Worn Out

Nail Salons and the Enduring Legacy of Patrick Nagel


Awesome article
Yeah yeah yeah! What a great article.
So, no truth to the rumor that if your nail place has an image of a woman holding a rose on the front door or window, that the place is owned by Moonies?
Thank you a TON for this article - I have definitely noticed how nail salons everywhere seem to use the same few images in that distinctive style and wondered about it. While it doesn't really help with the question as to *why* they all use the same decals (are they actual examples of Nagel's work, or just in his style? do all nail salons use the same wholesalers or something?), at least I now know the source and some fun background!

Oh, and now I have to go listen to Rio.
The secret culture of our cities. Thanks for this.
I'm, uh, never going to admit, publicly, that I owned several Nagel lithographs in the 80s...
I'd love to see a follow-up on the person behind the gyro ladies. Since they aren't as ubiquitous here in Seattle as they are elsewhere, though, I won't hold my breath.
As a former fanatical Nagel collector, I think this article is crap--inaccurate and misleading.

Miscellaneous notes:
- He did a lot more than the little Playboy images and the Rio cover: dozens of innovative, striking, collectible serigraphs (#6-these are silkscreens, not lithographs) and some cheaper offset posters, I believe. Also, paintings and even a sculpture or two.

- The first printing of the book was awful--the colors were all wrong and he used unusual colors. I can't remember if they ever really got it right.

- The women in nearly all of his images were said to be based on his ex-model wife, Jennifer Dumas, who he was crazy about. At Cal Expo in S.F., when he was signing the poster he did for that big art show with all the hot artists, I asked him abut that. He smiled and said there was some truth to it.

- There is nothing "mall" or "pervy" about the posters that were ubiquitous in '80-'88. I've never read a critic that used those terms. He was well-regarded in commercial art and fine art circles and collected by gallery owners themselves.

- There was a strong Art Deco feel to many of his early posters (which were more artistic and less commercial and "slick" than the later ones, and also an acknowledged Japanese influence (black hair, white face, red lips, the occasional motif like in Paper Mill and Dyptych, some of my favorites).

- He was a really nice, humble guy.

- In case you're wondering: some in storage, some unframed, all still owned by me, including: Mother Earths, Park South, Iowa Agronomics, Silver Sunbeam, Papillon... and eventually, the elusive Mirage Ship! (Really--found it in '88 in another gallery owners collection.)

I was talking to a vintage dealer in Palm Springs today (yes, I am in Palm Springs. Name dropper!) and he said that "the kids" are all starting to ask for Nagels. We shared a shudder, but what goes around comes around. My parents HATED my taste in mid-century furniture.
These images on nail salons are a Nagel style they were made by a company in California called Grafia.com or windowsigns.com the website is still there but no one ever an swears the telephone, they must have been very popular back in the days, the company also manufacture: images for hair, salons pizza stores, chiropractors dentist pet stores and properly an array off other business, the artist was a English man from east London, called Tony Maffia he came over to the States back in the 80,s and realized there were over 275.000 hair and nail salons registered in the United States, the majority off which needed some form off street advertising, he made so much money out off his work he took off on a yacht , last I heard off him he was chilling on a island down in the south Caribbean