Todd Samusson works in a ridiculously small workshop in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood in southeast Portland, Oregon where he lives with his wife Paula Manley. Born in Virginia, he spent the first two years of his life in Morocco and the next sixteen moving around the U.S. as an army brat. He landed in Austin, Texas for quie a while. In 1988 he and Paula settled in the Pacific Northwest.


I’m not sure where this work originates. My sense is that many of these creations are some kind of spirit guides that appear at portals between our waking lives and some other world. They show up to remind us that what we perceive as “reality” isn’t the only game in town.

I've got a thing for wood – the grain, the smell, the texture, the surprising colors that emerge when it is stained. The grain often suggests the final shape of a piece, even when I start out with something quite different in mind. These pieces of wood know what they want to become.

My work is created primarily out of salvaged lumber or driftwood with found objects added. I keep my eyes peeled for weird stuff. I've been known to suddenly swerve off the road to examine some discarded hunk of lumber or interesting piece of metal. I go to way too many garage sales dragging home junk. Lately my friends are starting to trash me. They bring me their trash. Occasionally strangers walk up the driveway with odd objects and hand them to me. A few times I’ve found boxes of junk outside my workshop. I still don’t know who left them there. I’m running out of places to put this stuff.

Recently, I’ve started to do some paintings. They still have some degree of three-dimensionality to them. Painting is beginning to open up some new creative avenues for me. Stay tuned and we’ll see where they lead.

Some days I’m a singer/songwriter but that’s another story. You can look for that particular planet of my life at Someday I’ll evolve a way to merge my music and my sculpture. I’ve also been a social worker, carpenter, grantwriter, community organizer, landscaper, toymaker, factory drone, newspaper writer, dishwasher, groundskeeper, and massage therapist but not necessarily in that order.

- TS

About the artist
Todd with Nefertitti sculpture