Artist Profile: Justin Wood
It’s turning out to be a year of “firsts” for New York City-based artist Justin Wood. “I am excited about my first solo show, at Collins Galleries in Orleans,” he says. “I am also happy to say that my wife, Dana, and I had our first child, Ben, on April 26.”
Wood, 33, is a figurative and still life painter who studied art in the tradition of the old masters, such as Caravaggio and Rembrandt. “The drama and mood from the colors and objects are what is interesting to me,” he says. “Exploring what I can do with similar objects to what the masters used and re-creating light and shadow are crucial to my work.”
His paintings often feature realistic food and drink against dark backgrounds—partially peeled lemons and sugar cubes in “Lemonade” or lobster, crusty bread, and wine in “Still Life with Lobster.” “There is not a lot of symbolism behind the paintings,” he says. “To me, it is straightforward.”
After graduating from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in illustration, Wood studied for five years at the Water Street Atelier in New York City. There he apprenticed under Jacob Collins, founder and director of the school and a noted advocate of the contemporary revival of classical painting, and also worked as his studio assistant.
Since then Wood has been teaching cast drawing and painting at Collins’ Grand Central Atelier in New York, where he also shares studio space. “I really love teaching from a practical point of view,” he says. “I also enjoy being around like-minded people and passing along what I have learned and am developing. … Articulating what you do to others helps you be a more developed person with your own work.”
Wood has had numerous exhibits nationwide and garnered several awards. He is particularly proud of his second place in the Grand Central Academy of Art Still Life competition in New York in 2014, which he earned for “Still Life with Red Currants.” In the painting, bright red currants pop against the muted tones of a wood table, a pewter pitcher, and a well-used book. – Kathy Blackwell
Justin Wood’s solo exhibit at Collins Galleries will be held Saturday, July 30, to Friday, August 12. More information is available at justinwoodart.com, grandcentralatelier.org/justin-wood,