Shark Toof / Unkwown

Urban Art

June 13, 2014

Shark Toof is a Los Angeles based artist. Shark Toof graduated from Pasadena Art Center College of Design with a BFA in Illustration in 1998. SHARK TOOF takes an in-depth look at the ambitious and versatile street artist. Shark Toof, best known for his emblematic visual calling card: a wheat-pasted, hand-drawn shark head, which the artist describes as the "perfect culmination of all my angst, protest, strength and optimism."

Like a graffiti tag, Shark Toof has established the image as a kind of logo, deeply synonymous with the spirit and subtext of his body of work. Calling to mind the fictionalized and fantastic stylized gore of old horror movies or underground comics, Shark Toof's apocalyptic world is graced with sublime and dark beauty.

Using acrylic, spray paint, and house paint on distressed or reclaimed wood, Shark Toof's bold, brash lines convey a kind of frenzied, graphic energy and chiaroscuro reminiscent of German Expressionism woodblock prints and graphic pulp novels alike.

Shark Toof has made quite a name for himself for his dangerously bold depictions of the world's most popular and misunderstood apex predator on street corners across the US.

When asked about the genesis of his style and the reasoning behind his shark fetish, Shark Toof says, "I feel like a lot of murals are wonderful to look at, but you engage them strictly with your mind and with your eyes. I've always wanted to create street pieces that are fun and interactive, that you stand next to and touch and take photos with. Sharks definitely let me achieve that."

Featured image: Shark Toof - GÉLÍ, 2020 (detail). Spraypaint On Cradled Wood Panel With Attached 1900's Detroit Salvage Iron Fence Topper. 28 × 25 1/2 × 1 1/2 in. 71.1 × 64.8 × 3.8 cm. This is a unique work. Photo courtesy Vertical Gallery