Brooke Hoffman • The Philadelphia Examiner • June, 2010

Along with teaching middle school art and being a family man, Todd Marrone is an artist. He relates more to graphic or comic book artists, but still appreciates more traditionally known painters like Picasso. His work is very pop-culture based and is influenced by Keith Herring and John Burgerman. Marrone feels his artistic style helps create a connection between the art world and his students. It appeals to them and gives them a sense that they too can become artists. As a teacher, he has been very supportive of his students; recently he and a former student, now a senior in high school, have collaborated on a series of paintings that can be currently seen at MilkBoy, Bryn Mawr entitled the “Colabyrinth.” Another student, who is currently a sophomore at Drexel, started the Formation Skateboard Company and has worked with Marrone on about twelve different board designs.

While Marrone’s students enjoy his work they sometimes become bored or overwhelmed with older art periods or styles. Marrone tries to find ways for students to “sink their teeth” into art. For example, he sees most students struggling with impressionist painters, so he focuses on the history of the artist. Students tend to be more interested when they find out the rebellious history behind the paintings.

Marrone’s art can defiantly be seen as a product modern times. In order to get his art into people’s hands he jumped on the internet years before Twitter. He soon found his work being influenced by the techno distribution methods. By browsing his work it can be noticed that most of his pieces have singular, short words for titles. That became more of technical decision rather that creative; when he originally began uploading thumbnails of his painting to the web it was difficult to fit longer titles therefore brevity became habit.

He believes art can be accessible to new audiences. There is a snooty stigma behind the way art is marketed, “If you ask someone about a movie or TV show people will give an answer without being a filmmaker, but with art, people will just say ‘I’m not an artist.'” Since he makes his livelihood through teaching he has been able to take more liberties with his art. It has allowed him more “freedom” to make his work more accessible without having to think in terms of profit. “People who need art can’t always afford it,” he explains. Marrone is as accessible as his artwork; he’s willing to create unique pieces and work with an individual’s budget.

Comments are closed.