Wilfrid Wood is an artist who approaches sculpture with a designers sensibility and the process of a craftsman. Born in London, raised in the Sussex countryside, he studied Graphics at Central St. Martins and now lives in East London.
Wood’s graphic design days ended after being introduced to model making while working for the notorious satirical T.V. program Spitting Image. Here he began to work in 3D and started to take humour seriously.
Resisting rapid prototyping, Wood works entirely by hand, sometimes using casting techniques, initially sketching his ideas then testing their validity in plasticine. The finished article begins as a wire armature, which is wrapped in aluminium foil and covered with polymer clay. It is then modelled, baked, sanded, airbrushed and varnished to create an immaculate finish.
He enjoys inventing individuals that could be part of a narrative, but it’s the viewer’s job to imagine that story. Drawing inspiration from faces, bodies, animals, androgyny, toys, cartoons, freaks, fashion and contortionists, Wilfrid zoomorphizes,
anthropomorphizes, deforms and reconfigures this raw material into a world of
ambiguous sexuality with dark undertones.
2011 The Time is Now, La Scatola Gallery, London
2011 Pick Me Up, Somerset House, The Strand, London
2011 The Time is Now, La Scatola, London
2010 SangSangMaDang, Seoul, South Korea
2010 Counter Cafe, Hackney Wick, London
2008 The Wig Has Gone Out, London
2008 Dutch Uncle, London
2008 Lulubell Toy Bodega, Arizona, USA
2006 Bread and Butter, Berlin
2006 Pimp My Doll, Venice
2006 Weiden and Kennedy, London
2006 Habitat Regent Street, London
2006 Gee Whizz, London
2004 Normal, SEA Gallery, London
2001 Window Gallery, Charlotte Road, London
Words on Wilfrid
Wilfrid Wood is on the cusp of illustrative and fine art. “Sometimes I worry I should be one thing or the other but I know I naturally sit in between,” he says. His small-scale sculptures dazzle with a designer’s flair which makes it no surprise to learn that he once had a spot at the TV show Spitting Image. Today his heads and figures often look like they are part of a recognised story, but they all come from his imagination. He has worked on book jackets and advertising, “but most of the time I sit in my studio with lots of drawings and ideas.” Using plasticine, he shapes some roughs, going on to create a wire-covered framework for polymer clay which he bakes in an ordinary electric oven, airbrushes and varnishes. The results are brightly coloured, cocky figures in the throes of action or reaction. There is the bantamweight boxer, pale and bashed up at the end of a very exhausting fight. Close by are Mrs Whippy, the imagined wife of Mr Whippy the soft ice cream icon, and Mr Chocolate Smooth Move, “the brilliant name” of a type of laxative in the US. An ambiguous creation is Leslie, which can be a male or female name, and who is a hermaphrodite crossed with a Siamese twin. And here comes Lord Clapton Carpets, modelled on a photo of a carpet magnate who looked like Jim Prior (a former Conservative Cabinet minister, now Lord Prior) or the late former prime minister Edward Heath. Ambiguous interpretation is never far away: in an impromptu flash of wit, a figure catalogued Cowboy was dubbed Penis Orchid by one of the guests at the private view.
All figures are available either as original one offs or cast editions of ten. Wood sculpts, casts, paints and varnishes all his pieces himself in his studio. Height can range from 10 to 40 cm. Works can be viewed by appointment. To view the works and for more information, please email us on: