The paintings of Mexican artist Cristiam Ramos are, quite literally, like a breath of minty fresh air! The 34-year-old creates celebrity portraits using nothing but tubes of ordinary toothpaste. Some of his notable works include paintings of Robin Williams, Miley Cyrus, Emma Watson, Lady Gaga and Sir Elton John. They’ve all been crafted using various brands of the oral hygiene product.
Painting with toothpaste is a lot harder than it sounds, and Ramos spends up to 200 hours and 30 tubes on a single piece. “It is very difficult to make these as the toothpaste becomes very sticky and dries quickly,” he explained. “The smell can also be overwhelming, which was challenging during the long days of up to 10 hours painting.”
Ramos, who started painting at the age of five, has always been interested in converting odd objects like sweets and recycled cans into art. We’re not sure how it occurred to him to try working with toothpaste, but he’s developed a brilliant technique on his own.
“I begin by finger painting the first layer and then let it dry,” he said. “Then I throw on the next layer to begin giving it the tones required as toothpaste can almost be transparent. I keep applying coats until I get the tone I want, sometimes I have to use brushes to do the smallest details.”
One of the most recent toothpaste portraits that Ramos painted was of comedy legend Robin Williams. He plans to auction the piece for charity, and use the money to support those suffering from depression. “I thought it would be the best way to honor a man who gave his life to make us laugh,” he said.
Ramos, who is originally from Mexico, lives and works in Orlando, Florida. The rest of his celebrity portraits are all set to be displayed at various galleries in Florida, Hollywood and New York.
But toothpaste painting isn’t Cristiam Ramos’ only specialty. He is also internationally known for his incrediblyrealistic candy portraits, made with thousands of tasty treats.