Nailgasm: A Chat with Christina Rinaldi of Prima Creative

“What's happening right now is not a phase.”

On the topic of Superbowls and trend forecasts, it seems all eyes are on, well, our nails — now more than ever before. Readers of this column are familiar with the sad state of my twenty digits but thankfully, this column will not be addressing such enameled affairs. Rather, let’s focus our Monday afternoon attention on a lady on another level re: nails and the way we adorn them.

I met her via a new eZine project we’re both working on (me = editor; she = designer) and while I love her for a few reasons — she’s from Chicago, she loves Stratchona stockings, etc  — it’s the way she rocks her nails every day that took my swooning to new levels. Most of us think “accessories” and reach for the jewelry, handbags or shoes; Ms. Christina Rinaldi of Prima Creative brainstorms ways rhinestones, graphics and textures can make their way to her pretty little fingers.

Christina Rinaldi of Prima Creative

Being that I sit right next to her, not only do I get a front row seat to Christina’s digital show, but she also tipped me off to a new documentary that aims to give the nail art community the design recognition it so clearly deserves. Nailgasm will be screened in NYC February 8 and Christina gives us an inside look at the film and her own nail art POV.

Julie Bensman: Why did you want to do a NYC screening?

Christina Rinaldi: I love getting people together, especially at The Studio, which is where I take nail appointments and hold creative workshops. There's an incredibly supportive online nail community that exists through tumblr, Twitter and Instagram, and I wanted to finally put everyone together in one room. I see it happening every day in the fashion and tech worlds, and I want to apply that same camaraderie to the nail scene. Plus, everyone is in town to work NYFW, so the timing is kind of perfect. 

The nail art community is truly a global community, which is why social media is the best vessel for it to live in. Getting everyone together in one room isn't going to happen often, but I'm proud that we're making an effort to do so this Friday. 

JB: Explain the concept of nails as art and what it means to you personally.

CR: I'm sure everyone in the industry has his/her own definition of nail art. For me, it's a visual representation of your personality that should complement the style you express through your clothes, shoes, makeup, hair — even your vocabulary and tattoos. 

Nail art has been through different phases in the past, where its popularity peaked in the mainstream and then faded out to certain neighborhoods. That being said, what's happening right now is not a phase. Nail art is in the middle of its "coming out" moment, similar to when we started seeing tattoo art gain social acceptance on a broader scale. 

For nail art, this movement is being aided by nail polish companies providing a limitless library of colors and polish types. The industry is evolving the technology to create unconventional textures for nails. There's obviously more artists in the game now, too, each making their own dent in the industry with specific styles and techniques. 

JB: Which artists (in any field) are you inspired by right now?

CR: Jose Parla, Jeurgen Teller, Margiela, Kenzo, Suno, Major Lazer ("Get Free" featuring Amber from Dirty Projectors is my anthem right now), Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar… 

JB: What's the best piece of style advice you've ever received?

CR: It was from my Aunt Ann, who is an incredibly strong, classy, stylish Italian woman. I was about 10 or 12 years old. We were about to head to the grocery store and she said, "Wait, honey, I have to go get ready," and I said, "Why? It's just the grocery store. No one at the grocery store cares what you look like." In a soft voice, but with the most confidence I'd ever heard, she replied, “Honey, I don't get dressed for them. I do this entirely for me."  That moment changed my entire perception of style and self-expression. 


For NYC readers, meet Christina (and her designs) at Nailgasm’s NYC screening Friday, February 8, 8 p.m. at The Studio (712 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY). $10 advance tickets; $15 at the door.