9407 Sawmill Run Road, Little Valley, NY 14755
Batavia, NY native Todd Plough became an artist at a very young age. Now, the award-winning artist routinely appears during Routes to Art to share his talent through oil paintings inspired by the world around him. Plough looks forward to receiving visitors to his studio, showing his latest art, and allowing guests to “feel the vitality of the place and see that an artist lives their job.”
When did you begin painting?
Making art began at about the age of 3-½ for me. I remember drawing a small giraffe on one of my mother's recipe cards with a red pen, and fortunately, years later, she sent it to me. It's one of my greatest treasures.
What inspired you to become an artist?
Realistically, I don't think anyone chooses to become an artist. I think you are born one, just like being born male or female. The choice is whether you have the courage to be who God made you.
What inspires your work?
Nowadays, I am inspired by lighting effects that I have never seen in the natural world, and I try to recreate a similar sensation to share with those who were not in attendance. Creation is magnificent! Just when you think you've seen it all, God stirs up some other disposable masterpiece that makes me just say, “Wow.” His imagination is what inspires me.
How long does it take for you to create a piece of artwork?
Everything that comes off my brush has taken a lifetime plus the minutes, hours or years it took to complete. Some work can come off in less than an hour, other pieces have taken over a decade to mature.
What do you find most challenging about your work?
In my experience, the most important thing to remember about making art is to always do things that fill your heart's toy-box. Anything that causes a sense of wonder, affirmation of the beauty of life, the grandeur of this creation, that makes you smile … these are the things to hold fast and not let the economics dictate the travels of my brush. People can see your heart in a thing more than you might suspect. Years ago, I geared my work toward sales versus inspiration, but always would sneak in one of two pet pieces. Without fail, people would always be drawn to what I had secretly loved and painted, and this caused me to take note that I needed to just paint what filled my heart's toy-box and others would appreciate it by virtue of its integrity, and more importantly, its spirit.
How has your work changed/evolved over time?
Over time the images that have come out of me have certainly become more subtle in their colors, edges and subjects. All my paintings are metaphor in some way and self-portrait in every way. Every artist has their influences and they change. Now my focus is on simple things that I have never seen in just such a way before and wish to share them.
Is there anything you would change about the perception of art?
There are artists and then there are artists. There are wonderful illustrators who can make photographic images with paint, etc. This is a necessary skill set in my view; however, the ultimate measure of "good artist" is not how "real" they can make a thing look - anyone can learn how to do that. The measure in my book is how deep can you make someone feel something. Can you take them worlds away from things they've known, and upon their return, grace them with a key to enter intimate and personal frontiers they had never imagined - until now.
What aspect of your work are you most proud of?
One of the worst things that can happen to an artist is often success. When you're hungry, you've got something to prove and you go at it with a fire. If I have to put it on the line, I would say I am most proud of God using me as a vehicle to communicate the wonder of this place. I did not make my hands or eyes, my mind, tongue or spirit, nor did I make the canvas, brush or paints, but through grace I have been allowed to share what I see as beautiful.
What do you look forward to most about Routes to Art?
I look forward to being able to talk to individuals who may have no experience with the process of art making or the reason for art making. Sharing the “why” of it all is most rewarding to me. It is my sincere hope that people can see my work as a visual diary of a good life. A life that sees God's masterworks at every turn like the wonder in the patterns of sunlit frost or sublime beauty of moonlight in a forest. In seeing how an artist makes these things tangible, I hope to open the eyes of others to the wonder of life. It's all about perspective.
If someone has never attended Routes to Art, what would you say to encourage attendance?
RTA is a very ambitious concept that has really been a marvelous journey. The Cattaraugus County Arts Council are pretty amazing group of people considering they have to work with artists, and the council actually makes things happen in the real world. It’s guaranteed that if anyone comes through the artists’ studios, they will find artists to be real people who wholeheartedly enjoy life and want to share how to have that passion for life with others. In short - it's life affirming.
What is something you would like the public to know about your work that they might not otherwise know?
This is the hardest question. Most people don't know I have been making art for about 45 years, which is pretty shocking even to me. Some of the paintings or drawing they get to see first-hand may have been done the night before a show and are still wet, or they may have taken 15 years to complete. There is a wide variety of work relative to both style and content in the studio as well. Despite the stylistic variations, I try to polish my work to the highest level of refinement. I promise people that they will see some very high-end work at my studio, not that of a mere hobbyist, but rather a disciple of light.