Todd Scalise’s creative work, a hybrid of both art and design, establishes that bond by both serving and informing in a beautiful and meaningful manner. Todd is a visual artist with a passion for applying his artwork onto almost anything. Developing “application for art” is the basis of his professional work. His hand-drawn graphic art possesses an inventive sensibility, a sensibility that is highly accessible and utilized in all manner of applications, creating community buzz with every installation.
Scalise grew up in Erie, PA and is a graduate of Mercyhurst Preparatory High School. As a young artist he attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts and The Maria Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Summer Art Program at Colorado College. Todd received his Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting from Tyler School of Art/Temple University and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Boston University. Who knew that eventually his creative tool of choice would become a Sharpie?
Todd has served in higher education at Eastern New Mexico University, Edinboro University, Robert Morris University and Duquesne University. He has received the Eastern New Mexico University AIGA Faculty Advisor of the Year Award, Distinguished Alumni Award by the Creative Arts Faculty at Mercyhurst Preparatory School, an ADDY Award by the American Advertising Federation for his design of the 2002 Erie Art Museum Blues and Jazz Festival Poster, a Keystone Innovation Grant by the stARTup Incubator, two grants from the Vira I. Heinz Endowment for the Arts and three artist residencies.
In 2009, Todd designed The Dennis Hopper Lifetime Achievement Award in Independent Film, now included in Mr. Hopper’s permanent art collection. Todd has exhibited his textiles in Europe and painted a 50-foot mural at an inauguration party for the new Pompidou Center in Metz, France. As a professional artist, he lived five years in Santa Fe, New Mexico before returning back to Erie to establish his business as ‘Higherglyphics’.
Todd is known for establishing regional brands such as Let’s Move Outside!, Erie P()P, and The Perry 200 Commemoration. As the art director for the Erie Reader, Erie's only free weekly independent source for news, culture, and entertainment, Todd’s creative vision helped tell the story of many of the publications most important and thought-provoking features.
Most recently, Todd won the Applied Media Arts track at Innovation Erie for Mosaix, a retail web site that enables the user to create an array of products such as wall and floor coverings. Todd received The 2013 Bruce Morton Wright, Artist of the Year Award, which recognizes an artist whose work has had a significant effect on his community.
In 2012, Todd completed a 1,200 square foot mural and merchandising project permanently installed at the Erie Art Museum. This postmodern-styled mural employs the idea of a regional historical narrative linked by 100’s of QR codes to information on the internet. This four-story mural extends from prehistoric times to the present, containing many historical and pop culture references from the Erie region. The mural exists as a bold, stylized, unified design that flows from the basement to the third floor. The project employs the most contemporary printing techniques and compliments the LEED status of the building with its application of environmentally friendly materials.
Born the son of entrepreneurs, Todd works to balance his passion for creating with an appreciation for the business side of art. Todd has licensed helmet designs in Amsterdam, worked as a muralist in San Francisco and designed commercial art for a national restaurant chain. As Higherglyphics was launched, Todd partnered with the Erie Art Museum to release a variety of merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs, hip flasks and iPhone cases. These items both market the project and produce revenue for the museum. Todd’s approach to Visual Public Relations exemplifies Andy Warhol’s statement, “Business is art.” His merchandising lines complete his work and heighten client brand awareness.
Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie, Todd Scalise was chosen by the Jefferson Educational Society and The Perry 200 Commission to help create the historic logo that would enliven a resting war hero, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. Todd’s image of Perry helped connect the community to three years of events designed to commemorate Erie’s role in the War of 1812 and inspired pride throughout the region. Again, Todd’s work was featured on everything from signs to t-shirts, beach towels, golf towels and even bike racks located throughout downtown Erie.
This past summer, Todd was selected to help honor another important anniversary, the Erie Philharmonic’s 100th Anniversary Season through the creation of its Centennial Mural. The mural highlights the Philharmonic performing on Erie’s bayfront as the eternal flame is lit on the Perry Monument on Presque Isle while fireworks explode across the Erie skyline. It features Conductor, Daniel Meyers and orchestra musicians in vivid form, iconic tall ships and images from the history of the Philharmonic wrapped around the H.A.N.D.S. building on 7th and State Street. The mural is an example of Todd’s incorporation of art and the latest in printing technology to create a large-scale, weather-proof vinyl building wrap for all to celebrate.
Todd continues to push the boundaries of applications for his art. Whether he’s helping to encourage us to ‘walk more’ through his work for the Let’s Move Outside! campaign, creating residual streams of revenue from his merchandise to benefit nonprofits, teaching students at the university level or engaging graffiti artists in a pro-community expression of their art form, community is Todd’s canvas.