Street Artist 1Penemy is the artist responsible for creating THOSE viral mugshots of supermodels around the streets of Soho, New York City. With fans of his work including Cindy Crawford, Hannah Ferguson and Michaela Vybohova, 1Penemy is quickly becoming a household name in the world of street art. By Eleanor Klein.
Today we had the opportunity to catch up with him…
When did you first get into street art?
Well that’s an interesting question, it was back in 2016 I started emerging as a street artist that is now starting to catch the attention of the art community. Everyone knows me as Dr. Nicholas Toscano due to the famous model faces I treat in my office but my 1Penemy artwork became known for the popular mug shots of famous models that I wheatpaste around New York City. My edgy artwork degrades the glamour of high fashion to an ideological statement that is so poignant today.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.
When did you reveal yourself as 1Penemy and why?
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. I have a passion for art but I wanted to keep the graffiti street art part of my life a secret as I built my art brand. 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. During the quarantine, I had time to step away from my busy dental practice and focus on my art. I finished over 30 new works of art while expanding my street presence with my installations. So the quarantine was a great time to finally reveal my secret art persona and the responce as been amazing. People love it and have been so supportive of my work.
What has been your favorite piece to date?
There are so many. But as people know im a big Batman fan and my Joker series I did most people love. My 1PENEMY street art is influenced by Warhol’s most highly-priced and prominent pieces featured female celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe, Liza Minelli, Liz Taylor, Debbie Harry, and Joan Collins. His work explored the shallowness of fame and the sensationalism of death – highlighting a society that considered women to be products rather than human beings. My 1PENEMY work embraces this spirit by degrading his high-profile 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. It’s a forceful statement about society’s perception of women – holding them to an unrealistic standard of perfection and shaming them to an unbridled degree for falling short. My SOHO model lineup achieves something very similar, placing the ultimate symbol of glamour and perfection in a context that represents society’s greatest failings. My Joker series features the makeup of Marvel’s Joker villain, it speaks to the fact that women are not only expected to accept the status quo but should grin and bear it as well.
Who or what are your three biggest inspirations?
Warhol the godfather of Pop Art, Banksy one of the most iconic street artists today and Jean Michel Basquiat for his artistic genius. What is the best advice you have received? You’re never out of the fight —-A navy seal made me memorize their creed “My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight” I relate this to my goals and aspirations and will never give up until I accomplish my goals.
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