“No one gets more involved in your artwork than you do,” says Glenn Todd of Take Notice Designs.
Todd, born in the United States and raised in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, began with an early interest in drawing and cartooning and quickly found himself with a career in graphic design and advertising. He chalks up the move to just being what most people who love to draw do after receiving a diploma.
But after 20 years, he got a bit bored and needed a change. In the advertising world, you’re always providing work for someone else’s brief. And that can be genuinely fulfilling, but your own message builds up over time.
So in 2012, it spilled over, popped out, and wound up splayed on “tin can-vases.” Art is internal. It doesn’t matter that some people don’t get it – you’re your own client! Todd states solidarity with the vast majority of artists saying, “I would produce my art nearly full-time if I didn’t have to worry about cost.”
Todd’s process is pretty unique – by design. His “grunky” (read: funky meets industrial grunge) works are a product of an early decision to forego typical canvases. For a start, it was too easy. He was ready for a challenge. He also wanted a point of difference with other artists – to leave a physical trace separate from other contributions to the art world. This theme continues even to the imprint found on all of Todd’s works: the monogram (GDT) turned insect that is dated and marked with his own fingerprints. In future works, Todd plans to use different forms of the artist’s physical DNA as well.
His Tin Can-Vas Series starts with can collection. They need to be cleaned (occasionally of dog food, baby food, and other gooey urban matter), cut, flattened, secured to MDF panels, and then protected through an oven-curing process. And that’s just to make his “can-vas!” The images themselves are produced on computers – either in Illustrator or Photoshop. They’re transferred to the work by flatbed scanner or printer. The process is similar to silkscreen, but with inkjets. Other metal styles are planned for the future.
Coming from an advertising background, titles of works are hugely important to Todd. The wordplay and puns are taglines – a comment on consumerism ironically pasted over reclaimed materials and blown up to pretty massive, heavy proportions. As he pens, his work is meant to hang in wide, open spaces, “silent, but not invisible.” The art is silent. But that voice in the back of your head, catching the irony and letting it spit itself back at the audience is not.
Since his departure from the advertising and graphic design world, Todd has also taken the dive into teaching. Currently teaching in a secondary school, Todd gets both enjoyment and inspiration from being in the classroom. His ultimate goal is to do a few days teaching art and a few days making his own each week. The teaching process is another creative outlet for Todd. It’s an important part of the ideal balance he’s cultivating: teaching, family, and art. Sharp Attack is a rare smaller work that was created to be donated to Scotch College in Melbourne for their art auction to raise funds for the school.
His biggest advice for aspiring artist is to team up with someone who has a specialty for marketing and finding that target market for you audience. It’s about finding the right people at the right time for your art. He was given a great piece of advice early on, “prepare small samples first to test the market.” This is going to be more cost effective for the artist and allow you to break into audiences that will become advocates for the art you’re creating.