Catching up with Jesse Wood


By Amanda Walck

Painting, reading, and traveling are constants in the life of Jesse Wood. In the five years since he appeared in Southwest Art, these three passions have continued to grow. “I have followed that troika relentlessly, allowing one dream to lead me to the next in a fluid dance of brushes, books, and backpacking,” says Wood.

A modernist painter based in Santa Fe, NM, Wood finds endless inspiration in literature and traveling the world. In the past decade, the 36-year-old artist has visited Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. “I travel because I can,” he says. “I realize I may not always have the means or time to travel. And the world may not remain this accessible in years to come.” Wood contends there is something akin to the spiritual in the motion and migration of people across the world. “Fewer walls would be nice,” he adds.

His wanderings allow him to soak up experiences, and he tries to absorb everything he can on his travels, from art museums and galleries to graffiti in the streets. “In large cities like Berlin, the street art is inspiring. I get ideas from just looking at the graffiti,” says Wood. The places he visits spark his creativity when he gets back to the studio.

MT. PINKY, OIL, 30 X 24
MT. PINKY, OIL, 30 X 24

Wood’s paintings have hung at Meyer East Gallery in Santa Fe for more than six years. “Jesse’s style is hard to label; it’s unique unto its own,” says gallery owner Kent Whipple. “His work is a fun study in forms and shape, with exciting lines, curves, and plays on geometry.

“One of Jesse’s strengths as an artist is that he doesn’t put himself in a box or limit himself to certain subject matter. He challenges himself,” Whipple continues. “Jesse has been a part of the art community in Santa Fe for the past decade, part of a small but incredibly talented group of artists who continually push themselves and each other.”

While foreign travel remains an abiding passion, Wood also finds inspiration close to home. “Though my artwork reflects places I visited in the past, I have rediscovered my enthusiasm for the limitless Southwestern desert,” says the artist. And despite the economic difficulties that can often accompany the life of any artist, Wood remains positive about the career he has chosen. “I’m doing exactly what I would want to do if I had all the money in the world.”

He is represented by Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, NM and Platform Gallery, Tucson, AZ.

Featured in September 2008