Sponge Bob Square Pants, a British Princess and Coca-Cola Light

What do Sponge Bob Square Pants, a British Princess and Coca-Cola Light all have in common?

 Believe it or not there is one common denominator, the International artist Todd White. For those of you who might not know a great deal about Todd, here is some background information.

            Todd was born in Texas in 1969, where his grandmother and mother, both artists, were a major influence on him. In the early 1990’s Todd had an opportunity to move to California. He ended up in Hollywood where he began a career in animation at Warner Bros. He worked on the popular Tiny Toons series. From there he went on to be a part of the lead design and animation team for SpongeBob SquarePants.

            Todd was chosen as the Official Artist of the 49th Grammy Awards in 2007 and in 2009 he was invited by Warner Bros. to be a part of a major exhibition commemorating the 70th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz.

            In early 2010 he began work on a Special Project for Coca-Cola. Todd was selected as the first fine artist to design a set of limited edition Coca-Cola Light bottles and cans. There are six designs in the series which were released August 2010 in Mexico. At this time they are not scheduled to be released anywhere else.

The designs are:

Laughter

Kisses

Sundays

Traffic

Vacation

Happy Endings

Eating (This bottle was designed but appears to have not been released)

 I recently had the opportunity to interview Todd White about his latest project. This is what he had to say:

 Where do you draw your inspiration from?

TW   “From a number of sources.  Sometimes songs take me somewhere and I have to paint about it.  Sometimes I’ll see a photo or hear a conversation or phrase and it will inspire me to do my take on it.  But most of the time my inspiration just comes from life–thoughts floating around in my head that are randomly connected to life itself and the daily things that happen.”

 When you think of Coca-Cola, what memories or feelings does it stir in you?

TW  “For me, it was playing in Little League baseball games in Texas as a child.  After the game ended, all the players would go to the concession stand and get a free Coke.  Hot day + baseball + ice cold Coke = great fun.”

When and how did you first become interested in art/painting? When did you realize you had a talent for drawing?

TW  “I didn’t realize I could paint; I just always painted. I grew up in an artist household– my Mom is a painter as was my Grandmother, who passed away recently.  They were a big influence on me.  They always encouraged me with my art, whether it was with a box of crayons or a paint brush and paint.  As I grew, drawing, painting, and creating art was my sole focus–and I have the grades to prove it! As a child, I can remember watching my Mother paint all the time, smelling the turpentine in the air, hearing the sounds of her quietly painting.  That was my entertainment.  But before you can paint, you have to learn to draw.  I began with drawing, since it was so easy to do–pencil and paper and you’re off to the races.” 

 How was it working with The Coca-Cola Company on your bottle designs?

TW  “Working with Coca-Cola was exciting – Coke is part of our pop culture, a common touchstone for people all over the world.  It has inspired scores of artists, from Andy Warhol and Keith Haring to Norman Rockwell and Guy Peellaert and everyone in between. This served as my inspiration, both in working with Coca-Cola and in creating the initial sketches for the project.  Any marriage between art and the corporate world is precarious, at best, but in this case I think we have achieved something that invokes thoughts of joy, romance, laughter and intimacy, feelings that, like art itself, the world could use a little more of.”  

 What are you trying to convey in the Coca-Cola bottle art work?

TW  “The basic notion was to create sketches that would convey a single positive inspirational message or thought–such as ‘we need more romance’, ‘we need more laughter’ or ‘we need more happy endings’–that would serve to take the viewer to another place for a moment or two.”  

 What research did you do for the Coca-Cola Special Project?

TW  “Not much research, really, since I am drawing everyday.  I did have to think a lot about the project and what messages or thoughts might be conveyed by various images.  And there were many, many drafts that never made it to the bottles.  In fact, if you are interested in the evolution of the project, I will soon be releasing the six sketches that I originally conceived as part of a limited edition set.” 

 Will you be designing any other artwork for Coca-Cola in the future? OR Would you like to work with Coca-Cola on an artwork project again?

TW  “It was an honor to work with Coca-Cola, but I don’t know if we will work together again.  As an artist, I feel that it is very important to keep things special and unique.  You always want to be moving on, looking for new projects, new ways to be creative.  It meant a lot to me to work on this project at this time, but I’m not looking for a staff job.  lol.”

_______________________________________________________

It looks like we have a new set of collectible bottles and cans that may prove hard to find.

Oh, and where does the British Princess fit into all of this? Well, on September 23rd Todd White will unveil his portrait of Princess Diana in London, England at the Royal Exchange for the The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

I would like to thank Todd White for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions.

For more information on Todd White be sure to check out his website: www.toddwhite.com

To see this article in a magazine format with pictures, you will need to subscribe to ‘Cola Conquest’ magazine.  Be sure and check out this link and sign up today!  http://www.colaconquest.com/

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