Until this year, a hand job was something you'd rarely get in public. But it turns out that Fingerbang—located in Northeast Sandy Boulevard's Zipper complex—fed a desire we didn't know we had. The highly specialized nail primping at Glynis Olson's salon has taken "fingerbang" from an Urban Dictionary entry to the most on-trend word in Portland beauty. Now that pizza- or Bowie- or Bernie-themed nails are an option, there's no going back to the French.

Fingerbang is not your average salon. Local graffiti legend Klutch painted the walls, erotic vampire flicks play on the flat screens, and the girls work until midnight. If their art takes longer, they might order Vietnamese from Luc Lac via Postmates.

(Julie Showers)
(Julie Showers)

"Sarah just did picnic nails for the Fourth of July," Olson says of Sarah Kane, one of her nail artists. "Pride nails were big, then Bowie-tribute nails. Asa did Japanese porcelain-inspired nails with a different, tiny detail on each one."

"The hardest part has been finding nail techs who are adept at art," says Olson, who recruited Kane when she was still doing nails in Austin, Texas. "I didn't think I needed everybody to be an artist, but that's the way the demand has gone."

More than 16,000 people now follow the shop's Instagram to gawk at fingernails online. And some of the nail techs enrolled in cosmetology school for the chance to paint at Fingerbang. Bree Garland left a lucrative job at a famously busy Portland brunchery, and Carmen Corbin was a stay-at-home mom who'd planned to bartend until Olson talked to her.

"I'm trying to offer these women, or men, an opportunity to have a creative outlet and work in a community," says Olson, a self-described high-school dropout and single mom who opened Fingerbang after burning out bartending at the Riverside Corral strip club.

But if you want a hand job at Fingerbang, you may have to wait in line. Asa Bree—the technician behind the expertly free-drawn nails on this issue's cover—is booked three months in advance. And she's no longer taking new customers.

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