We had the good fortune of connecting with Todd Williamson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Todd, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risks are important to keep us interested in the flow of life and alive! We need to take risks to grow and to challenge ourselves. 2020 allowed, or rather made me, take a couple of huge risks that could potentially change the course of my career.
I started working with a global luxury assest company that works exclusively with an Etherium based token called an Idon.
I had no clue how to work with cryptocurrencies!
I started researching how they work, how to work with them, etc. Lots of youtube videos, google, and calls to other artists and my lawyer!
They were amazing and very patient with me as I had a huge learning curve just to start the process!
The research peaked my interest in digital art as well as NFT”s, which at this point were still not on the radar of most people!
Since, I have created a series of digital videos and nfts based on my oil paintings but then animated and with sound, cause you just have to have sound to create a full idea!
Around this same time, I was approached to be one of the co-founders for an online gallery platform for artists called ArtEmerge. I loved the concept and how the platform vetted its artists, used important curators to create the exhibitions, received reviews on the shows, and directly connected the artists with collectors and art enthusiests. Typically galleries dont want their artist to have any connection to the collector. Connecting the artist to the collector adds a new layer of understanding about the art and why the artists does what they do so its super important!
ArtEmerge is one of the first artist-led online galleries that will have fully vetted artists and world-renowned curators creating the exhibitions. The current curator is Jennifer Chi, phd. Jennifer has a world class exhibition record and has had exhibitions reviewed in most of the top art market magazines and newspapers over the 2 decades. Cynthia Penna will also be the ongoing curatorial consultant with ArtEmerge. Coming from Italy, she and her husband created a cultural association, Art 1307, that guides artists between the US and Italy and have personally created 100’s of exhibitions that used these cross culture connections since starting their cultural association.
I know both of the curators very well and consider both to be dear friends which makes running the business even more enjoyable since I know I too am in very good, capable hands!
The team also includes a hot, young online marketing gurus and a press agent in NY that is amazing!
“UNBROKEN” Cross Currents and Contemporary Time” is the first exhibition for the gallery and goes live April 20th.
Visitors to the virtual exhibition will encounter recent artworks by two artists. Houston based artist Justin Garcia, 2019 Winner Medici Award, who has created a powerful series, and is particularly concerned with crystalizing society’s perception of time. His current series focuses on the impact of change over time.
These will be juxtaposed with the sensorial, yet elusive color field paintings by Pollock-Krasner Foundation Prize for Creativity winner, Todd Williamson. Williamson’s works immediately engage the viewer with a rich and unusually surprising use of colors. They often pull you into another world that suspends our notion of time through an explosive control of the canvas. The artworks are intended to serve as metaphors to examine, define and make sense of our place during this salient moment in world history.
All of us have to take risks! Sometimes they help to change the world to a better place for all of us!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My work, on a very basic level, is about color and how we react to it. It is my reaction to the world and the things we deal with on a daily basis. It is an attempt to create “order” where it does not always exist. It deals with the chaos of life through color and control of the surface of the work. It is heavily influenced by the Abstract Expressionist and continiues to evolve over time. I use mulitlple layers of paint applied over a base which is very important to the light that is seen within the work. This light registers sub-consciously but does is not usually noticed otherwise.
These layers create depth that elicit emotions and memory from the viewer in a effort to show my own emotional responses to the stimuli around me from the bombardment of the daily “breaking news” that we can no longer get away from.
The thin layers of paint allow the point of light to be the canvas itself creating a chiaroscuro effect in the paintings where the contrasted light and shadows fall unevenly on the surface showing depth and movement.
Hightlights in my career include my project “Processional” being chosen as an official exhibitions for the 58th Venice Biennale.
I was awarded the Pollock Prize for Creativity becoming only the 3rd artist to recieve this award after Amy Sherald.
My first solo museum show, California Dreamin’ happened in 2019 at the MAC Museum Art & Cars, Singen Germany.
In the past 2 years, I have begun researching the effects color and sound have on the human condition and incorporating this into many parts of the way I work. I love the idea that color and sound have the ability to heal. I think we have always known that but science is just now proving it.
I am also very excitcited about new emerging technologies and the possabilities they create for creatives.
In 2020, I was part of a short documentary film called “Dreams in Color” that was directed by Andrew Schwartz. It was such a fun project and has taken on a life of its own! Andrew premiered it at a number of film festivals where it was the official selection at many and recently, it won two awards from the Art Non-Stop International Film Festival in Buenos Aires! I was amazed, especially since they also gave me a special artist recognition award!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Because I travel for work a lot, I meet people from all over the world. When they come to LA, they always stay at our home in West Hollywood, where I have lived on and off for 30 years! We rarely drive since we are close enough to walk everywhere! We usually start at lunch at Tu Madre on Hayward and then make our way to the Abbey. I’ve know David Cooley since the Abbey was a coffee shop and he was a banker! I think this is the perfect place to show out of towners the LA vibe!
My new lun;ch place when Im at the studio is Tu Madre on Hayworth. Its got this great atmosphere withnan wrap around patio thats justn amazing!
For a nice dinner, my favorite place is Il Piccolino on Robertson. Silvio has greeted guests for decades always in his 3 piece suit and immaculate manners! The ambiance, the food, the wine are what a romantic dinner creates the perfect romantic dinner always!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have so many people that I could do a huge shoutout to! Jennifer Chi, Cynthia Penna, Nicholas Marlin, Justin Garcia, Roz Joseph, just to start with the people that are the team for ArtEmerge! I am excited about the gallery and the endless possibilities it has as an artists platform!
photography-Todd Williamson Dreams in Color- Andrew Schwartz, Lion Heart Films