Todd Thomas Brown is an interdisciplinary artist who has dedicated 20 years to cultivating “spaces of encounter” - environments that facilitate happenstance social interaction through deepening and diversifying cultural participation. He says he draws his inspiration from the example of biodiversity that can be seen through the world's ecosystems, where everything is interdependent and evolving through a continuous interweave of relationships. Similar to what author and art critic Suzi Gablik once described as the “aesthetics of connection”, Brown states, “When people enter into a feeling of connection, they become more alive. It’s really that simple. . . and it’s remarkable how this immediately enlivens their own sense of a creative existence”.
Todd’s work spans visual arts, music, folkloric and contemporary dance, performative inquiry, and social-cultural/community-based initiatives. As a visual artist, Todd has 25 years combined experience in oil painting and mixed media. As a performing artist, Todd has been awarded grants in disciplines of music and theater from the San Francisco Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission. His projects include collaborative music ensemble Nefasha Ayer - The Space of in Between, dance-theater production of Teobi's Dreaming - A performative Inquiry into Biology and Being, This. Now. - a choreographic work presented in 2016 at Dance Mission's D.I.R.T. Festival and PUSHfest Dance Festival at ODC Theater in San Francisco, and the 2017 interdisciplinary performance ensemble Scarlett Cushion.
Todd has performed and/or presented work at Brava Theater, Z Space, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Stage Werx, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, CounterPulse, Bumbershoot Festival, the de Young Museum, the Mondavi Center for Performing Arts, Vorpal Gallery, ArtMarket/Budapest, Hungary, the Errol Barrow Center for Creative Imagination, Bridgetown, Barbados, La Noche and La Casona, Lima, Peru, WunderKammer, Naples, Italy, and Festival de Teatro Panameño, Panama City, Panama. He has taught at the Perry Mansfield Performing Arts School in Steamboat Springs, CO, the Architecture Department at the University of the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and has served as Project Director and Music Curator for Flying Under the Radar Festival of the Arts, a bi-national arts festival framed around multidisciplinary collaborative partnerships between artists of the San Francisco/Bay Area and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Among Todd’s long-term social practice projects are the Red Poppy Art House of San Francisco (2003-present), the Mission Arts & Performance Project/MAPP (2003-present). In 2015, Todd was named to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts YBCA 100 list, an annual compilation of the creative minds, makers, and pioneers that are asking the questions and making the provocations that are propelling new culture making across the nation. He was also a recipient of a 2006 Mastermind award in arts by the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Todd has participated in artist residencies and/or fellowships with San Francisco’s de Young Museum (2009, 2011/12), Residencia el Otro Lado, Chiapas, MX. 2009/10), and CounterPulse's EDGE Residency in San Francisco, California (2016/17).
Since 2019, Todd has been based in the medieval mountain village of Fontecchio, Abruzzo, Italy, located within the Sirente-Velino Regional Park. Here he has been working with the local mayor, Sabrina Ciancone, and artist collectives from the local region of L’Aquila, to imagine new cultural possibilities to re-enliven villages such as Fontecchio which have suffered ongoing depopulation since the end of WWll. Present initiatives include the Fontecchio International Airport, a ‘space of encounter’ seated within a 19th century noble house to host international artist residencies and community-engaged events. In October, 2020, in collaboration with local artists and property owners, a festival similar to San Francisco’s MAPP was launched, with 50 artists animating 11 different locations, and drawing 200 attendees, throughout Fontecchio’s sparsely populated historic center. Local community members said it was the largest event in recent memory (in a village with a population of 350, one that 100 years ago had a population above 1300).