For some of you next week marks one or two years since you graduated from arts school - your graduation birthday, if you like. Where are you now and where did you pictured yourself being at this point last June? Certainly not still working in a department store, or  desperately looking for an internship. You thought by now you’d have it all figured out, commissions would fly and your creativity flow would be as unstoppable as an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Well hasn’t quiet work out that neatly, has it? Ironically I have come to realize that the most successful people I know have never even visited the UCAS website. This means either all my friends are retarded loosers, or something’s up. You decide. This is what I have observed in London. In France if you don’t own a degree you’re fucked. You even need one to work in a bakery, but you have to admit that bread in France is magnificent.

Joe Wood doesn’t sell bread, he creates surreal collages with a mixture of found imagery. They explore flora and fauna, mountains, forests, gold, Indians, triangles and circles, earth, wood, geometry, symmetry, stones, feathers, moons… This makes them sound like an ancient shaman ritual and that’s probably not too far from the truth. Joe’s illustrations are beautifully crafted with an obvious attention to detail.

We visited his brand new house in Brixton. It has loads of animal sculptures and fun decorative elements dotted around, such as a tombstone toilet and a Venus-styled statue in the bathroom. It is above an art gallery and has a really interesting atmosphere to it, his neighbour even popped out to introduce himself. He was a friendly local who told us how friendly and nice Brixton really is. He nearly convinced us.

Hello Joe, Please introduce yourself and your work.
Hello, My name is Joseph and I grew up in Malvern, which is where the water comes from; I made the move to the big city after graduating from the University of Brighton last summer and I’m now based in Brixton. Amongst other things I’m practicing as a freelance Illustrator and image-maker. My work is predominately collage based using both analogue and digital methods along with a variety of influences to create my images.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on an image that will be exhibited in the next few months at the Idea Generation Gallery.  The show is a group exhibition based on the book ‘How to be an alien’ by George Mikes. I’m also working on a triptych of large images that are handmade and more process based, the images consist of cut out eyes, hundreds of them, but I find it weirdly enjoyable to make them.

How did you get into art in the first place? Did you always know that was what you wanted to do, or did you have other career ideals?
I’m not really sure how I got into art. I had this idea that I would study history or biology, but when it came down to it the Arts were what I wanted to pursue. At the time I don’t think I was on a direct route to illustration and even though I’m new in the game, I’m enjoying being an image-maker.


You graduated from University last June, where are you now and where did you picture yourself being at this point a year ago?
I wanted to make sure I continued to produce a good amount of work that I was happy with, whether it were personal or commissioned, along side finally having a website. The work side is going well, unfortunately there is a hole where my website should be, I promise it will be there soon though.

Your work is collage based. Where do you get the imagery you use in it? Have you considered taking your own photographs to use in your collages to make the work 100 per cent yours or are you more interested in recycling found imagery?
I source my collage material predominately from second hand books found in charity shops. I really enjoy working with found materials and making them work in the way I want them to. The triptych of eye images I’m currently working on becomes enriched by the variation in shape, size colour and quality that can only be achieved through working with found materials. I’ve previously used found imagery in conjunction with my own photographs and using all my own images is something that I need to explore more fully, however at the moment I’m still finding new ways to work with found imagery.

How do you usually create? Do you start with an idea or an image in your head, or do you make it up along the way? Would you define your work as a pre-thought process or a spontaneous activity?
To be honest it’s a bit of all of these. I often start off just making it up, but through this process of working I will find my idea. Most of the time I will start over now having a much stronger sense of what I want to achieve and how. It seems like a bit of a backward way to work but without the first step of spontaneous image making I feel like my idea or choice of imagery for the final image would not be as strong.



What do you like most about Brixton? What attracted you to live there?
The house sold it to me, I knew I wanted to live south but not having spent that much time in Brixton I was skeptical. Now I’m here I love it, especially Franco Manca’s pizza.

What artists influence you?
Alejandro Jodorowsky’s films are amazing.


Have you done any commissioned work yet? What would you like to be asked to do?
I’ve done a small amount of commissioned work over the last year and would love to do more. I’m particularly interested in creating artwork for the music industry. I’m pretty much up for trying anything once.

You have worked as a props maker as well. Does it help you in your illustration work? What are your other interests?
I think it really helped my illustration work; it made me more aware of the business side of the creative industry and about pushing my work into new areas. I really want to experiment with model making; I want to turn my collages into dioramas. It feels like the next logical step in my work especially as I love taxidermy, Ultraman and the Natural History Museum.

Thanks Joe.