Tag Archives: ToeHeads

Music in the Arts: Daric Gill – Repurposed Instruments

Last month, I wrote about a friend of mine, Daric Gill, who is a local artist who sometimes incorporates music into some of his art.  The example I gave was of a line of illustrations he has called the ToeHeads in which he draws fun, toe-shaped characters in a variety of scenes, some of which are musically themed.  I’m happy to say I have two of those on my walls and while one of mine has a musical theme, they both are tied to my love of knitting.

Yes, like many musicians, Daric obviously takes requests!

Daric is an interdisciplinary artist which explains why he does illustrations on reclaimed wood.  He also does sculpting and painting. There are times however, he takes his skills from a couple of those to turn something that was thrown away (or about to be thrown away) into something beautiful.

My musician friends may cringe at the thought, but there was a time when a bunch of student violins were going to be tossed in the trash. They weren’t in very good shape as the elements had somehow gotten to them.  If you’re curious as to what happens when a violin is exposed to the elements, Holly Mulcahy, Concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, wrote about Wallace Hartley, Bandleader and violinist on the Titanic.  In her blog, Neo Classical, she wrote about how his violin that was supposedly found floating in the Atlantic Ocean a couple of weeks after the ship sank.  She wrote of an experiment conducted where a violin was essentially destroyed in just one night of sitting in saltwater.

It does not take long to ruin a beautiful violin – no matter how well it was made.  String instruments are fragile.

The student violins weren’t nearly as damaged as the violin sacrificed in that experiment but they could no longer be played so Daric took them in and did some amazing things.

One thing he did was to combine one of his fun ToeHeads to decorate the backside of a violin.  There looks to be a little bit of math thrown in for good measure, too! 389490_314443185246465_1424283419_n This next piece is something I really like.  He’s taken the necks off two violins and turned them into the base of a decorative shelf.  What do you think of this?  I think it’s absolutely beautiful. 290627_531779932532_2134543911_o 322697_531779957482_1812823604_o This next piece is actually a Xylophone made with Maple and African Rosewood. The colors of the wood are gorgeous! 538982_561361096642_1401784719_n This next shelf was originally a music rack on a piano that was marked damaged.  Sure you can always use it to start a bonfire << group shudder! >> but why not put it to good use as a shelf in your home? Daric even kept the original manufacturer’s emblem on it after restoring it, which I think makes the whole piece that much more beautiful and interesting. 134085_567402898822_1507368281_o 277331_567402853912_1845226683_o And here’s the Victor Piano and Organ Co logo – a company with a rather strange website!  I’m so glad it was kept on this shelf though. Definitely lends an air of history to it.  The emblem itself states that “We hereby warrant this piano for five years against defective workmanship or material.”  Hmm…I wonder  - does Daric offers warranties as well? 664446_567402948722_725401793_o Music is not confined to great concert halls.  It’s not set aside solely for those with unlimited incomes and it’s certainly not limited to what you can hear on an iPod.  Music is an audio medium but it never has to be confined to only one of our senses. Music and certainly the love of music can both live on well beyond the use of an old student violin or a damaged piano.

Music is art.  Art is music and together, they can combine to bring us joy in every aspect of our life – whether we’re at a concert, playing an instrument at home, hanging a new, 3-D picture on our walls or just placing a decorative item on a shelf.

The combination of art and music together is life.  It is happiness. Look what my friend, Daric, has done. There really are no limits.

Special thanks again to Daric for graciously allowing me the use of all his pictures!

Click here to see some of Daric’s musically-themed ToeHeads.

Daric Gill has a new blog: The Arting Artist.  Please check it out and leave comments showing your support.  

Music in the Arts: Daric Gill’s ToeHeads

A friend once told me that art is anything you can get away with.  Some may or may not agree, but I think he was just communicating how art is not limited to just one format or one outlet or one kind of design.  It’s a very personal means of expression.  Like a solo pianist creating a cadenza during a concerto, people from all over use art to express themselves – their thoughts, their emotions and most certainly, their passions.  Beethoven himself is quoted as saying “To play without passion is inexcusable!”

Music is art and art can be passion in tangible form.

Expressing a love of music doesn’t have to be limited to that which is made with instruments or vocal chords. It can be shown in a variety of ways: e.g. a statue of a famous composer like W. A. Mozart in Vienna or the treble clef sign made with flowers in front of the statue of W. A. Mozart in Vienna.  It can also be something like a hand knit blanket filled with musical symbols or musical note earrings or a concert ticket.

Another possibility is that a love of music can also be expressed via pictorial art.

Meet my friend, Daric Gill.


Daric at Stauf’s in Grandview – showing off his final product.

A self-described interdisciplinary artist, he specializes in oil painting, metal sculpture and robotics – a sort of triathlete of the arts! A graduate of both Columbus College of Art and Design and the University of Cincinnati, he’s nationally known for his exceptional paintings, sculptures and something a bit more fun: ToeHeads!

My first ToeHead - knitting a scarf that turns into music.

My first ToeHead – knitting a scarf that turns into music.

ToeHeads, you say?  Sure!  Illustrations of heads that are shaped like big toes – all painted on reclaimed lumber.  Trust me.  They’re fun!

Thanks to his light blond hair, Daric was called a “towhead” as a kid. Being really young, he naturally thought of the toes on his feet.  The first actual drawing of a ToeHead though, can be traced back to 2008 when he started designing a table for a client who wanted a fun inlay. Unfortunately the stock market crashed and the table never made it out of a sketch book.


A couple years later, he drew a few ToeHeads as Christmas presents for his family. While illustration wasn’t his normal art form, his friends (and their friends) started asking about these whimsical figures as soon as he posted pictures of them on Facebook.  All of a sudden, more and more people started wanting them for their own walls.


Daric told me that he’d been doing high-technical work, i.e. more difficult pieces of art that required a lot more technical prowess to complete, such as oil paintings and sculpted work.  He already had art on display in museums and galleries, so this gave him an opportunity to work on something light and fun.  He went on to say that as an interdisciplinary artist, making ToeHeads just added to the variety of his creations.  His family loved them and through word of mouth, they just instantly took off.

His ToeHeads can be found on display in and around Columbus in various galleries and shops, including right here in Grandview at Stauf’s this holiday season from November 1 through New Year’s 2014.

The coolest part of ToeHeads, I think, is that he makes no more than three of any given illustration.  Special orders are most welcome, but there’s still a limit of three – the original, plus two copies. Personally, I thought it was pretty cool when someone else wanted one of my knitting ToeHeads!  Yes – I have two!


I love that he has a lot of musical ToeHeads – almost enough for his own orchestra, though he’s obviously missing the most important one: the clarinet.  Sigh.  Thats OK – you should see the sculpted work he does with repurposed instruments!  While I’m saving those for another post another day, suffice to say, they’re fantastic! Gorgeous, even!


ToeHeads may have started as a bit of a fluke, but 560+ (and countless hours at the Idea Foundry) later, they’re still going strong.  How strong?  Well, Daric’s about to start up a new signature line called “SnackHacks.”  Not sure what a SnackHack is?  That’s OK.  I don’t either since he hasn’t revealed them yet, but they’re sure to be fun!

Records - girl

To take a look at the ToeHead collection or to find details on how you, too, can order a ToeHead for your walls, visit his page on Facebook. He’s a night owl, so don’t be surprised when new pictures appear while the rest of us are sleeping!

For his paintings, visit Daric Gill’s Absolutes.

While I’ll take credit for the picture of Daric himself, I’d like to offer up special thanks for his having granted me permission to use all his ToeHeads pictures in this post.  THANK YOU!

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