„The artist wants a dramatic, atmospheric or characterful drawing. The sitter often wants simply to look attractive.” – exclusive interview with Wilfrid Wood english artist.
Could we start with some background information about you? How you get into art, how you become “sculptorist”… It’s funny to see you use the term sculptorist! I’m not even sure its even a real word. I put it at the header of my Instagram as a bit of a joke. Anyway, I did graphic design at college so my work has changed quite a lot over the years. I was a crap graphic designer so I had to sniff out something else I could do. Gradually I’ve found my niche and these days do pretty much what I like, which is terrific! But its taken a long time to find my place.
Who are your biggest artist influences?
I come from an arty background so my main influences were family. But I love all the typical figurative artists you’d expect, David Hockney, Lucien Freud, Alice Neel. I also love outsider art, Henry Darger, Vollis Simpson.
Your works show a characteristic, satirical sense of humor, are the models/people always reflected on the right way to it?
I get disappointingly little feedback on my work from the subjects. I imagine famous people would see me as a potential pain in the ass so don’t like to get involved. I occasionally get nice comments from minor Instagram celebrities when I sculpt them. Sometimes when I draw people the model is clearly disappointed. There is often a conflict of interest between what the artist and sitter are looking for in a portrait.
How do you handle this situations?
The artist wants a dramatic, atmospheric or characterful drawing. The sitter often wants simply to look attractive. If I sense a conflict looming I make it clear to the sitter that I am not a portraitist who flatters. If they want a beautified representation they should go elsewhere.
Malcolm & Ran
How long is it takes to make a full body sculpture and how is the process?
Full body sculptures take weeks. The main thing is to get the armature right. Once that’s sorted its just a matter of fussing around with layers of polymer clay.
You describe yourself on your instagram with three words sculpturist/drawer/voyeur. Can you talk about a bit of your voeyur part?
I get models to draw from Grindr. I was telling a friend about it and she said ‘who are these people that take their clothes off in front of you? Are they exhibitionists?’ I said some of the probably are, especially the ones with permanent erections. She said ‘what does that make you then, a voyeur?’ I said it probably did. She said ‘but I suppose all artists are voyeurs to some extent’.
As an artist, what kind of features do you like the most on face/body?
My favourite people to sculpt are pretty boys, but I’m trying to ween myself off them. If I’m going to be a portrait artist, which is what I seem to have become, then I should be able to do anyone. I find women difficult to sculpt because I am more fearful of upsetting them. Sexist I know. As far as features goes I love strong eyebrows.
Every artist have difficult time in his life. When they have not find inspirations, people do not react well to they works.. ect ect.. Do you have any advice for ’suffering’ artists?
Difficult phases are intrinsic to being an artist, everyone has them. I’ve been drawing a lot recently. It goes well for a month then I have a week where everything looks stale and laboured. Then suddenly I try something new and make a mini breakthrough. Its like this continually. How could it be any different?
What is your next to do now? You have any upcoming big project?
No big plans really. I’ve been doing a lot of private commissions so I’d like to return to my own stuff. There’s talk of a book. I’d like to have a show of drawings and plasticine heads. I get a lot of requests to do plasticine workshops but I haven’t sorted it out yet. The main thing is to get into the studio and slog away.
Fisherman and Friend
Hob and Milo
Nostalgie de la Bou
Keith Vaz and his Rent Boy
Caitlyn Jenner as Baphomet
Caster Semenya & Oskar Grzelak
Portrait by James Barnett
Find Wilfrid: www.wilfridwood.com www.instagram.com/wilfridwoodsculptor