Todd Whisson is a full-time artist who grew up in the north of Brisbane and the son of hardworking parents who passed on a strong commitment to excellence and a dedication to athletic competition.
Born in 1963, Todd Whisson grew up with art all around him in a family of seven siblings. One of his strongest childhood memories is of spending time with his father, Eric Whisson a professional artist who was always content when in front of an easel or showing his work to his family. “What I remember best is the smell of paint,” Todd says. Todd’s younger brother Colley Whisson (born in 1966) is also a full-time artist.
Ken Whisson (born in 1927), the second cousin of Eric Whisson (Todd’s father), who originally lived and worked in Melbourne, is now is a highly regarded contemporary painter based in Italy.
Given Todd’s early exposure to painting, it is a little surprising that he rarely picked up an artist’s brush until he was in his early twenties. Initially he worked as a framer, but after suffering a back injury, Todd decided to give up picture framing and launched into a study of the great masters of traditional art. During this period Todd feels he developed a solid definition of what was “good art”. Early on he was struck by how the French Impressionists tended to sacrifice the drawing aspect of their art in order to get just the right vibration of pigment, producing paintings with an uncanny degree of light and atmosphere that shimmered with colour.
At the same time Todd strove to learn how best to incorporate aspects of nature that would make his paintings stronger, without becoming a slave to the scene by trying to include everything. For guidance, he turned to the works of Claude Monet, Sir Arthur Streeton and Richard Schmid, artists who he felt were extraordinarily inventive when selecting and arranging the most important elements of a scene.
“You have to make sacrifices,” Todd explains. “Maybe you’re standing in a place where the sky and the mountains are very dramatic, the trees have incredible colour and the water is vibrant. You have to decide what your painting is to be about, render that element most important, and then paint everything else to support it.”
During the mid 1980’s Todd travelled around Europe and visited many art galleries, which further strengthened his fascination for French Impressionism. Later in 2005 he visited New Zealand for a three-week painting trip to the South Island working “plein air” and producing 30 paintings. He has also spent time more recently in the United States of America where he painted and taught art in Ashville, North Carolina. He then journeyed to Italy to paint for one month, creating 60 works from this trip. Annually Todd enjoys travelling interstate where he camps out for a week to paint outdoors with artist friends. At one time this group of artists loosely called themselves the Australian Plein Air Painters.
Since 2000 Todd has attended art tutorials in Oakey, Pittsworth, Rockhampton and various other locations throughout Queensland. Since 2001, Todd has also worked as an art teacher, giving private tutorials and lessons to artists, art groups and art societies.
Todd Whisson has also judged a number of art competitions, including: the Caboolture Art Gallery Exhibition in 2001; the Maleny Art Awards in 2003 and Redcliffe Art Exhibitions in 2006.
During his art career Todd has been the recipient of many honours, including: 1st Prize Maleny Art Awards 2006/2007; 1st Prize Wilston State Primary School Art Exhibition 1996; 1st Prize Pine Rivers Shire Council Art Awards 2001; Highly Commended Redcliffe Art Society Annual Exhibition 1998; Highly Commended at the Matthew Flinders Art Competition in 2010 and 2012; Second Prize in the Griffith University Graduation Exhibition of 2014;
Todd Whisson’s work has been exhibited in many prestigious galleries and exhibitions throughout Australia, including: Group Exhibition Montville Art Gallery, 1992; Whisson Family Art Exhibition, Sunshine Seafood Restaurant Gallery, 1993; Feature Artist, St Peters Lutheran School, Brisbane, 1994; Young Achievers Invitation, Beachside Art Gallery, Noosa, 1995/1996; Solo Exhibition, White Patch Art Gallery 1997/199; Invitational 15 Artists Redcliffe Regional Art Gallery, 1999/2000; Solo Exhibition Beachside Art Gallery, Noosa 1999-2002/2005/2007; Feature Artist of the Month Montville Art Gallery, 2003 to 2008.
As well as being a successful full-time artist, Todd has also taken an active interest in further education and in 2012 completed a Diploma of Visual Arts at BNIT. From 2013 he undertook a Bachelor of Fine Art at QCA at Southbank Brisbane.
Todd Whisson’s paintings are in private collections throughout Australia and overseas.