Where would we be without teeth? Haggard and full of soup – that’s where we’d be. Funnily enough, the culinary world would not be the only sphere of interest to suffer were we all to awaken tomorrow to find the tooth fairy had been on a pixie dust-fuelled rampage, and left us all as gummy as a Haribo factory. The art scene, believe it or not, would also be reeling from this terrifying scenario.
Yes, the art world, with their berets and their chin scratching and their consummate ear-slicery. Teeth and art have a longish history, and the general public has spend many a lazy Sunday afternoon swanning around free galleries, marvelling/laughing at such nuggets of creativity. So, here, then, is a rundown of the pick of the fillings as we explore some of the more unusual aspects of dental art.
13. Toothy Shoe
A shoe made of teeth… Ha!. Who would have expected it. While not hugely provocative (unless you have a calcium deficiency and suffer huge bouts of shoe-based jealousy) the Toothy Shoe is quite eye-catching. I can see someone intelligent and political wearing them to a red-carpet event to protest against the high costs of dental care. We’re taking credit for that one Gaga!
12. Toothy Ring
What better way to profess your love for that special girl than by proposing to her with this in no way stupid, vile or tacky, tooth ring. If you were feeling particularly romantic that day, you could do it on the toothiest day of the year… National Dentist’s day for example. Wait! Is there even a National Dentist’s day? Well, there should be – those guys are heroes.
11. Toothy Pendant
Check this out. You could compliment your toothy rings with a lovely toothy pendant. Set for life, you’ll be – guaranteed. The toothy pendant can even be fitted with the tooth of a dead relative so you can admire their lifetime’s commitment to expertly administered flossing. Lucky you.
10. Toothy Heart
We’re starting to well up a bit now – all this romance is misting our eyes and making us want to watch something with Hugh Grant in. We’ll call this the end of the romantic section of this article, and what better way to end than with a giant red heart made out of teeth… which, just, looks… lovely.
9. Toothy Corset
Here we go – real art. It’s confusing, provocative and absolutely not amateurish whatsoever. You’ve heard of the whale-bone corset; well, this is the shark-tooth corset. Fashion and beauty is pain man; the things women do to look good on the high street is slow suicide; it’s all crazy man; the world’s gone nuts man; nuts! This is how I imagine the artist (one Sarah Garzoni) explained her creation to the awaiting press. Quite.
8. Toothy Fossil
Staying with sharks for a little bit now, this piece has a rare simplicity about it. A picture of a shark made from fossilised shark teeth. Simple, clean and not a trace of corset-based irony anywhere on this one. It’s the kind of art that your conservative grandfather would like. He could tell you that great old story about when he was in the war and his ship was sunk by the Japanese and most of the survivors were eaten by tiger sharks… or was that in Jaws?
7. Toothy Flower
What better way to compliment tooth art than by including other bodily matter we slowly shed, such as fingernails, because everyone will enjoy that. Artist Judith G. Klausner has created her piece using baby teeth and finger nails. I remember when people used to paint stuff… do we not do that anymore?
6. Toothy Tattoo
Micro art now; what will they think of next? In actuality, these are some examples of tooth tattoos that you can have done to impress all the kids in the neighbourhood with. The artist, Steven Heward, can put any famous face on your tooth for a minimal price and then you’ll look the Belle of the Ball – who looks like she has grape skin stuck to her teeth.
5. Toothy Diorama
We all played with toy soldiers and such when we were children – some of us still play with them now – fear them as they know advanced military tactics and have violently bad body odour. Ian Davis, a London based dentist, on the other hand, doesn’t play with toy soldiers; he makes small toothy dioramas and sets them up around his practice to entertain children. Nothing takes your mind off having four simultaneous root canals done like looking at models happily scrubbing teeth.
4. Toothy Carving
This work involves carving out a tooth to place a scene within the enamel. How do they do it? With a microscope and a distinct lack of caffeine I imagine. The tooth depicts an eighteenth-century worm demon who, it was thought, gave people toothache. They could have cleaned them first.
3. Toothy Fairy
Now, you may need to squint and use your imagination a bit here. Claudia Cembrowicz has carved three fairies into some of her own wisdom teeth. While it would have been infinitely more impressive had she done this while here teeth were still in her mouth, unfortunately, she had the painful little buggers removed to create her oddly shaped pixies. Cembrowicz has stated that the fairies represent the sanctuary and reward that follows a period of pain.
2. Toothy Folk Art
Most people tend to shrivel up and shy away whenever folk art is mentioned. It usually involves lots of darning and very little artistic integrity. You can assess the merits of gluing teeth onto bits of metal and selling it on as jewellery. Polly van der Glas is the name of the designer, and I’m sure she’s very happy with her work.
1. Toothy Stone
A stone with a zip-lock mouth and a sparkling pair of gnashers; now we’ve seen everything… well, not everything; that would be ridiculous. Artist Hirotoshi Itoh has created a number of rock-based oddities, but surely his Toothy Stone is the most appealing. It might just be us, but we think they carry some resemblance to Foo Fighter front man Dave Grohl. There’s a joke about a rock band in their somewhere.
So, there we have it; thirteen examples of what you can do if you put your mind, and teeth, to it. The art world, it seems, is limitless in its creative use for bodily matter, and teeth are just one branch of it.
Of course, where would teeth be if it weren’t for the humble tooth brush? Artist Thomas Keeley has created a plethora of pieces that incorporate tiny little men. It was only a matter of time before the tooth bug caught him. Have fun out there!
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