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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Nail Art Is Dead - Barbara Kruger Inspired Nail Art

Barbara Kruger inspired nail art by @chalkboardnails

This year, for "inspired by artwork" day of the 31 Day Challenge, I tackled an idea that I've contemplated in the past. My nails are inspired by the work of Barbara Kruger, a conceptual artist who often addresses how words and images, particularly in the media, can affect our identities and assumptions about truth.

Her signature style features black and white photographs overlaid with declarative text, often accentuated inside red rectangles. Notable Kruger pieces include "I shop therefore I am," "Your body is a battleground," and "No." I got a little cheeky with my interpretation and chose "Nail art is dead," a sensationalist idea that I occasionally see pop up on my feeds. Clearly I disagree!

Barbara Kruger inspired nail art by @chalkboardnails

Nail polishes used:
Polish My Life Storm Clouds
Polish My Life Saint
American Apparel 7th and Alameda
American Apparel Hassid
INM White Porcelain
OPI Coca Cola Red

I'll tell you what, this was horrifyingly time consuming. The letters are freaking tiny and I needed them to look a certain way to match the font that Kruger uses. The base was easy -- I used a square nail art brush to paint on some brushy marks in the style of the Nailasaurus streaky watercolor nail art.

Then I freehanded the red rectangles and text, which took me a good hour and a half to two hours. I was constantly refining the shape of the letters and had to re-do one of the nails once. Still, I think it is a huge success! Except now I'm blind from the tininess of the letters.

Barbara Kruger inspired nail art by @chalkboardnails

Previous nail art inspired by artwork:


  1. This is so put so much thought into your manicures!!!

  2. This is amazing. Your ideas are always so creative - we are in awe! This is a new fave. Emma & Jo.xx

  3. Totally worth all the work and blindness, these are awesome!

  4. Wow! I like this mani! It's wonderful!

  5. These are awesome!

  6. I see this being said from time to time and I always think well, I'm still doing nail art... thousands of other bloggers are still doing nail art... people are still looking at our blogs (maybe not that many people in my case, but a lot of people over all) so clearly it is not dead!
    PS I love this nail art!

  7. You should recreate these on fakes and sell them to a museum, because clearly nail art is REAL ART! I adore this so so much.

  8. what is on the thumb nail?

  9. Just more of the brushy grey base.

  10. So awesome! Also, thanks for bringing a new-to-me artist to my attention! I dig her work. :)


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