Todd Stokes, a Blue Ribbon winner in River City Art Association’s ninth annual juried exhibition, is RCAA’s September Artist of the Month at the Vigo County Public Library.
The Evansville native grew up in Terre Haute where he became an honor graduate of Indiana State University’s School of Fine Arts in 1983 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in fine art photography and a minor emphasis in plexiglas sculpture.
Stokes not only finds an expressive outlet with photography, he also enjoys creating interesting two- and three-dimensional etched glass art incorporating basic geometric shapes as key elements in his designs. Working with glass is an extension of his experience in plexiglas with a constructionist twist as he continues to explore three-dimensional works combining hand cut glass with unique etched design work.
By day, Stokes is co-manager and design artist at The Golden Frame in Terre Haute. By night, he works in his art studio in Dennison, Ill., where he reimagines the rural landscape – specifically trees – to feature in his award-winning photographic images, glass etchings and sculptures.
“As I walk around the yard and trek through the woods around the house, I become extremely aware of subtle details; the draping shadows of a limb across the trunk of a tree, a brightly lit spot of leaves in an otherwise darkly shaded area, or an interesting leaf that catches my attention out of the corner of my eye,” Stokes said. “Some of these I attempt to capture through ‘the lens.’ Some of them I study with wonder, internalizing the essence of why it has stopped me in my tracks demanding my attention.”
“These are the moments that spark the creative process,” he added. “Thoughts, ideas, feelings registered and filed away into the murky master file of an artist’s mind. Constantly swirling, churning, simmering until they coalesce into a clarified tangible concept which leads the artist to a finished piece of art.”
“Constructed View,” one of the art pieces featured in Stokes’ library exhibit, is a prime example of his creative thought process on an even grander scale. “It’s four gallery wrapped canvas photos displayed together to give the illusion of looking out a window,” Stokes said. “It measures 9 feet wide by 3 feet tall.”
Prior to taking first place honors for his 3-D etched glass mixed media entry, “Strata,” in RCAA’s August exhibition, Stokes’ “Autumn Beech” received an honorable mention in the Annual Midwest Photography Juried Exhibition in the Bicentennnial Art Center at Paris, Ill., and a Champion award in the Open Class Digital Photography division at this year’s Vigo County 4-H Fair. At the Wabash Valley Art Guild spring show, Stokes was awarded an honorable mention in the 3D category for his glass etching titled “Family.”
In addition to RCAA, Stokes’ memberships include Terre Haute South Rotary, Watermark Artist Collective, Arts Illiana, Wabash Valley Art Guild, Southwest Indiana Arts Council in Evansville, Gaslight Art Colony in Marshall, Ill., and the Bicentennial Art Center. He also is vice president of RCAA and director of the Carolyn Toops Gallery in Community Theatre of Terre Haute.
Stokes’ artwork in the library will be featured in October in RCAA’s outreach gallery in Harrison College.
Membership in RCAA is open to any Indiana or Illinois artist age 18 and older. Meetings are at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the Vigo County Public Library at Seventh and Poplar streets. For more details, call Stokes at 812-232-0048 or visit RiverCityArt.org.