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Blackhawks Nail Art: Fans Let Their Fingers Do the Talking

By Patty Wetli | May 1, 2015 7:58am | Updated on May 2, 2015 7:36am

IRVING PARK — Beards are one way to show support for the Blackhawks during their playoff run — but let's face it, they're not for everyone.

Try letting your fingers do the talking.

The Cat's Meow, 4221 N. Elston Ave., will hand-paint Hawks-themed art on your nails.

Nail artist Alyssa Geers uses a striper brush to add feathery detail to the Hawks logo. [DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]

On Thursday, just in time for Game 1 of the Hawks-Wild series, Valarie Kurtz stopped into the salon to have her fingertips lacquered in a no-chip manicure that should last all the way through to the conference finals. 

"I waitress, so people see my nails," said Kurtz, who's been going to Blackhawks games since she was seven. "You gotta show your pride."

She trusted the design to nail technician Alyssa Geers: red with black and white stripes to mimic the Hawks distinctive sweaters on her fingers, and tomahawk and feather logos on her thumbs.

From a blank canvas to Hawks symbols on every finger. [DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]

"They can get whatever they want, all they have to do is show me a picture," said Geers, who frequently consulted an image of the Hawks headdress on her iPad while painting Kurtz' nails.

Working on such a tiny canvas is actually easier for her than if she had an entire wall, said Kurtz, who laughed at being called a "miniaturist."

"If I tried to do this on a bigger scale, I'd mess up," she said, while displaying an uncommonly steady hand. "On a smaller scale, I can keep my proportions."

Depending on the intricacy of the requested design, a Hawks manicure costs between $40 and $50, according to Cat's Meow owner Lorelei Walters, who proclaimed her lifelong team allegiance with nails covered in Hawks feathers.

Cat's Meow owner Lorelei Walters is her own best customer. [DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]

Customers should block out roughly an hour for the process, as the freehand designs are painted on in layers and need time to dry — under ultraviolet light — between applications.

In the four years since Walters opened Cat's Meow, it's become a mecca of sorts for nail art in general — "I did Batman toes on a guy," she said — as well as sports-themed manis and pedis.

"Most of our girls clients, they're in love with the Blackhawks," said Walters, whose husband just happened to have played hockey at Robert Morris college and is contemplating a Wolves tryout.

She's also painted her share of White Sox nails and even Mike Ditka nails.

"Those were hilarious," she said. "They were really just the mustache and cigar."

Though Walters' heart belongs to Chicago's South Siders — despite having been born in Evanston and living and working in Irving Park — she'll even decorate nails in the logo of a certain North Side team.

"I've done Cubs nails on a dude before and he loved it," she said. "But I'm pretty sure he was drunk." 

Cat's Meow owner Lorelei Walters shows some of the salon's other Hawks art. [DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]

[DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]

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