With each feature, our aim of the game is to connect you with atoms in the local art molecule. We take the Field of Dreams, build-it-and-they-will-come approach to content creation. Call it optimistic, but we’re an optimistic brand. We believe art has a strong chance to influence. Creating opportunities for artistic voices primes our community for a more livable local scene - more stylish bars and restaurants, better design and architecture, and, fingers crossed, more open minds.
So let's keep it rolling. We welcome Todd Beats to the store this month. Todd is a high-volume, clock-racing portrait painter, with a knack for relaying his subjects’ expressions on a limited color palette. We caught up with Todd via email.
TL: Hi Todd! Tell us a little about your work - where did you grow up and how did you get introduced to art?
TB: I was born in Denver, CO, but I've been an Okie since '89. Growing up in the 80's and 90's in the Midwest meant finding ways to entertain yourself. I was always fascinated with drawing, and I have done it since I could hold a crayon. My tween and teen years were enveloped with comic books and the art that came with it. Physical anatomy, dynamic posing, facial expression, proportion, etc drove my obsession and skills. Eventually evolving into portraiture and other artistic mediums.
TL: We'll swing back around to the portraiture. Do you have any formal training in art?
TB: Ha! Not a lick! I took a couple "art" classes in high school, but they were teaching elements that were already well-established skills in my repertoire. So it was mostly a waste of time. Can you tell why I had a hard time in high school?
TL: At least that wasn't the top of the mountain, right? The Todd star is still rising! Now, going into this show, are there any major themes or ideas in the mix?
TB: This show is all about the improvement and exercising of my skills as an artist. Simplifying and accelerating my process was a major focus, but honestly my favorite part is how the fan participation that helped drive the creation of these 20+ portraits.
TL: That's right, you mentioned that. Facebook and Instagram voters were choosing subjects for your 1-hour paintings. It lends a very interactive, pop-culture vibe to some of your work. What is it that draws you to portrait painting?
TB: There are some foundational truths I have found in art, and one of them is; if you can accurately manifest someone's likeness, and/or the physical form in general, everything else is easy. People don't understand how little forgiveness there is in portraiture. A line that's a centimeter off, or a shadow that is the wrong tone will completely change how someone looks. Being able to capture someone's likeness is just straight up rewarding.
TL: Change of pace question - do you listen to music while you work? What have you been listening to?
TB: So I actually have been a music producer for over 12 years. I have a huge catalog of my own work that I tend to listen to. I know that sounds egotistical, and to some degree, it is. But I liken it being a skilled chef. If you can make exactly what you want to eat, why would you risk having someone else make you something that doesn't satisfy your craving.
TL: Strong analogy game. That's awesome. Let's talk Oklahoma. What is it like being an artist out here? Advantages or disadvantages?
TB: Simply stated: Big fish, small pond and all the positives and negatives that come with that. Oklahoma has blown up in the last 5-10 years as far as the art community goes. I'm stoked to see all the amazing talent that has grown from this relatively small/big city.
TL: Todd, it's been a pleasure. Thanks so much for your time. We're excited for the show. Give us an outro, where else can people find more of your work?
TB: Thanks! You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram @toddbeats. I paint live frequently, and my wife and I have a live morning show every weekday. You can follow us @morning_tna or watch us live on her Facebook account, Ashtyn Anderson.
Todd's show opens at 7PM during Live on the Plaza (3/10)! You can catch him live painting in-store. His work will remain up throughout March. Pieces will be available for sale, and the man himself will be available for similar commissions. Put on your art show shoes and swing by!