Todd Stilson Paints the Raw Beauty of Mortality in a BYU Exhibit
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Raw Beauty

Artist Todd Stilson, wearing an orange tie and feathered top hat, stands in front of his road-inspired artwork. A table, also painted to look like a road, covers the bottom half of his body.
Photo by Bradley Slade

Driving down a lonely desert highway, artist R. Todd Stilson (BFA ’94) was struck by the guidance expressed on the road. “These signs really are benevolent things,” he says, because they provide safety and direction.

Stilson’s Failing Your Test(behind the artist here), recently displayed in the Harold B. Lee Library, uses these signs to explore a test of faith. The white line along the top represents pausing to contemplate a decision, while the arrow indicates a deviation from the strait and narrow path.

Overcoming mistakes through repentance brings us closer to Jesus Christ, Stilson says. “There’s . . . a beauty in the rawness [of mortality], which is exemplified in the beauty of the exhibit.”