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Check Out Todd Jones’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Todd Jones.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I am an experimental artist who explores the boundaries between contemporary painting and sculpture. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts and double majored in studio art and psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Once I graduated, I became an artist-in-residence for six months at Studio 209 in Thomasville, Georgia, before moving my studio practice to Columbus, Ohio. I then attended the Summer Painting and Sculpture Intensive hosted by the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This experience was a turning point for me and my practice, and at that moment, I knew I wanted to attend graduate school. I now live and work in Athens, Ohio, and am a Master of Fine Arts candidate in Painting + Drawing and working on a Graduate Certificate in Visual Arts Management at Ohio University.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road to becoming an artist has not always been smooth sailing. As someone who went to school for art, I found it challenging to continue my practice outside an educational setting. Once out of school, I struggled to balance my job and studio work. My art production slowed down tremendously, but I turned my attention to showing the previously created artwork. I also prioritized attending at least one Artist Residency a year to take time for my practice. As long as I was doing something art-related, I came to accept that as a step in the right direction, and I slowly began to find balance as a working artist. Artist Residencies have always been my way of taking a break and immersing myself in my practice. Currently, I am back in academia, but once I am out in the real world, I know this will be a problem that will need to be addressed again.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My work interrogates residual cultural memory through the detritus of identity-driven consumerism. These discarded materials I collect are recontextualized through my intervention, as I am unaware of the histories imbued in them by their previous owners. Through a process of archeological curation, I create new objects that invite queries into the values of our current sociopolitical positions with a particular focus on the ever-decreasing lifecycle of the attention economy and sustainability.

My current body of work uses mistints and discarded house paint, as these are manifestations of culture and the ever-decreasing lifecycle of our identities and the goods that support them. These goods are carriers of invisible memory. Mistint house paints are orphaned in hardware stores by customers who are not satisfied with their original color choice. As devalued, they are sold at a lower price. For me, these mistint paints represent a consumer’s hopes and dreams that have not been realized. One buys house paint to decorate quarters in their home to add desirability, enhance a home’s sophistication, or create comfort in one’s limited space. Each home holds a recollection, and its inhabitants’ persona is transcribed in the breadth of the walls. A place such as a home is a space that one has capitalized in value. Building a home is tangible, and this practice alludes to an individual creating their order of nature as a projection of their newer, improved identities.

​Process plays a central role in my work. I salvage and mold layers of paint into newfound forms, simultaneously revealing a residue in the strata of their previous lives. I produce paintings and sculptures that utilize the method of sedimentation and excavation. I reformulate the paints and materials into a visual record of history through material transformations by pouring layers to create strata-like forms. After building these repetitive layers, I expose their relationships through excavation and revealing their histories. Each layer represents a cultural/identity shedding and the excessive waste of capitalist consumer culture. These reconstructed objects allow me to focus on these abandoned materials or articles, critiquing our contemporary consumerist ideology. This method of unearthing functions to uncover buried intentions and the discarded notions of progress.

I am proud of my work and how far I have come with my conceptual thinking in my graduate program. What sets me apart is as a painter, my work expands across multiple disciplines, such as drawing, sculpture, and installation. My current research and artistic practice recontextualize material practices and take an interdisciplinary approach to art-making. I am also excited about my upcoming solo exhibition, my graduate thesis exhibition, which will be on display at Trisolini Gallery at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, from March 22nd – 26th, 2022.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
At the beginning of the COVID -19 pandemic, I lost access to my studio, and working from home forced me to become more resourceful. I spent a lot of my time in nature and realized its connection to my artistic practice. I then challenged myself to create installation art out in the middle of the woods. This allowed me to focus on my work and be socially distant from others. I became interested in how multiple sculptural works combined with the environment could create an overall experience. Time alone with my practice allowed me to try these things that I probably wouldn’t have tried in normal circumstances. Looking back, it was a challenging and scary time, but I am grateful for the overall experience and time I was allowed to dedicate to my artwork.

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