Wednesday, August 22, 2007


These pictures by illustrator Ashley Wood are a cross between drawing and knife fighting.

Wood is one of those artists whose drawings benefit from controlled accidents. His slashing lines and spattered ink are part skill, part chance and part hydrological experiment. When you work that way, you can't be too picky about your materials. The reverse side of the above drawing shows how some of Wood's more fortunate accidents take place on stray scraps of paper:

I like Wood's work. I like that he seems to draw on every available surface, from the backs of envelopes to waste paper, sometimes taping pages together when his experiment runs out of room.

I find his emphasis on telephone lines in these drawings worth noting for two reasons.

First, they show the importance of individual perception in composing an image. In most photographs, phone wires are so thin and insubstantial they don't even show up. In the following painting Edward Hopper ignores the phone wires:

They are almost never an important compositional element such as Wood has made them. It takes a human brain to fix upon a physically insignificant object and amplify and distort it into a major part of the drawing.

Second, Wood's awareness of the telephone lines reveals the sensitivity necessary to make a "spontaneous" style effective. Despite the vigorous, almost violent appearance of these drawings, it required a subtle eye to notice a detail like telephone lines and a thoughtful mind to play them up this way.


Blogger Benjamin Hall said...

These are amazing.

Scraps of paper are the best to draw on... nothing goes to waste.

8/23/2007 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Vahnzz Sam said...

Wonderful, amazing!!!

I Love this works in black and white, so expressive!!!

Very good

Byyeee o/

8/23/2007 8:02 PM  
Blogger looks2ce said...

wow - if you have ever seen the Anime Lain - you will recognize those power lines. No - I got that backwards, it is interesting to see the historical antecedant to some of the visual styles in that anime.

's all

8/23/2007 11:47 PM  
Blogger Kenn said...

I love this blog David. I think Ashley Wood is amazing, he's matured a lot from his earlier work which IMO was a little too McKean-y

8/24/2007 6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ashley wears all his influences on his sleeve, Kent Williams and Phil Hale are definitely among them.

8/26/2007 4:07 AM  
Blogger Lorena's Blogbilingüe said...

Those telephone wires remind me of Chinese characters...interesting how shapes are repeated in the Universe.

8/28/2007 12:07 PM  
Blogger Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

What beautiful artwork and an amazing blog!!!


8/28/2007 12:09 PM  
Blogger Paola Pozzessere said...

Hi, would you like exchange our blog's links? Mi name is Paola and my blog's address is

In my blog you could find my email address.

Bye, Paola

8/28/2007 12:25 PM  
Blogger Mao:. said...

very beautiful blog...

8/28/2007 12:40 PM  
Anonymous AJ said...

Lovely post and an amazing blog. your narration is also engrossing-like a story. I have added you in my links; hope you dont mind.

8/28/2007 2:24 PM  
Blogger conceptualmotherfuck said...

I luv works in black and white!! Your blog's very good! Congratulations!

8/28/2007 2:53 PM  
Blogger Silent White Lion said...

The art is very nice! ;3 I like it!

8/28/2007 3:54 PM  
Blogger Caos Alfa said...

Jo, que guapos están. Muy buen blog, me gusta mucho.


8/28/2007 5:25 PM  
Blogger Anka..lub Dj Pajączu$$$$ said...

świetny blog zapraszam do mnie

8/28/2007 5:30 PM  
Blogger Pandafante said...

I agree with everyone, very nice blog and an excellent post. I had not seen Wood's work, I think it's very beautiful the way that he manages to express himself among very simple elements.

8/28/2007 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8/28/2007 8:01 PM  
Blogger NeoAuteur said...

Cool sketches! They are absolutely amazing.

8/29/2007 1:33 AM  
Blogger Oberon said... last, someone who appreciates the line......come see my photographs.

8/29/2007 1:50 AM  
Blogger Nate's Wife said...

What a fantastic blog. WHo are you and why are you doing this? Maybe I should read your profile and stuff, but my feet are really cold right now and I better go jam them between my hubby's warm legs. When he wakes up, I will say, There's this cooooool blog you HAVE to see!

Thanks for sharing neat stuff with the world. Good on ya!

8/29/2007 2:32 AM  
Anonymous Swee said...

I love those lines. Yes, many artists sketch on scraps and when they get to be famous, these scraps turn into gold...

8/29/2007 6:42 AM  
Blogger rosy said...

Ciao! Italiana..bello il tuo blog,d'arte. Anche il mio parla d'arte.
Ti aspetto! Se a te fa piacere.

8/29/2007 7:13 AM  
Blogger Renegade said...

Awesome illustrations!!!

Check out Renegade's BS

8/29/2007 10:56 AM  
Blogger CrazyCow said...

It's amazing what one can do with just black and white.

Thanks for this.

8/29/2007 11:21 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Kenn and anonymous, I agree with you-- Wood has some strong influences but he seems to have picked good ones. I think the quality of Wood's work has been erratic, but you can see him grow and mature which is the important thing.

8/29/2007 4:50 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

To Lorena, nature nut, paola, mao, aj,conceptualmotherfuck, silent, caos, anka and all the other new arrivals: welcome! I am overwhelmed by the new participants who found this humble little blog in the last two days. I am pleased that you found me (especially new friends from overseas) and flattered that you have seen fit to comment. I will be checking out your blogs and web sites. I hope you will return.

8/29/2007 5:06 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Nate's Wife, I think you made the right choice on the best use of your time. Tell poor Nate that he has my sympathies.

8/29/2007 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

Am I ever glad to have stumbled in here. I love Wood's drawings and your posts are very interesting.

8/29/2007 5:22 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Crazycow, you have put your finger on one of the recurring themes of this blog. I wake up each morning with my excitement for black and white drawings miraculously renewed.

8/29/2007 5:25 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Welcome, Laurie, and thanks for the kind comments.

8/29/2007 5:26 PM  
Blogger Nyfax said...

Thanks, very well done.

I'm reminded of the detail in R. Crumb's drawings.

8/29/2007 6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes David, I highly agree that Ashley Wood picks good guys to be influenced by. Can't really go wrong with Phil Hale, Kent Williams (frustrating artist for me though), Dave McKean, pretty sure he likes Mike Mignola. I also think he's into the concept artist for the Metal Gear Solid video game series. There's nothing wrong with wearing your influences at all.

8/30/2007 3:26 AM  
Blogger Henry Every. said...

Wonderful blog.

8/30/2007 3:01 PM  
Blogger Shore-Leave OIC said...

This art is absolutely amazing. So raw, so true,we often don't appreciate great artist until long after their dead.

9/01/2007 3:15 AM  
Blogger Free Online Dating said...

Very innovative and very expressive. Nice work.

9/01/2007 12:52 PM  
Blogger Charmuh said...

Very interesting stuff.

9/01/2007 9:06 PM  
Blogger Mike Conrad said...

Thats some great art.

9/02/2007 2:28 PM  
Blogger Mark Stroud said...

I know I'm a bit late on comenting on this. I count Ashely Wood as being influential to my work. Though his early work is more line art work. The things he's doing now are awesome. Yes 'Anonymous' he is into the artist that did the concept work for Metal Gear because he in fact is that artist. Lastly as far as influences go, don't forget Egon Schiele.

9/02/2007 8:46 PM  
Anonymous hassle free calls said...

nice pics. you took me 15 years back..

11/28/2007 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but, isn't telephone lines, are electrical lines. I see transformators.

Pero, no son lineas de telefono sino de electricidad, en algunos se ven os transformadores y los conectores de alta tensión.

5/19/2008 10:35 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home