The Art of Ashley Wood

Unless you count joyfully imbibing Archie and Dennis the Menace as a child, I really can’t claim to be a comic book reader of any kind. In fact, I’ve always quietly pointed my finger, giggled and rolled my eyes at nerdy types who indulge in the format – including friends. Possibly because of the proliferation of [mostly] guys who seem to enter another dimension talking about anything comic related. Most likely because I’ve never taken the time to enjoy modern comic books at their best.

Recently I’ve been introduced to a few series of critically acclaimed comics by a special friend of mine, and it’s been quite an eye-opening experience. Comics have come a long way, and that is both in terms of artwork and writing.

My friend recently had a birthday and I took it upon myself to try and find him some nice and unusual artwork, from the genre. I knew he liked a few artists: Paul Pope, Gabriel Ba and Ben Templesmith were all contenders… and then there was Ashley Wood.

Ashley Wood, is Australian and from Perth [as is Ben Templesmith], and is a highly acclaimed artist of many media and genres. He’s worked on Judge Dredd, Tank Girl, Metal Gear Solid and many others in comic form, as well as contributing to major film, music and other video games. His career is impressive:

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I especially love the way he paints women. This painting reminds me of Goya. It’s beautifully dark and dense and l love the shades of yellow and brown. Without the title graphics, I would hang this on my wall.

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He always paints women as powerful beings, with an interesting combination of angles and curves.

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Again, minus graphics, this is a beautiful piece. Some may call it pornographic, but I call it art.

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Ashley Wood obviously has a fine appreciation for the womanly figure. I enjoy his titillation and respectful, yet sexy portrayals. More comic book artists could take a leaf from his book.

The really wonderful thing about Ashley Wood is that I ordered a couple of picture books from his website for my friend’s birthday, and was thrilled to receive an original drawing and handwritten thanks from the man himself, just for purchasing a couple of small, inexpensive books of his artwork.

One day, I’d love to have one of his works on my wall.

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~ by at her discretion on January 15, 2008.

8 Responses to “The Art of Ashley Wood”

  1. I’ve always had pretty much the same attitude as yours towards comic books and their readers, but hearing what you’ve said here I may just give them another chance. These are great! I would definitely put them on my wall too.

    If you’re going to go all comic book-y you should go to the Supanova expo in Perth in June. It’s coming here in April. I stayed home last year and regretted it but will probably go this year, even if it is just to look at the people who dress up and think that they really are comic book characters.

  2. Yah, comics have never done it for me at all, but then again I never really gave them a chance. Now I’m quite keen to look at them knowing there is such fabulous artwork. It ain’t Archie! hehe.

    Supanova, eh? I’m not really at convention stage, although it would be hilarious to go along and see all the uber geeks in costume. I’d probably have to go by myself though, heh.

    Hey, I FINALLY got taken off “mature” yesterday. I have tag traffic again! Woohoo! Took them long enough…

  3. awaywiththefairies – As a comic book fan, I can definitely say that the stereotypes are OFTEN exactly true. But that just makes the exceptions stand out more. Comics are like any medium: there is a big, giant load of brain-dead crap just sitting there in the middle of the mainstream that is (rightfully) effective at turning many intelligent people away. I find, however, that the really good stuff that exists in the fringes is so blindingly brilliant and gloriously off the beaten path it’s worth checking out. Legit, intelligent, artistically valid comic books are the world’s best-kept secret.

    Your screen-name suggests that you’re a fan of fantasy? If so, I recommend:

    SANDMAN written by Neil Gaiman and PROMETHEA, written by Alan Moore. In fact, I recommend those anyway.

    A tip: Vertigo is the imprint of DC Comics that exclusively publishes intelligent, artistically challenging comics and graphic novels for adults. As opposed to DC’s main imprint, which just handles superhero comics.

    As for cons, I’ve never gone. I am afraid of the uber-nerds.

    AHD – There is some cool stuff going on at cons, but the lunatics re-enacting CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS make it hard to tolerate.

    And hooray for a post about Ashley Wood! I love it and I love your commentary. You are quite insightful and you have immaculate taste. I love the examples you used and it makes sense that you would be drawn to them: they are a very provocative mix of sex, pop culture cool, and darker thematic imagery. I can’t get enough of the guy myself.

    I want to introduce you to Dave McKean. You’ll love him.

  4. Ooh, a post about comics. Yay! I actually know of that series (and read a couple issues). IDW is a pretty good publisher, as I’ve been reading the Transformers series from them.

    I think you might like The Umbrella Academy from Dark Horse.

  5. D – Wow, Promethea looks pretty amazing. I’d love to check that out sometime. Don’t be afraid of the uber nerds! Join us in our finger pointing and smirking at the loonies in carboard helmets.

    I’m glad you liked the post, D. I didn’t have a lot to say about the comics themselves, but having looked at some of his artowrk, I felt I could comment on that, at least.

    I wait for Mr McKean. ;)

    Wendy – I shall look up The Umbrella Academy at your recommendation. Thanks for the tip! :)

  6. PROMETHEA is indeed amazing. Like almost everything Moore has written, it’s intelligent, deeply layered and it will expand your mind. Plus, the artwork is outstanding. To boot, it’s got very powerful feminist undertones: the main character is a heroic woman without any of the victimization or objectification issues that are so common in action movies/television/comics/video games.

    And Wendy is right! Listen to Wendy! I haven’t read many comics in 2007, but I made it a point to pick up the first four issues of THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY because I’ve heard nothing but good things. It was incredible! It’s a superhero story, but it’s kind of a forward-thinking, trippy, boundary-pushing superhero story that showcases the creators’ talents and willingness to experiment. I’m having a blast reading it and there still two more issues in the series.

    Gerard Way, the guy who wrote it, claims that Grant Morrison’s DOOM PATROL is a huge influence, and you can see the inspiration on every page. To boot, Grant Morrison loves the series and endorses it, and that’s a huge compliment.

    I must now shut up as this comment section contains too much of my nerdish ramblings. ;)

  7. Ah, so that’s the Gerard Way comic. I see, I see. I also recall you saying that he was surprisingly good at writing comics. I look forward to seeing his work sometime. However, I still think his music is shit. ;)

    You can nerd out here, baby. Think of this a nerd safe-house. ;)

  8. D and Wendy – Thanks so much for taking the time to recommend a few comics. I think you may well have converted a couple of people here! :-)

    Yay for WP finally seeing the light with your blog, AHD. :-D

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