1PENEMY whose Instagram @1penemy is a well know NYC Street artist whose work involves a mugshot lineup of 90's supermodels he grew up respecting. The mugshots of Kate Moss, Stephanie Seymour, Brooke Shields and Cindy Crawford were the first pieces he created and it grew from there. 1Penemy’s street art embraces this spirit of a women’s struggle in his female subjects, not only by featuring them in a mugshot and displaying them in “lineup”, but also by wheat pasting them like “wanted” posters in back alleys and on graffitied walls. His work is similar to Warhhol's work which explored the shallowness of fame, holding his subjects unrealistic standard of perfection and shaming them to an unbridled degree for falling short. The price of 1penemy’s physical artwork ranges from $10,000 to $25,000, making his work accessible to a broad audience. His work has been featured in the Daily Mail, Daily Front Row, Hello Magazine, Haute Living, Forbes, ComicBook.com, and The NY Times. 1Penemy is a disabled US Navy Veteran serving in the US Navy for 13 years.
When he isn’t painting canvases or doing late night wheatpasting in NYC he is known as Dr. Nicholas Toscano. Dr. Toscano whose smiles are known worldwide is currently the official dentist for roughly 25 modeling agencies in NYC and LA, which include Lions, Wilhelmina, One Model Management, Marilyn, Storm, Major models, Heroes, Fusion, and others. His patients include some of the most famous models in the world including Victoria’s Secret models, Candice Swanepoel, Helena Christensen, Jasmine Tookes, Romee Strijd, Josephine Skriver. High fashion models Andreja Pejic, Vittoria Ceretti, Bambi Northwood Blyth, Greta Varlese, and other stars like Real Housewives of NYC, Sonja Morgan and Countess Luann de Lesseps.
We caught up with 1PENEMY aka Dr. Nicholas Toscano and asked him some questions about his dual career.
Q: How does a famous dentist and surgeon like yourself become a street graffiti artists?
A: Well that’s an interesting question, in addition to the famous models I treat in my office, I also take care of over 100 artists in NYC, Miami, and LA which include such famous artists as Bradley Theodore, Jeremy Penn, Layer Cake, Tripp Derrick Barnes, BY Flore, Producer BDB, Jason Ackerman, Alan Jeffery and many others. Over the years these artist where very generous with me not only giving me their art but also inviting me out to their shows and many became my close friend. Through their influence I developed a natural passion for the arts and decided to give it a go.
Q: How did you come up with the name 1penemy?
A: Well Street art and graffiti art is not exactly legal, so I decided to come up with a name reflective of that, the name 1Penemy stands for Number 1 public enemy.
Q: Why Mugshots of famous models as the centerpiece of your street art?
A: There is a lot to this question. I consider street art also in the spirit of Andy Warhol Pop iconic art. His art also centered on figures he hung out with on daily basis or whom he associated with. Since the majority of my dental practice involves treating some of the worlds most famous models and model agencies it was natural to center my art on Models I grew up on or treated in my practice. In 2016, I came up with my first designs of my SOHO model Line up street art of supermodels of the 90’s I grew up on and loved which are Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, and Stephanie Seymour. The mugshot is meant to symbolize women’s struggles they have occurred throughout history. I began wheatpasting my art all over NYC and started my art instagram @1penemy profile.
Q: Why did you keep your art such a secret for so long considering your Surgical Instagram profile @drtoscanodds has 170,000 followers.
A: Well Art is balanced with science in my office with countless client-tailored artistic smile reconstructions, makeovers, and recreations. Art is a passion of mine that obviously makes sense from my surgical recreation of a patient's smile to my street art, being artistic is in my blood. However I wanted to keep the graffiti street art part of my life a secret as I built my art brand 1Penemy which is still growing so I decided to keep my dental life separate from my street art until recently. I started my art in 2016 and from 2016 to 2020 people would take pictures next to my famous 1penemy SOHO model line street installations and they would tag my art instagram. As my art page grew so did the requests for people to buy my art.
Q: How has your art been selling?
A: Yes my art has been selling like crazy, I have 3 galleries 2 in NYC and 1 in Miami (Lush Gallery). I am super busy in the NFT market and commissions for my paintings, and the demand is only getting stronger. NFT’s have been game changing. NFT’s bring immense value to ones art in that it’s a way to authenticate the artist and gives the collector the prominence that is on the blockchain. I think NFTs resonate with collectors because they can be directly connected to the value of the artist — and they are able to flip NFTs for higher prices based on the demand for that artist’s work. However, I think NFT collectors really need to be careful what they invest in. Right now, so many people are dropping NFTs so it’s hard to know the long term value and sadly some may end up worthless. I think one should invest in NFTs connected to artists that have value in their physical art or have proven sales in the art world. I also think it’s important to invest in NFTs that have scarcity because if an artist floods the market with NFTs looking for a quick cash grab, the value of those NFTs may drop over time.
Q: How has Covid 19 hampered your art?
A: It hasn’t, it has actually helped my art as I was able to focus more time on it. I did two Covid-19 awareness street campaigns involving Castle Grade masks, which I put on the mugshots of Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman. Both of who supported the campaign through their social media posts.
Photography by: 1PENEMY