He, she or it is a street artist known as “Toothfish.” But Toothfish is no conventional street artist. Toothfish’s art depicts animals as “righteous gods of nature,” whose wrath, he says, “we all should fear.”
Toothfish claims not to be human, but a “creature called into existence by the nightmare’s of our collective unconscious.”
He says he is in this world, but not of it. Toothfish, who for all we know may be a collective of artists, seems to see himself as an animal atavism, a reversion to our pre-human ancestors.
Unsurprisingly, Toothfish’s message is strongly environmental. We are ravaging our planet, and the beasts of this world will soon have revenge.
Maybe they already are in the guise of Toothfish?
Some believe that Toothfish’s artworks self-generate on the streets. That they appear spontaneously by supernatural means – very much like the “apports” found in the world of psychics and spiritualism. Apports are objects (sometimes everyday items or plain weird artefacts) that either transfer from one place to another, or seem to appear out of nowhere.
Others say that Toothfish somehow controls the minds of others to create his art – that he possesses them.
Street artist Phantasm from London, for example, believes that an “unseen hand” directed some of his recent works:
“I was working on this piece on this old shop front in the Old East India Docks when this armadillo with a rocket launcher started going wrong and turning into this fish with big teeth. I tried to keep turning it back into an armadillo but something kept control of my hand and painting the damn fish. Once it was it was finished whatever it was released me. I can’t explain it! It wasn’t until recently that I made the connection with Toothfish. It’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to me.”
And there was Ghostie from New Zealand whose artwork mysteriously transmogrified into a Toothfish work:
“I was doing a big painting on board for a client and had almost finished it. I went out to get a cup of coffee and when I cam back ten minutes later something had added a large scary looking chicken head on top of my painting. A similar thing happened a while back but that time it was a sheep. I rang Strange Occurrences (a local paranormal investigation group) and they sent a team round and found strong fluctuations in the magnetic fields in the room. It’s the weirdest thing!”
Toothfish’s work has also mysteriously appeared in the North of England, in Sunderland (see picture below) – with “righteous animals” staring ominously at the passing populace.
So is Toothfish a supernatural entity spreading his, her or its environmental message around the world?
Or is Toothfish a situationist artist akin to The KLF, the British prankster / situationist electronic band, turned art collective, that once burned a million pounds?
But one thing is for sure, Toothfish takes a radical approach to his art, which has appeared around the world, from Luxembourg and London, to Paris and New Zealand. When his work has appeared at galleries, for example, Toothfish has actually paid people to take the art away so long as they promise “never to bring it back again” – suggesting that Toothfish also has an anti-capitalist come anarchist message.
But whoever or whatever Toothfish is, the street artist is certainly spreading a unique kind of magick around the world.