Todd Simpson is a prolific artist based in Melbourne. His creations range from 3D abstract sculptures through to photorealist airbrush artworks, such as this.
His latest creation “Heading Home” is very evocative of the city of Melbourne in the middle of winter, when it’s dark by 5pm and you’ve left your warm office and are heading to the train. The wet streets become mirrors of every neon sign and traffic light.
I like how he see’s beauty in what is usually seen by people as a “miserable day”. It is a great reminder to the viewer to see the beauty in everything.
This progress photo proves that it isn’t just a photograph. You can see that Todd works meticulously, almost finishing each small section at a time. Colours this vibrant usually can only be achieved by the use of transparent colours. Transparent inks are riskier to use and require more precision and care.
On a side note that you may find intersting: Opaque colours usually have white added to them to make them opaque and this lowers the vibrancy of the colour. Airbrush Supply Network manufactures a unique Opaque ink made from a new generation of opacifier, called “Hollow Cell Opacifier”. This new material does not lower the saturation / vividness of the hue. This new generation “maximum saturation” opaque ink is simply called “O Ink”.
“We can’t show you Todd’s face”, but at least he agreed to include his hand in the photo, to give you a sense of the scale of the artwork.
“The artwork was painted on aluminum composite board, a product typically used for building cladding and sign writing but perfect as an airbrushing base. I used a combination of airbrush ink brands. The finished artwork was mounted on a stretched canvas and framed with a timber gap frame. I do my own framing after completing a framing course a couple of years and having access to their facilities on an ongoing basis.
I find that the airbrush has a number of advantages over the conventional brush, one of these is in rendering ‘atmospheric’ images that contain mist, fog or blur.
From a technical perspective this image appealed to me for a couple of reasons: the blur effect of the background light was ideal to be airbrushed and it presented a challenge to paint – it wasn’t something that I’ve painted before and I’m always asking myself ‘how would I paint that’.
I painted a bokeh effect in this cityscape artwork, the term comes from the Japanese word boke which means ‘blur’ or ‘haze’. Although the bokeh effect is primarily a photographic technique I replicated it in this artwork to accentuate the distorting and abstracting effect it has on the sources of light.
I look for images images to paint that speak to me in some way (and hopefully others). Images can evoke recollections of time, place, people and emotions, for me this artwork elicits the feeling I used to get waiting for a bus or tram to escape the city on a wet, miserable night after a long day at work. This feeling is best described as just wanting to leave the troubles of the day behind and head for the sanctuary and comfort of home. Hence the artwork was called ‘Heading Home’.
The painting had hung on my wall for barely a day before it was sold through an online art gallery and was heading to its new home.”
This will not be the last time that you will see articles about Todd. Thank you to Todd for allowing me to write about him, and I look forward to his next amazing creation.
If you like this artwork, you can see many of his other creations at: