At the intersection of street art, models, and dentistry, Dr. Nicholas Toscano thrives. The New York City periodontist sees more commonalities than differences in his pursuits.
“Dentists are artists,” Dr. Toscano said. “We’re creating smiles.”
Destined for dentistry since middle school, Dr. Toscano happened upon the art world years later – and there No. 1 public enemy, also known as 1penemy was born.
After leaving his hometown for 13 years in the U.S. Navy, Dr. Toscano returned to his native New York City.
“I started treating a lot of artists, and I loved the vibe,” he said of his entry into the art world in 2009.
“As a periodontist, there is a good balance of surgery, dentistry, and life,” Dr. Toscano explained.
Model patient or muse?
Finding inspiration for his art came as naturally as deciding on a career in dentistry.
“Everything feeds back to my practice,” Dr. Toscano said.
As the official dentist to more than 30 modeling agencies, he established the 1penemy art brand as a nod to patients in the dental chair. Street art and larger canvas pieces depict mugshots of world-renowned models.
He often donates money from his sales toward organizations that support women who have suffered at the hands of domestic violence and abuse.
Art instilled with such strong messaging requires a medium that will attract attention.
“I go around and put up posters all over New York City,” he said. “Street art is a great way to get art out there and known fast.”
Snapshots of celebrated models with Dr. Toscano’s graffiti art populate @1PENEMY on Instagram.
“The advantage of social media is the message spreads very quickly.”
More recently, Dr. Toscano teamed up with Castle Grade Mask, shown, to promote the use of face masks to halt the spread of COVID-19.
“Banksy used street art to get a lot of political messages across. I love the vibe and the effect it can have on others,” he said, referencing the street artist, political activist, and film director popularized in England.
Surprisingly, Dr. Toscano also gives a nod to the U.S. Navy for his entry into the world of art.
“In the Navy, they teach you to utilize your expertise, knowledge and passion and just go for it,” he said.
Since 2016, his art has garnered a social media fan base of over 21,000 and appeared on streets across New York.
“I’ve improved tremendously through this outlet. It’s my escape from the drudgery. My art and I are very different now from where I began.”