Claire Beaudreault a.k.a. Clara Bizna$$, is a rapper (from the group Hand Job Academy), writer, nail artist and multi-hyphenate living on the Brooklyn/Queens border. New Orleans-born, Los Angeles-, Manila- and West Virginia-bred, she moved to NYC a decade ago with two suitcases and $1,000. Bylines include BarkPost, Bust, Salon, Brokelyn and xoJane. She has got a Chihuahua, a Captain Beefheart tattoo and once played a hooker on SVU. Her religion is karaoke. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. (photo credit: Hayleigh Hatcher)
The Coathangers’ Nosebleed Weekend is the album you put on when you’re going to the beach with your rocker friends who don’t usually go to the beach and everyone’s wearing black swimsuits and huge sunglasses and maybe someone takes their top off because, whatever, you know? It’s the record that’s playing in the vintage clothing store on a Wednesday afternoon that causes you to ask the polyester-clad employee, “What is this?” This is a record I’d listen to while running or exercising…if I did that. The vibe of the album is “I don’t know” and “fuck it” but: “After ten years in the game, I’m a grownup and I don’t take anyone’s shit.” The Coathangers sound like a band that needs an extra “e” in their “The.” Hailing from my spiritual homeland of caffeinated garage punk, the Atlanta trio has been doing its thing for a decade. The band’s latest release showcases a tight, evolved, but still-raucous sound. It’s quick and dirty, but grownup as much as a punk record can be without losing its power or charm. Consequently, I’m going to show you how to do some nail art that’s like this album: a little sweet, a lot tough, but definitely polished. (That’s a pun, lolz.) Depending on your nail-painting prowess, it should take one or two listens to this thirty-eight-minute record. By the end of it, you’ll have some sick nails that will catch the eye while you’re clapping along to the driving rhythms of the Coathangers. Now let’s put on Nosebleed Weekend and paint some nails!
You will need:
- Nail polish remover
- Nail file
- Orangewood stick, pointy cotton swab or brush to clean up
- Dotting tool (a stretched-open bobby pin or ballpoint pen will work)
- Nail art striper brush
- Polish colors: black, yellow, white, blue, teal, a metallic of your choice
To begin, shape nails with a file and push cuticles back as needed. The first track, “Perfume,” is just dreamy and mid-tempo enough that you shouldn’t be tempted to file too aggressively. (That’s how breakage happens.) Apply a basecoat. A tip for nail art: paint your dominant hand first with your non-dominant hand so you’re less likely to mess up.
For this look, I started with a base of black and yellow nails. Black is the color of rock & roll and everything cool. It looks really good on shorter, natural nails, and I for one, like how it looks kinda chipped. If you give as few fucks as this record, you’ll have the cool factor to be able to rock these nails. I did two yellow nails on each hand and the rest black.
The album cover is a photo of the band looking tough in a sunlit, grassy yard. The yellow dress of bassist Minnie Coathanger (Meredith Franco) is the inspiration for our first accent nail. Over your yellow base, use a black striper brush to paint a moon-shaped arc starting at the base of the cuticle. It doesn’t have to be perfect; you’re going to put dots over it. Dip your dotting tool (an opened bobby pin does the trick) into your black polish (pour some onto a piece of tinfoil if that’s easier for you) and carefully dot along your arc to mimic the rick-rack trim on Minnie’s collar.
Crook Kid Coathanger (Julia Kugel) holds a peacock feather that blends into Rusty Coathanger’s (Stephanie Luke) trippy dress. Peacock feathers are easier to paint than they look. Organic nail art designs are fun, because there’s room for imperfection. This isn’t the loudest nail art; you’re a grownup, remember? Add and subtract as you see fit. Over a black nail, paint the shape of the feather using long brush strokes. Start at the cuticle and paint the “spine” of the feather to establish a shape. Using shorter strokes, brush from the center of the spine to create wispy strands. Relax as you pull away, less pressure on the brush will make a more delicate stroke. Concentrate more strands in a round shape at the top. Let this sit and dry for a moment while you work on your other hand. After you’ve painted your other feathers, use the dotting tool with your yellow polish to paint a blob in the center of your feather’s widest part.
You’ll follow up with your teal color on top of the yellow, then the dark blue. Wipe the brush of your metallic color until it’s almost dry, and dab a little around the white part of the feather to add a little bit of dimension. Again, don’t worry if you’re not totally “nailing it.” If you need a boost of confidence in your painting, sit for a moment and let the sassy sounds of this album wash over you. “Squeeki Tiki” goes hard — and features an actual squeaky toy. I find it a tiny bit annoying (anyone who’s ever been awoken by a dog going ham on a toy at 5 a.m. feels my pain), but I bet it’s fun to hear/see at a live show. The vocals are very Kathleen Hanna, and the lyrics — “You can have it, I don’t want that shit/It’s just a bad memory of what I did” — reflect the overall tone of fed-up-ness that runs through the album. A quick glance at the track listing gives a sense of the exasperation theme: “Dumb Baby,” “Excuse Me?”, “Watch Your Back,” “I Don’t Think So” and “Had Enough.” When you’re done with this mani, you’ll have nails to reckon with, whether you’re scratching backs or making some fuccboi talk to your hand. “Excuse Me?” starts slow, goes into a feedbacky shred, and back to a hypnotic groove. The title track is a song for anyone who’s ready to chase away their workaday blues with a few questionable decisions. “Watch Your Back” is probably my favorite song on the record (plus there’s a cute video). The gang vocals and slightly post-punk instrumentation induce a frantic leg shake in lieu of jumping on the bed (you can’t do that with wet nails).
“I Don’t Think So” reveals the struggle of chugging away at something: relationships, life in general? Things are not necessarily OK, and you can’t get back what you lost, but there’s a sense of acceptance. Things might not be OK now, but they will be. “Down Down” features interesting tempo changes and guitar tones. At this point, your nails should be dry enough that you’ll be free to dance around your house and bang some air drums. Then, you can apply topcoat. When you do nail art, you can apply more topcoat than usual. Instead of brushing in a vertical stroke, dab the topcoat on so you don’t smear your design. If you mess it up a little, “It’s alright, yeah, it’s OK/You’ve got a nosebleed weekend headed your way,” and your nails will be the least of your concerns. Happy listening, and happy painting!