Hailing from Happy, Texas (the Town Without a Frown), Vicki Todd is a largely self-taught artist. Her fascination with art began in her Grandmother’s china shop and painting classes taught in her home attic. Todd’s Grandmother encouraged her to sit in during the classes and paint china pieces along with the adult students. At the age of 6, Todd announced that she wanted to be an artist during the question-and-answer portion of the Little Miss Happy beauty contest, which she participated in and won – a memory she recalls through her mother’s telling of the story. However, art became a part-time hobby pushed to life’s back burner.
Todd ended up living a double life. She earned a doctorate degree and taught public relations for 17 years at the university level. However, her dirty little secret was that really she was an artist at heart. She tried to live two existences, creating her art at night and any free weekends she could sneak in, but it just wasn’t enough time to explore her passion. So, she put her octogenarian mother into shock by resigning from her tenured professor position to follow her bliss of art.
After teaching in Connecticut and hosting a radio show called Unstuck JOY! The Art of Living on Purpose in Washington State, Todd now resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is focusing on her artwork full time. In 2020, she wrote a one-woman show, Shine Happy Shine!, which incorporates her vivid body print artworks and expressive fairytale mask sculptures. She is inspired by the emotion and flowing energy of the female face and figure, vivid contemporary color palettes, and floral motifs.
I am a memoir artist and sculptor.
I hand-build expressive female heads and torsos from clay, each imbued with a story to tell.
Clay coils are the basis for my sculptures. I use the same process to sculpt and carve each female face; however, through the painting and firing processes, the figures seem to take on expressions and personalities of their own volition. The eyes of the clay beings are suffused with emotion. They project determination, joy, peacefulness, or wistfulness. The sculptures usually tell me who they desire to be, and sometimes their characters are not revealed until they come out of the kiln.
Most of the faces and torsos include a floral theme, symbolizing evolution, self-growth and transformation. These themes emerge as flower stalks arising from the crowns of heads or flowering vines twining around torsos, which are sculpted from clay. Or, I free-hand sketch and paint flowering vines and female muse faces onto the sculptures’ skin, similar to colorful tattoos, or within the center of clay flowers. On some pieces, I paint the faces onto a flat surface, rather than sculpting the features from clay.
My sculptures are made from a variety of mid/high-fire clay bodies, ranging in color from smooth, white porcelain to grittier, earthy browns. I paint the pieces with color-saturated underglazes, as well as translucent and satin overglazes, giving each figure a mix of glossy and slight sheen finishes.
In addition to my clay sculptures, I paint expressive female portraits and figures on canvas. I’m interested in exploring how a common theme expresses and mirrors itself through the 3D dimensions of clay, as well as on the 2D surface of a canvas.