I was born on Flag Day, June 14, 1964, a left-handed Gemini born in the year of the Dragon.
I grew up in Dover, Delaware encouraged by my mother to always make art. She always did.
I started carving when I was 11 and won a Best of Show for a floating decorative Mallard decoy a couple years later.
I spent my summers on the eastern shores of Delaware. That's me the 4th guy from the left in the first row knelling).
After graduating from Emory University in 1986, I moved back to the beach for one last summer on the beach patrol. I ran in the USLA (United States Lifesaving Association) Lifeguard Olympics in an event called Beach Flags, a sprinting race in the soft sand, that is a cross between musical chairs and the 40 yard dash. I was eliminated in the first round of the final heat. I began to write about the experience.
I moved to New York to write FLAGS, a reimagined telling of the story of the Beach Flags event and the run up to it that summer. I pursued modeling, and one day while waiting to meet a photographer in Hell's Kitchen, I told my story idea to a movie producer who was renting the photographer space. She gave me a job, a place to stay, and the support I needed to write the FLAGS script.
I got a job at a collectible toy store on West Broadway in Soho. That store had the first color copier in the neighborhood and all the local artist and designers would bring their work to make copies inevitably discarding what they didn't want. I started to collect the images that spoke to me and put them together on a large vision board. Collaging became a central practice to explore story and intuition.
America Her History of the United States, Todd Monaghan, 2005, 48" x 72", oil picture collage.
My primary focus at this time was the writing and getting the scripts produced however, whenever I got writer's block I would step away and freely flow with the collage.
With time I began to paint the collages until the collages where almost completely obscured. The Shri Mona Lisa, pictured below, was one of my earliest paintings. You can see the texture (which became a driving force in my work later on) created by the collage below. If you look closely you can see a bit of the collage, a light post, in the energy vortex to the right.
Shri Mona, Todd Monaghan, 1994, 30" x 40", oil sticks on picture collage.
I attended an intensive continuing education film program at NYU and shot a trailer for my first short film, the Illumination.
The Illumination short film screening at Tribeca Film Festival Invitation, Tuesday, May 14th, 1992.
One of my friends from the Central Park dance circle helped out as a production assistant and photographer. I found out later that Gregory was an Ivy league educated painter, a graduate of RISD at Brown University. We began to work together in his expansive studio in the Whistling Tower high above Central Park. At the time, Al Pacino lived below him. I spent several years working with Gregory and learned how to paint by collaborating with the master. I learned how to take chances, constantly reinvent the game of painting, keep things original and always try to "see" from a fresh perspective. I had my first art shows with Gregory on the LES (Lower East Side).
My brother, a fellow Eagle Scout, gave me my first commission just before the turn of the millennium. He asked me to paint an American Flag. He paid for the materials and only asked that the painting be layered and thick with texture and that it incorporate the earth tones. The original "American Beauty" painting was born.
American Beauty, Todd Monaghan, 2000, 48" x 72", oil and egg shells on canvas.
I dedicated the painting to the American Indians who I have always felt have been overlooked when telling the story of this country. Pareidolia, or seeing faces in things, surfaced in my work. Look closely and you can see the face of an American Indian at the center of the painting.
I returned to Emory for a class reunion with an 8.5" x 11" picture of the original American Beauty and shared it with whoever would look at it. The university purchased the new version of the painting, sight unseen, and dedicated it to the alumni of the school who died during the attack.
During the events of September 11, 2001, I was working in the North Tower of the World Trade Center as a legal assistant.
American Beauty 911, Todd Monaghan, 2001, 64" x 84", oil, canvas and egg shells on canvas.
tm with American Beauty 911 at its home at the Woodruff Auditorium at Emory University, Atlanta, GA
In the days and months after 911, I made a second American Beauty painting. I called it "American Beauty 911". I made it much larger and tried to incorporate the feelings I, the rest of the city, as well as the rest of the country was experiencing. I wasn't sure what I would do with such a large painting, I only knew that I had to paint it.
While visiting LA to pitch the Illumination as a feature film I shot a "selfie" in the flee bag hotel room I was staying at in Hollywood. I submitted the photo to a competition with See/me, The Story of the Creative. The picture was selected and it was displayed on a gigantic digital billboard on Times Square.
Selfie 101, Todd Monaghan, 2013, photograph.
I continued to work with Gregory, on and off, for several years collaborating on a large series of works with various materials and mediums.
One afternoon Gregory took a picture of me holding a piece of polycarbonate with my Iphone. The picture won the Fifth Annual Exposure Award Exhibition, and was displayed at the Musee du Louvre, Paris, France.
Alianation of tm, 2015, Gregory Ilich photo of Todd Monaghan with Iphone and polycarbonate sheet.
The Illum, a graphic novel, cover.
The short film the Illumination became a feature film script that became a graphic novel called The Illum that will be released in 2020. Stay tuned!
Jasper Johns and tm
Jasper Jones and tm at Chelsea opening.
Chuck Close and tm at MOMA Garden Party.
Fay Gold and tm at tm Boundless Show, Kailin Arts, Atlanta, GA
Kenny Scharf and tm MOMA Garden Party
tm and Fay Gold at Kai Lin Arts opening
Anita Durst with tm at the annual ChaShaMa Gala, NYC
tm and Anita Durst at the annual chashama fund raising event.
MOMA Garden Party, 2016, courtesy of Artnet.
MOMA Garden Party, 2016, courtesy of Artnet.
The uptown space doubles as both a gallery and a place to create.
tm and Kirkar with Cattail 101 and 102, 2017.
Breathe, dance and Let Go, tm at Garner Arts Center, 2017
Studio visit with SOHO Artist James Sullivan.
Visiting Beth DeWoody's Bunker Space in West Palm Beach, FL.
The Rites of Spring.
MOMA Garden Party with James Richards.
In 2018 I was invited to participate in the Pearly Gates Walter Hopps collection. 1 renowned curator, 50 renowned artist touched by his work.
Sunset in Joshua Tree National Park.
With Artist/Curator Michael McCall.
Discussing the work at the opening.
In 2018 I also returned to Miami Basel for a solo show at the SLS Hotel South Beach. My second show at SLS and third show at Miami Basel.
SLS Katsuya, SOBE, main room.
Art Writer Anthony Haden Guest admiring the work.
Black Night Sky Circles leading to the second floor of the show.
With "Last Supper", Dragon Lounge upstairs SLS, SOBE.
With Tschabalala Self at her Facebook Fringe Projects event.
Working Miami Basel.
2019 has seen the creation of the dream catcher series
Proposed Night Sky Circle.
and a return to Miami Basel with them. Follow the journey here: