Meet Ian Woods, a trailblazing remix artist who has garnered social media’s attention since 2015. He employs an off-centre technique of blending brand logos, pastels, crayons and intricate detailing to create unrepeated and innovative collage pieces. With a focus on celebrity figures, Ian’s remixing process involves layering and combining different elements to create an evocative visual style. Since 2015, he has caught the attention of renowned platforms, including features in the National Geographic, a commission of the LA Times Lakers 75th Anniversary and the New York Times selecting his book cover as one of the best of 2022.
To start getting to know you a bit better, could you reflect on a meaningful relationship in your life that has profoundly influenced both you as a person and your artistic work? How does this person continue to shape and inspire your creative process?
I would say my mother and father, they literally are my best friends. They’ve both shaped me in different ways artistically. My father is more on the business side of it. Like throwing out suggestions on how I should sell my work and stuff along those lines. My mother pushes me more when it comes to trying new things and switching it up a bit.
How was the process of finding your personal style and expression like? Did it just kind of organically flow out of you or were you struggling to find your technique during your early years as an artist?
I would say my artistic style did happen organically. I really just go with the flow (laughs).
Your recent artwork features plenty of remixes centred around celebrities. Can you share the intention behind incorporating them into your collages? What do you hope people take from this work?
I was kinda raised on pop culture. My mum always kept People Magazine, Us Weekly Magazine, and others around the house. She would always watch Opera and TMZ. I always liked going through the magazines and was intrigued by the obsession with celebrities and stuff of that nature. I don’t really hope they take anything from it. Let them see how they see it.
Your artistic creations possess a distinctive personality, often described as bold and evocative, almost akin to an acid trip. Have you noticed a difference in how you perceive yourself and how others interpret your art?
I do notice a difference. I feel like people assume I’m super out there and colourful but it’s the complete opposite. I’m very much reserved unless you really know me.
You’ve previously mentioned artists like Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat as sources of inspiration. Can you recall an experience where you encountered an artist who deeply resonated with you, leaving a lasting impact on your creative mindset?
An old friend StudioWos. He was really my introduction into collage art, I was in such a depressive mindset and his way of doing collage really impressed me. He did collage so differently incorporating pencil, yarn, and crayons etc. So I really wanted to take a swing at it and incorporate my own style and it’s evolved ever since.
One part of evolving as an artist is often a balance between staying true to your vision and responding to audience preferences. Have you ever felt the pressure to adjust your style based on what your viewers enjoy? If so, do you view it as a positive or negative element in your artistic progression?
Not necessarily the style but the subject matter. Which I have no problem doing but it can be challenging. I see it as a negative, because sometimes I want to do different subject matters (like non celebrity works) and can’t necessarily at the time because I’m getting a lot of love with celebrities at the moment. So I have to go with that.
Have you ever found yourself wanting to change your style of art but hesitated, concerned that your viewers see it as an integral part of your identity?
Never. I always go off my artistic instincts and try not to let any outside influence sway me another other way. I feel like my followers are really supportive of my work and any time I switch it up they support 100% and I’m truly grateful for that. They let me be me.
Over time you’ve amassed quite a lot of recognition on social media and within the art community. Has this increasing investment in your work posed challenges or pressures for you? If so, how do you navigate the expectations?
It’s definitely made me second guess myself at certain points. I feel like sometimes people expect me to switch styles up fast and frequently , so I feel like it’s pressure to change styles a lot.
Social media has undoubtably opened up various opportunities for you as an artist. Could you elaborate on your experience with platforms like Instagram? Have you faced any negative experiences that might influence your decision to step away from social media in the future?
My experience with Instagram has been very negative as of late, even though I’m eternally grateful to be able to share my work with thousands of on this platform. I feel like it’s got harder for artists to reach a bigger audience. Now you have to make reels and do all this extra stuff to get a little ounce of exposure. It’s definitely affected me mentally here and there. I definitely want to get to a point where I don’t need social media anymore as a life line.
Congratulations on The New York Times selecting your book cover as one of the best of 2022! Are you keen on pursuing more commercial collaborations in your artistic journey?
Thank you so much! I definitely am I want to as much as possible.
More of your work was recently featured in National Geographic, and you were commissioned to create a piece for the LA Times Lakers 75th Anniversary. How does it feel to receive recognition from renowned brands that have likely been familiar to you throughout your entire life?
It definitely feels surreal, it even feels like I’m not deserving of it sometimes or not good enough while I make these works for bigger brands. Ultimately I get out of that mindset (laughs), but I’m very blessed to be hit up by these companies and I hope it continues.
You’ve developed a unique collage technique that has evolved over the years through experimentation. Looking ahead, are there specific areas or other mediums you are keen to explore further in your future projects?
I really want to get serious with painting, I found my own style with that which I’m excited about. But it’s on the back burner for the time being. I’m not in a rush with that at all.
Your work is predominantly showcased on social media. Is the idea of exhibiting in an art gallery and seeing people’s real-time reactions intimidating in any way?
I do want to get into galleries and do some pop ups. Seeing people’s real time reactions to my work isn’t intimidating at all. I really believe in my work ultimately so that can never really be a factor.
Are there any projects or pieces you’re currently working on that we should look out for?
At the moment just my work with Spotify and Frequency. I’ve been creating pieces for different artists every month so that’s been fun and challenging.