#Todd St. John

Todd St. John Hones Surprise and Delight in His Jocular Wooden Characters

January 16, 2024

Grace Ebert

a figurative sculpture of a face with three eyes, four nsoes, and repeated teeth in pink, brown, purple, and blue

“Fafafafa.” All images © Todd St. John, shared with permission

From lethargic lions to a fragmented figure with a distinguished chuckle, the sculptures of Brooklyn-based artist and designer Todd St. John are tailored toward surprise and wonder.

Alongside personal projects, St. John collaborates with editorial clients like The New York Times and The New Yorker and brands like Netflix and Google to illustrate ideas or emotions that words are inadequate to convey. He frequently reaches for pine, walnut, and other woods, carving stylized characters and objects that are both amusing and approachable.

“I initially learned woodworking as a kid working with my father who always had a woodshop, and I’ve always built furniture on the side,” he tells Colossal. “I used it mainly for animation and stop-motion projects, but dimensional forms quickly found their way into other work, as well.”

The medium lends itself to the disjointed, abstract structures St. John gravitates toward as he sculpts Cubist-style busts or a tousled spider plant. He explains:

I do think that sometimes creating tactile objects opens up more opportunities for surprises. There are a lot of processes with digital work that get pre-determined by the software itself, and while working practically has its own constraints, it can be a more novel and even direct way to realize certain ideas.

St. John has a few exhibitions planned for this year, and you can follow news about those, in addition to his newest works, on Instagram. Find prints in his shop.


a wooden sculpture of an abstract, fragmented face and shoulders

“Relief Head”

two wooden sculptures of abstract, fragmented busts

“Relief Heads”

a wooden sculpture of a lion with a large, wide mouth and six white teeth and small legs on the left and right sides


a wooden tape dispenser shaped like a cresting wave


a woodcut with a green spider plant in an orange pot

“Spider Plant”

an oval wooden sculpture with fragmented pieces on various levels against a black backdrop

“Untitled,” raw pine

an oval wooden sculpture with fragmented pieces on various levels against a black backdrop

“Untitled (Raw Pine)”

#Todd St. John


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