With speed and precision, artist Eric Waugh gives each of the Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 museum-worthy treatment.
“I’ve got a nickname for this event,” says artist Eric Waugh, gazing around Zen House on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
The man has a way with words every bit the equal of his way with a paintbrush. This lovely spring day, lncisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine has invited him to the annual 40 Under 40 shoot with one set of instructions: Paint all these dentists, and do it quickly.
All in a day’s work for Waugh, 53, a Montreal native who now lives in Austin, Texas. He’s prolific, having done a succession of lightning-fast “live painting” pieces in (literal) concert with Tony Bennett, the Doobie Brothers, Kool & the Gang and more. He’s also in the Guinness Book of World Records for Hera, a 41,400-square-foot behemoth that’s the largest canvas ever painted by one artist. He completed it aver six years as a fundraiser far Camp Heartland, a summer getaway in Minnesota for children affected by HIV/AIDS.
His work exudes what Waugh calls his “upbeat, positive, happy-go-lucky” style -a sort of Pop Art/Cubist sensibility that meshes well with his subjects this particular day.
“I came up with the concept ‘all about smiles’,” he says, given that “dentists give you confidence to smile.”
Hence every one of the doctors he depicted is grinning from ear to ear – occasionally while brushing or flossing, naturally.
The playful finished works would have equal pride of place on the walls of a well-appointed practice or a modem-art museum – “all on the theme of what a dentist can do to give you confidence,” Waugh says. “Bad set of teeth, you keep your mouth closed.”
He smiles broadly, his own good set gleaming. “Dentists really do work miracles.”