Todd Horton: Smudged reveries

Written By:

From a small village in Ohio to Cologne, Germany to North Africa, several continents in between, and finally now in Edison, Todd Horton has not only lived and artist’s dream, but delivers it on canvas.

In his fifth solo show, local artist Todd Horton investigates dreams through vision, desire and movement, showcasing his talents at the Smith & Vallee gallery in Edison on July 7th.indulging in similar themes found in his previous works, where his own tweaked perspective shapes the natural world around him. This time, however, distorted flora and fauna leap off the wall in a blurred, single movement.

Despite never having pictured himself an animal painter, an incident involving a fox and van changed Horton’s artistic direction forever. The direction was fatal – Horton collided with a fox crossing the road near Woodstock, NY ten years ago. The result of the wreck was Horton’s gruesome aftermath of a dead animal fighting for its life. As one expects the car won, but the result was Horton’s new sense of the world beyond human suffering. Consequently, the following day, he stumbled upon the complete skeleton of a deer that affected him so profoundly that it completed changed the roadmap of his career as an artist. The car accident enabled him to shift gears emotionally and with his paintings.

The car accident and the deer bones discovery enabled him to shift gears emotionally and with his paintings. Horton’s enlightened outlook inspired him to create a series of large-scale animal paintings, as a kind of memorial to the fox and the deer. Three months later he was honored at the Columbus Museum of Art for his piece entitled the “Deer.”

Following the success he received from audiences in the Mid-west, Horton decided to move his talents over two-thousand miles away, to the landscape-rich Skagit Valley town of Edison.

“For me personally the biggest component is visual, natural landscape and man made landscape,” explains the artist. He continues with the ingredients necessary for his own idea of living the good life, “The next most important is a “sense of place”, the concern and pride connected to the landscape, history, community and shared future.”

No doubt that the Skagit Valley’s colorful backdrop, and panoramic views of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) countryside have played a part in his work since moving from Ohio.

Here he details his particular reasons for moving to the PNW, “I think the main reason I moved here was this is where most of the things I like to paint are. I was already painting some of this stuff in Ohio with small amounts of audience success.”

Horton counts Bellingham also as an inspiration. Since living on Chuckanut Bay, he has created over 50 paintings of Chuckanut Island, encouraged by its stature amongst the other islands in the North Puget Sound. According to the artist, the island provided stimulating colors and vibes central to his nature themes aesthetic.

“I would never have imagined a few years ago painting one subject over and over and not getting bored with it but actually delving deeper and deeper into the subtleties of the landscape,” describes Horton.

Horton spreads new images with palette knife and squeegee back to the Skagit Valley with his next show, as he takes the same dedicated approach to the study of dreams and movement. The foundation of his animal characters are first rounded up via Google search, and then re-imagined through Horton’s mind’s eye. As a result they are reconstructed into ghost-like figures suspended in motion.

Todd Horton along with the North Cascades Institute will also present a 3-day painting workshop at NCI’s Diablo Lake Environmental Learning Center, for those interested.

To register, or for more information, go to: ncascades.org/signup/programs/paintings-in-motion