Thursday, 4 August 2011

5 ARTISTS AT COMIC-CON: ASHLEY WOOD


Ashley Wood's energetic pictures have spawned an entire industry.  He went from drawing comic books to multinational production deals with development partners and global media outlets who produce video games of his characters, toys, collectibles, movies and books.  Wood seems to be everywhere, from art galleries in China to movie studios in Hollywood, and shows no signs of slowing down.


In his talk at Comic-Con, Wood proved to be as energetic and blunt as his art.  He said that not long ago his career "really sucked balls"  but he found the right publisher who believed in him, and teamed with the right people.  Mostly, he worked hard.


Sometimes Wood seems to crank out art like one of the gattling guns on his robots, spewing explosive rounds.
I work every day, it's a compulsion.  People say I'm prolific, but as far as I'm concerned people who say I'm prolific are just fucking lazy."
Wood is not the most refined, cautious artist you'll ever meet.  But despite an occasional misfire, Wood continues to generate large quantities of very good art.  He has a strong sense of design, good color, and he knows how to draw and paint.  Says Wood, "I like what I do, but I can  be better.  I am still trying to boil it down to its essence."


When asked where he found his inspiration, Wood responded,
I'm inspired by the fact that I'm going to die.  The clock is ticking, and time is against me.  You can't just wait for an opportunity to come, you have to go out and chase your dreams.  Some people hang out in cafes and talk about doing something, but I'm out there working every day.  I go out on weekends and take pictures of clouds I like.
He was extremely likeable and quickly won over his audience.  Unlike many commercially successful artists who pull the ladder up after them, Wood displays a healthy lack of pretentiousness:
A lot of the art made in the last 30 years was kind of shit.  The idea-based art gets kind of boring if you need someone to sit next to the art and explain it to you.  I've never seen a "lower class" to art.  When comic art becomes more valuable, that's what makes the fine art world gravitate to it.
But Wood's most endearing comments had to do with his family.  He said, "The best thing about making movies is that my kids will think I'm cool."  And his wife?  "My wife is my muse.  If the hair changes on the women in my paintings, it's because my wife changed her hair."