Some people are born knowing the path they want to follow in life. But for many others, finding true calling is a process. Todd Gutmann has followed that process in finding his life calling and in creating art.
Todd was born and raised in Ames, Iowa. His father was a photographer, and Todd inherited his artist’s eye and way of seeing the world. Todd has great memories of helping his father film basketball and football games at Iowa State University. His father’s photographs and films are among his most treasured possessions.
After moves with his family to Minneapolis and Colorado, Todd attended Iowa State University. He graduated with a degree in ad design. While he enjoyed his art classes, he never considered a career in art. He was interested in design, and pursuing a career in advertising.
After graduation he moved to Dallas and began work as a graphic designer. He worked for both ad agencies and as a freelance designer. He eventually landed at Berry Brown Advertising, where he began work in print production. He continued to develop his skills in print production at other firms, before landing at The Richards Group in 1991. During this time he married, and had two children.
Over the next decade he worked in print production and devoted his time to being a dad, including participating in Indian Guides, Cub Scouts and sports with his boys. While he continued to draw and paint, his art was nothing more than an enjoyable hobby.
As time passed, several events combined to push Todd to find a new direction for his art. He enjoyed his job in advertising, but his time at work was spent primarily in details and numbers. He longed to find creative expression. When he came across a series of barn paintings by artist Ted Larsen, he found himself recalling the Iowa farmland of his childhood. At the same time, he was reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. This inspired him to use his creative mind, and do his own series of barn paintings. When he completed these, he knew that he had found his calling and his passion.
Over the years he has continued to develop and grow as a painter, taking classes, working on techniques, and trying new styles. His art includes his love of the Midwest, his love of sports, and his continual search for images that bring meaning.
In 2012 he completed a painting of coffee mugs, inspired by his desire to keep alive his connection with his father, who died of Alzheimer’s in 2000. He shared his painting with the Alzheimer’s Association, in hopes that they could use it some way. Since then, he has partnered with Becky Prince and the Alzheimer’s Association to create art that encourages and inspires both patients and caregivers. His goal is to create art that inspires a connection with the viewer, and invites them to participate in the image by finding their own meaning in what they see.