Music in the Arts

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!

3 thoughts on “Music in the Arts: Daric Gill’s ToeHeads

  1. It’s really Awesome to see that my nephew Daric Gill is booming with his talent of painting Toehead’s…And I can’t wait to see what new idea he has in store…Thanks for displaying his talent & writing a great piece…

    • My pleasure, Brenda! I just love these! (Obviously -since I have two of them!) They’re so much fun, aren’t they? I especially look forward to getting pictures of his repurposed instruments on here, too! – – Heather

  2. Pingback: Music in the Arts: Daric Gill – Repurposed Instruments | Giocosity

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