Out of this World - Page 4

From his Streng home studio, visionary artist Justin Wood explores the fascinating, fearsome melding of man and machine
Justin Wood Art
Surrounded by their home's modern furnishings, Justin and Ida relax together.

Since graduating in 2001 with a degree in commercial art (and no debt—he was on scholarship), Justin has illustrated for Outside, Men's Health, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, and many other magazines. He created in-story designs for retailer Target (which didn't use them) and for Sony Stores.

Justin Wood Art
'Future of Auto Transportation' (2009-10).

His work has been featured in American Illustration, which prints the best annual editorial design. He's shown in galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin, and as part of Cannibal Flower, a popular Los Angeles exhibit featuring edgy designers.

Justin's happy with his career but says it's not easy making it in art. He studied illustration, not fine art, because earning a living was important to him. The pay rate for illustration matches the pay rate in the 1930s, he says.

Justin Wood Art
'Steve Jobs Introduces Itunes' (2003-04).

“Our budget is not what it used to be,” Dadich says of Condé Nast. “The publishing industry is doing more with less, and illustrators are feeling that pinch.”

As a fine artist creating digitally, Justin confronts the dilemma that for decades confronted fine art photography. “How do you create value,” he asks, “when [the work] can be reproduced infinitely?”

He has another thought. Why produce it as a canvas at all?

“Half my fun creating the work is sitting in virtual space and moving my camera around, seeing unlimited opportunities,” Justin says. In virtual space, Justin can be anywhere and see anything. He can fly overhead like a bird, or scoot on the ground like a bug.

Justin Wood Art
'Shelter Seashore' (2010).

Turning this three-dimensional experience into a two dimensional image produces a nice picture, says Justin, but seems anticlimactic.

“How do I make this work more interesting for people?” he wonders. The answer is to bring people inside the virtual world by producing art works available on iPads and similar devices that resemble video games in the beauty of their graphics, but without the ‘bang-bang shoot ‘em up.'

Collectors will be able to travel through Justin's 3-D worlds at their will, going where they want and doing what they want, within the parameters of the art.

“I'd like to let people explore our art in different ways,” he says, “than having it on a static piece of paper.”


Photos: David Toerge

• Justin Wood shows and sells his work from his website, singlecell.to. His mid-century modern blogs can be found at cartersparks.org and modernvalley.blogspot.com.