Sidewalk Talk

Artist Daren Todd talks art, love, and accountability | Daren Todd

April 5, 2021

For many, art is a language all its own. This has never been more true for Daren Todd, a Portland-based musician turned painter who discovered painting during quarantine when he lost his bartending job. On this episode of The Sidewalk Talk podcast, Traci sits down with Daren to hear his story of gaining a following for his painting through Reddit, starting Art Larger Than Me, and his thoughts on how art can serve as both love language and accountability for the battles our country is fighting within itself. 

Daren is a transgender Black man who always saw art, specifically music, as a way to express himself. But when the pandemic hit, painting became a way to express himself and connect with others in a whole new way. Together, Traci and Daren talk about how art has impacted Daren, his feelings about the Capitol Insurrection, and how art can help us create emblems of accountability that help us as a collective address our different shades of shame and racism to create a more inclusive and equal society. Daren is a dynamic advocate for the power of art and loving those around us while still holding them accountable. Don’t miss this important episode!  


Episode Milestones

[00:07] Intro 

[03:08] Meet Daren 

[11:52] The heart behind Art Larger than Me 

[14:48] How Daren hopes his art serves the marginalized communities he’s apart of 

[16:40] Art as language 

[19:32] Art’s impact on Daren 

[22:37] Daren’s rebellious spirit as an artist 

[26:03] Traci and Daren’s shared Santa Barbara history 

[27:27] The impact of the Capitol Insurrection on Daren 

[32:21] Emblems of accountability 

[37:13] Shame in our societal consciousness  

[43:41] Daren’s word for you

[45:33] Outro 


Resources Mentioned

Art Larger than Me 

The Downstairs Gallery  

The Neighborhood Arts Collective  

It’s Future Time 


Standout Quotes from the Episode

“I’m almost glad I didn’t go to art school because I see so many people that have gone that are just so jaded and broken down and beaten down by that system.”
—Daren Todd 

“I try to use that gift that I’ve been given to reach out to people that maybe haven’t been reached or aren’t being reached, and to speak for people who haven’t found a way to speak or have been silenced.”
—Daren Todd 

“I believe that art is a language that transcends dialects and can say a lot, and it’s open to interpretation by every person because no two people see the same.”
—Daren Todd 

“I believe that it’s not so much about the outcome as it is about the daily practice, and when you focus on the practice, the outcome comes secondary.”
—Daren Todd 

“How much more time are we going to have to wait for a simple right to life, to freedom, to justice, to the pursuit of our happiness? And we’re not asking to be held above, we’re literally just asking to be equal.”
—Daren Todd 

“You’re not going to get anywhere by avoiding things that make you uncomfortable.”
—Daren Todd 

“I never want to shame someone for where they were. I just want to help them get to a better place.”
—Daren Todd 

“The most grounded I feel on this earth is when I’m reaching out to help someone else. And I think if each one of us just shared a little bit of what we had, there’d be more than enough to go around.”
—Daren Todd 



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