45-year-old Mike Drake has been doing something bizarre in the name of art for over a decade – he’s been collecting all his fingernail clippings, stuffing them in paperweights, and selling them for $300 to $500 apiece!
The Queens resident started the strange practice 11 years ago: “I used to bite my nails, and I wondered how long they could grow,” he told The Huffington Post. “And then I wondered how much I might be able to accumulate.” So he collected his nail clippings in a Ziploc baggie for about a year, and was about to throw them out when inspiration struck. He decided to do something ‘artistic’ with them.
“I realised I went to all that effort, and I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound. I already worked with acrylics as a hobby so I decided to make paperweights.”
Photo: Mike Drake
He now uses a year’s worth of clippings to make a single paperweight, mostly green. “I like the jade color because it gives off an emerald quality,” he said. And surprisingly, his creations have plenty of takers – he’s managed to sell every single one that he’s created so far.
“Some people told me not to sell them because fingernails can be used in voodoo spells,” he said. But that hasn’t stopped him from selling them, or using other bizarre materials to create his paperweights. In 2011, he put prosthetic eyeballs that once belonged to soldiers in paperweights. “Each eyeball came with a story about how the vet lost his eye. This particular project helped Drake get noticed by Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
Photo: Mike Drake
In fact, Ripley’s has been Drake’s most important client – they’ve purchased many of his fingernail paperweights to display at their various Odditoriums across America.
Surprisingly, Mike is not the only person in the world who thought about collecting his clipped nails. Last year, we wrote about Richard Gibson, who’s been collecting all his clippings in a glass jar since 1978. Thankfully, he hasn’t tried to sell them to anyone yet.
Photo: Ripley’s Believe It or Not
via Huffington Post