Story Time: My Tokidoki Manicure by Britney Tokyo Wednesday 03 April, 2013

Nail art manicurist Britney Tokyo hand paints the coolest Tokidoki manicure for me with awesome precision. Be ready to be astounded.

When I was in high school, I didn’t doodle hearts on my Trapper Keeper; instead, I drew japanimation. I dreamed up characters, always female with a bad-ass bent, and fine-tuned my artistry to the point that a fellow student asked me to sketch out her next tattoo. (Whether she ever got it, I do not know. I don’t think she did.)

My obsession with all things anime continued through college, but I lost the drive to draw. Instead, I turned to my hoarder tendencies and started collecting little Japanese toy doodads. When the New York Times ran an article about grown women who collect girlish trinkets (especially beauty products that brandish child-like characters, like the Harajuku Lovers beauty brand, which I own a TON of), the newspaper article was really talking about me. I am that person.


(Britney Tokyo’s endless nail art board even includes a painting of Frida Kahlo.)

So when I dropped by the last Vanity Projects NYC pop-up, a Saturday-only nail art lover’s mecca held through March at the Museum of Modern Arts PS1, I knew I wanted to experience the nail artistry of Britney Tokyo. After all, she has a 3D hamburger decal on her iPhone. We connect.


(This is how I know Britney and I are soul sisters: Even her cuticle oil has a monster doodad on it.)

After perusing her nail art board, which is filled with nail tips brandishing kitty cats, eyeballs and even social media icons (YouTube, Instagram, you name it), I decided to just throw an idea out there for the ever industrious Britney: Why not try my favorite toy brand of the moment, Tokidoki? With lightning speed, Britney pulled up the Tokidoki label on her iPhone, and started delving into the characters (there are many). I don’t know what site she went to, but she was able to isolate several Tokidoki personalities into a little “holding” space. We pondered the different ones, and settled on Polpettina and SANDy.


What happened from there on out baffles the mind.

Suffice to say that Britney Tokyo is extremely gifted, and as I wondered how she would fit these characters on my teeny-tiny nail plates (and was pretty certain she wouldn’t be able to), she painted with pinpoint accuracy. She magnified details with the thinnest of thin black outlines—an accent that truly made her artistry appear like a stick-on decal. Because I closed down the place (it took an hour and 15 minutes to do my nails), we had to skip doing nail art on a few fingers, but I think that actually made the designed ones shine even brighter.


A day ago—nine days after settling into Britney’s chair—I practically cried as I removed the nail art. Only two nails had started to chip (she sealed everything with a gel top coat for longevity), but it was time to say goodbye. I felt like I was throwing art away, to be honest with you. Kind of unsettling. And yet, I had so much fun showing it off. That’s the thing about nail art: It’s endless fodder for conversation with everyone—friends and strangers alike.


(Me and Britney!)

What do you think of my Tokidoki nail art? Would you wear it?

Karie L. Frost Signature


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