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The Dentist Brush: Dr. David Turok's Creative Pursuit

As a youth, Dr. Turok was the kid who was always doodling in class. An artistic child with a father and grandfather who were architects, he excelled at working with his hands, and knew as early as age 10 that he wanted to pursue dentistry.

A three-panel painting featuring Michael Jordan adorns the wall of Dr. David Turok’s Northbrook Dentistry office. The background is splotchy red paint with a little gray and blue thrown in with Jordan in black silhouette, arms outstretched, holding a basketball, and wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey. Wall art in the waiting area of a dental office is common, but having that art created by the dentist who owns the practice is not so common. The piece is original, colorful, and a true depiction of the subject. Is it any wonder that Dr. Turok’s patients are impressed with his artistic talent?

As a youth, Dr. Turok was the kid who was always doodling in class. An artistic child with a father and grandfather who were architects, he excelled at working with his hands, and knew as early as age 10 that he wanted to pursue dentistry. In college he briefly considered majoring in art, but realized he could create art through dentistry, specifically cosmetic dentistry. The satisfaction that comes from making someone happy when you restore their smile is like the satisfaction you get when creating a work of art for them. Being immersed in art and dentistry uses both sides of the brain, and art provides enjoyment for people and an outlet for expression– in dental school Dr. Turok entertained his classmates by drawing caricatures of them!

About 6 to 7 years ago he discovered a fun process for creating his signature art pieces while finger painting with his niece. He used his niece’s fingerpainting as a background and painted John Lennon’s image in black over it. Since then he has painted black images of iconic figures over children’s colorful abstract fingerpainted backgrounds and has achieved a loyal client following. Working with his wife, Doniele, a talented child photographer, the two developed Kidcollab, “a unique art piece in which your child will paint on a blank canvas that serves as the background to artist David Turok’s painting.” The process for creating these paintings is as satisfying as the finished work. Children, some as young as babies and toddlers, are provided with acrylic paint and set free on a blank canvas to cover it in random ways. Doniele captures the moments of the experience through photography. The photo sessions become an art form in themselves. Parents not only get a painting with their child’s handiwork as a background, but photographs of the experience to go with it. Dr. Turok says the best part of the process is seeing the kids covered in paint, and his wife’s keen ability to capture the paint drips that inevitably cover the children on film. The husband and wife duo are offering an experience as much as an art piece.  

The clients choose what image painted in black will be added to the fingerpainted background. Examples of some subjects include anything from “The Cat in the Hat” to Sting. While Dr. Turok is partial to iconic images, he will create anything his clients request. He likes his paintings to tell a story while appealing to a broad audience. Another collection of his art is called the Neon Collection. These images are mainly of people or pets on a black background with the subject highlighted in colorful neon paint.

Being able to contribute in a meaningful way through art is something Dr. Turok has been able to achieve through his involvement in the “Brushes with Cancer” program. This is a months-long program that pairs a cancer patient with an artist who will create a unique piece of art that tells the story of the cancer patient’s journey. This therapeutic process finishes with an auction of the artwork during a gala event. Helping cancer patients express their story through art is a gratifying experience and one more way Dr. Turok’s art gives something back to society.

Dr. Turok says his dental patients are genuinely interested in his art, and his talents are in high demand. He has art displayed in some local Chicago restaurants as well. You can browse his website at www.davidturokart.com , his Instagram account at www.instagram.com/drt_art, and see a brief video showing how his Kidcollab art is created at https://vimeo.com/338372266.

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