• Julie Shapiro

I happened across last issue’s Zoom In while strolling through stretches of Avondale for no reason other than incredible weather. It was an accidental discovery. The oversize cartoon chompers looming above the entrance to Big Smile Dental spoke for themselves—my accompanying blathering justifying their magnificence wasn’t even necessary. Plus, they’re being tended to by both a dentist with a gigantic toothbrush and, for inexplicable reasons, the tooth fairy with a magic wand.

Artistic director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival, Julie Shapiro, seeks out her cartoon teeth. And instead of tracking down bizarre, dentistry-focused art installations, she looks for dental signs with silly artwork of personified teeth. In the photos, some of the teeth are flexing or jumping rope, some have teeth of their own, some are giving off a little sass, but all are smiling—the dentist is, after all, a joyous place. Several of the shots are from Shapiro herself, but she also has received contributions (both local and overseas) from friends, friends of friends, high school acquaintances, and even a few people she’s never met. You can check out the ever-growing collection on her Tumblr page.