About Kay Wood's earlier artwork
Before I became a graphic novelist, I had a long history as a painter with shows all over – even had a work in a show in Japan. Mostly I showed my paintings, hand made books and installation works at Denise Bibro Fine Art in New York City. If you’d like to find out more about my art history, here’s a small selection: http://kaywood-art.com/
Here's what some critics have said about my past work.
Art critic Lilly Wei said about Kay Wood’s work: It’s “... beautifully rendered, visually penetrable but hard, sealed, the pictures and marks embedded in many layers of translucent acrylic, layers that glow as the light passes through them, activating the color. Like fossils in resin, the configurations are preserved and presented, specimens from a cabinet of curiosities, visual tests to be decoded...”
Jeff Wright said in Cover Magazine: “...Wood sees her work as balancing aesthetic concerns with thematic propositions...The works are handsome and have a dreamy quality. Their success lies in their ability to conflate both the apparent and the apparition.”
R.B. Strauss “...Kay Wood's paintings focus on the geological and the biological. Her work is mixed media on paper on wood...Natural splendor from all quarters is found at Pentimenti Gallery.”
Roberta Fallon “...Kay Wood's collage oil paintings. The small, colorful works showcase images of objects--some manmade, some natural--floating in fields of rich color. The images--organic shapes like a pear or a fossilized flower and inorganic shapes like a glove or a shower curtain ring--are hand-drawn, then scanned and collaged onto the paintings. The play of manmade vs. nature works well against a background that suggests a cosmos of fading stars and looming black holes...[It evokes] thoughts about ecology and humankind's careless husbandry of the earth.”
I’ve a long history as an artist creating and showing paintings and mixed media installations in galleries and museums in the US and abroad. However, in 2010 I was moved by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill/major disaster in the Gulf of Mexico to make a major change in my artistic practice. I simply had to find a more accessible way to communicate as an artist my absolute horror at that disaster and at the whole callous short sighted way our world goes after fossil fuel profits at the expense of all other considerations. I needed a way to reach more and different people in addition to the wonderful people who attended my gallery shows.
Thus, in my sixties I launched into becoming a graphic novelist with The Big Belch. I knew next to nothing about producing a graphic novel, but I knew I could draw and wasn't too awful at writing.
This new art practice allowed me to express myself in new ways using my talents as an artist and writer. It’s also a subversive act, seducing readers with line and humor. It would, I hoped, reach under the fog of partisanship, misinformation, and apathy to prick the comfortable and infect them with ideas about the dangers and appalling inequity in our world while they laughed at what seemed merely whimsical fluff.
I hoped with The Big Belch to point out things like the folly of not having strong safety measures in a big industrial effort such oil drilling. Drilling deep in the earth out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico to rip out what is really rotted dinosaur carcasses? Possibly some minds might even be changed about the wisdom of doing such extreme drilling in the first place.
I lucked out. People reacted to The Big Belch much as I’d hoped. I had a successful Kickstarter campaign and reached many people who probably never would have walked into one of the shows of my paintings. I gave talks I sold books, I got grants, I even was offered the chance to do a radio show because of the book. Busy busy busy. Life intervened in major ways, so even though I had the plan for a second graphic novel it has been a sloooow process.
But of course the oil industry kept on doing their thing, and there’s climate change. Such an innocuous sounding term isn’t it? But it means we are fast approaching the tipping point when we will have made earth uninhabitable for ourselves. Cockroaches, amoebas, bacteria, and things like that probably will still be around but us? Nope. Syanora.
Today, a lot of people still apparently think climate change is a hoax or not too important. This despite the overwhelming body of science proving that climate change is here, it’s harming us right now, and that if we don’t rapidly change our ways there will be no livable earth for our children to call home.
Climate change scares the pants off me, of course, but what I find so galling is that the poorest people, and particularly the darkest skinned people, who are the least responsible for creating this mess are the very ones being hurt the worst.
I had to, and still have to, do whatever I can in my small way as an artist to make things better. This led to me to do my first graphic novel, then to producing and hosting a radio show, Planet Philadelphia, about our shared environment, and working on my second graphic novel, The Big Frack.
The Big Frack will be in color, unlike The Big Belch. That, of course, adds a lot more time to getting it finished. I'm now about halfway done and have even joined a writers group to help spur me get this puppy done. I'll let you know when I do.
I wish you all the best for sanity and survival in our strange world,
k at thebigbelch.com
A message from Kay Wood in the midst of the 2018-19 government shut down and general imbroglio that is politics today.
Some bits of Big Belch news:
2014 Art and Change Grant
Successful Kickstarter project
Fun article about The Big Belch, Fletcher's famous!
2016 Art and Change Grant for Planet Philadelphia radio show
"Kay Wood's graphic novella pits a gang of haplessly humorous activists against an environmental Armageddon in the making. In the "Big Belch," the stakes are high but so are the spirits of characters bumbling their way to a better world." — Singe Wilkinson, Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist