'It's a pretty amazing turn of events': Nanaimo toy artist debuts collaboration with Netflix
After his life took a series of unexpected turns, Todd is having one of those pinch-me moments.
“All that’s happening is a dream I never even knew to dream,” Todd says.
It began earlier this year, when Todd transformed an old Sesame Street toy set from the 1970s into a tribute to the Canadian comedy Schitt’s Creek, so he and his three year-old Jack could play together.
“He loves playing with toys,” Todd said at the time. “And I love Schitt’s Creek.”
When Todd posted pictures and videos of his custom toy tributes on social media, they went viral, earned kudos from Creek co-creator Dan Levy, and inspired the wedding DJ and karaoke host to reconsider how he thought about his hobby.
“I wasn’t making any money, but I did make people laugh and smile,” Todd says. “So I’m an artist now!”
But then the amateur artist’s online gallery also caught the attention of Netflix. The streaming giant offered Todd his first professional art job.
“I went from basically laying in my driveway taking shots of my Fisher-Price toys, having my neighbour drive by looking sideways at me, to working for Netflix,” Todd laughs. “It’s a pretty amazing turn of events.”
Todd was hired to make toy art to promote the show Stranger Things.
“They told me the character they wanted, the scenes they wanted to portray,” Todd explains. “And gave me control over how I showed that.”
Todd spent the next two and a half months — more than 100 hours — creating the cast, constructing four iconic scenes from the show, and taking 12 toy art photographs, which Netflix shared with its millions of social media followers.
“[It’s] a whole other level of excitement for me,” Todd smiles.
While Todd waits for his next assignment for another show, he hopes his latest creations will prove to be fun for his son to play with, and inspiring too.
“I love that Jack gets to grow up seeing his dad do something he loves,” Todd says.
He gets to see that working hard at playing can pay off.
“Life’s short,” Todd smiles. “Play. Have fun. Follow your heart.”