“I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I started painting graffiti in 1985 eventually graduating from Art Center College of Design. The content of my work is pronounced by my travels and continuing exploration of animal spirits, nature, and the struggle of predator vs prey in male and female roles.” – Shark Toof
1xRUN Thru Interview
Shark & Three Girls Show by Shark Toof
1xRun: When was this piece created? How long did it take from start to finish?
Shark Toof: The piece was created in the Spring of 2012 for Pangea Seed, a non profit organization that raises shark awareness and their importance to the ecosystem and world at large. I wanted to intermingle my current fine art work in the context of representation versus literal. So the piece itself depicts a woman wrestling with three sharks, but the sharks themselves are representational of her subconscious battles and inner struggles. From start to finish this piece took about 2 weeks to execute.
1xRun: Anything immediate you would like us to highlight?
Shark Toof: Nature will always tell you the truth.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Shark Toof: This piece was made for the shark collectors. I paint mostly shark murals but my fine art does not incorporate the shark image. From time to time, like this piece, I give the people what they would like to see or expect to see.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Shark Toof: It’s an investment in feeling alive.
1xRun: Describe this print in one gut reaction word.
Shark Toof: Sexy.
1xRun: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Shark Toof: Since my early kinder years. I didn’t have all the toys other kids had so you are left to be supremely resourceful. A stick was a rocket ship. A rock was a planet. A pencil, I could create any toy I ever wanted. I would always draw space vehicles and lunar battles. My first graffiti drawing I did on the inside of a dictionary in 1985 said “PUMA”. My parents couldn’t afford to buy me Pumas though, so I wore Vans.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on? What artists inspire you now?
Shark Toof: Before I did graffiti, I was heavily into comic books, Stan Lee, etc. The first graffiti black book I saw which changed my life was David Arquette’s in 1985. My early influences include Caravagio, Richard Bunkal, Ray Turner, Victor Vasarely, Edward Kienholz, Robbie Conal, Kent Twitchell, Clayton Brothers, Manuel O Campo, and a slew of others. Lately, for shear bravery in his art and work ethic, David Choe. The other people who keep me in check: Ai Weiwei, Mark Jenkins, BLU, Os Gemeos, Lister, David Jien, Andrew Hem, Bast, and Devin Strother.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Shark Toof: Yes, I can go from Devendra Banhart, MF Doom, to The Stooges on Slacker radio. Most of the time KCRW and NPR keeps me grounded.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? The last?
Shark Toof: An Andrew Schoultz painting in 2004 and yes I still have it. The last was a piece from Frohawk Two Feathers.
1xRun: You were recently down at Art Basel Miami last year, what were you getting into down there?
Shark Toof: Well I did this below when I painted a client’s dining room. I’m officially in the home improvement business.1xRun: Your work seems to be popping up more and more, tells us about what has been going on recently with your work?
Shark Toof: My mural in Miami just came out in a recent LeBron James/Samsung commercial. Another one of my shark murals also came out in a new short film by the street artist Space Invader.
1xRun: Tell us about some of the recent new work you have been doing lately.
Shark Toof: The new work is the result of obsessive thinking and rethinking. How can I make a super human being from Louis CK, Larry David, George Carlin, and Seinfeld? At least that is the level I strive to achieve. I am at times tormented by the infinite possibilities of content attached to all of the language I’ve been taught at Art Center, from line quality, color, texture, composition, perspective. My pieces are constantly edited. They take intense thought and measure to feel comfortable with the results.
1xRun: What do you have on tap for 2013?
Shark Toof: I am excited for 2013 so far! Late January and early February I have been in south east Asia for another round of soul searching. Then I am off join everyone painting in Hawaii for POW WOW. After that dust settles, the plan is to make that super human being happen with a couple gigs with Thinkspace Gallery. MOMA keep your eyes open. We’ll see you soon!
1xRun: Where else can people find you?
Shark Toof: Website – Facebook – Tumblr – Twitter