and other projects I've made in the past," she wrote, "[s]uch as Yves Klein Blue Jeans, the Candy Cigarettes, and also pop culture and junk food that I love like Friday Night Lights and Cheetos, which appear often in my work."

Through Nails Across America, Trammell has given manicures to a wide cross-section of American society, including some participants you wouldn't expect. "I've met so many people through this project! I gave a manicure to a cowboy in Marfa ([named] Barry), a locomotive engineer in Hartford ([named] Audrey), and an EMT in Providence ([named] Tony) to name a few," she wrote.

Want to get an idea of what kind of design to ask Trammell for? Perhaps you want to try some of her favorites. "It's hard to pick just one [design]!" she wrote. "A full set of the Yayoi Kusama-inspired dots are really fun. [Or] Flamin' Hot Cheeto, Cool Ranch Dorito (or Gerhard Richter), the #2 Pencil, IKB (International Klein Blue) [or] Jumbo Donut Sprinkles."

Trammell hopes Nails Across America will be well-received when she and her mobile nail salon arrive in Miami. To make her hopes become reality, visit her at the Pulse Art Fair at Ice Palace Studios (1400 North Miami Ave., Miami). Trammell will be taking walk-in appointments Dec. 5 between 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Dec. 6 and 7 between 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Dec. 8 between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets for the fair cost $20 (single day admission) or $25 (multi-pass). Visit pulse-art.com, as well as breannetrammell.com and nailsacrossameri.ca.

--Monique Jones

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