ELLINWOOD — With a eye towards the surreal and with the deep roots of faith, Ellinwood native Todd Fox will exhibit his artwork of the “Passion of Christ” at the Ellinwood School/Community Library this week and during November.
Fox grew up in Ellinwood and is the son of Austin and Dianna Fox. He graduated from Ellinwood High School in 1991 and credits the outstanding art program of the Ellinwood school system and the role models who pushed him to think outside the box for his success in art. Those teachers were Edgar Sturtz,Vern Fryberger, Leon Sobba and Wilbur Hogg.
“Ellinwood had a great art program. Edgar Sturtz got me into the history of art,” said the artist.
Fox is currently working as a dispatcher for airline company Omni Int. in Claremore, Okla., which does charter flights for defense all over the world. He has been working as an airline dispatcher for 10 years. Prior to that, he worked at ACS Computers in Great Bend.
He describes his beginnings in art. “Since I was a child drawing in coloring books, I stopped doing the pages with lines and drew my own pictures.”
The artist watched the movie, “The Passion of the Christ” by Mel Gibson and began thinking of current series. “The Passion” is based on the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life.
He thought about his current show for one-and-a half years before he painted it. Using monochromatic forms in the colors of the rainbow, each of the eight paintings matches the emotion in the scene with color. Birds are the characters instead of humans. Fox was pleased with the way it turned out.
“I tapped into my own emotions,” he said. “It causes conversation.”
“A calling came to me,” Fox said. “I could never unthink it.”
He even questioned himself whether he was good enough to paint it.
It turns out that he is.
“Everything came to me,” he said. “I looked at some photos of birds.” The ideas melded, and he created the series.
Fox likes to paint things related in his life, using difficult or painful events as examples of how others might have felt. He is currently working on a series on the Nativity, which is of a similar style to “The Passion.”
Fox is turning back to his roots. His father and mother were both pastors in the Methodist Church, and his brother Monty is a pastor.
“It’s just natural how you were raised as a child comes out sooner or later,” he said. “Religion was instilled in me. It was natural to paint something spiritual.”
About five years ago, he married Karen Brown Fox from Hoisington.
Todd would like to paint full-time.
He definitely, though, would like to come back to home of his heart, Kansas.