From a young boy obsessed with popular culture and possessed with extreme artistic talent, to an established artist with multiple exhibitions to his name, Chris Woods has lived an artist’s dream.
“I have been very lucky to be able to pursue my chosen profession, and UFV played no small part in my success,” he says. “It’s a pinch-me situation: I get to live the life I prefer, and be what I want and who I want.”
Woods was a military brat and became a pop-culture addict after seeing Star Wars “400,000 times” (okay, maybe he exaggerates a little).
He is well known for his photo-realist style and visual commentary on consumer culture. His art captures the essence of pop culture in the late 20th century and the new millennium. He blends the consumer milieu of convenience stores and fast food restaurants with the profound and sacred of religious artistic traditions, creating his own unique take on hyper-realism. He often uses his close friends as models.
His Star Wars-inspired solo show SANDSTORM set attendance records at The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford in the summer of 2013.
Woods has exhibited 20 solo shows since 1988 and also appeared in numerous group shows in Canada and the United States over that time. He has work in numerous public and private collections worldwide. His 1997 painting McDonald’s Nation (from his Royal Treats series) has become a symbol for the global anti-consumerism movement.
As Woods has matured as an artist, he has observed his former art school maturing and evolving concurrently.
“I am amazed to see how UFV has evolved and grown, especially in the visual arts area,” he says. “UFV was a crucible for me. It was my art history instructor, Rory Wallace, who encouraged me to submit an application for Artropolis 90, my first show. And I learned a lot in the studio courses I took.”
Officially mid-career now, Woods says he is “ready for a reboot” on his approach to being an artist. He would love to transition into teaching. He has been a guest presenter to UFV classes.
“Being a visual artist can be lonely on a day-to-day basis. It’s great to be a part of an artistic community such as the one being created by UFV’s students, alumni, and faculty.”
As for being chosen as one of UFV’s Top 40, he says he is “over the moon” about the selection.
“It was one of the most pleasant surprises I have had the good fortune to receive! I am hugely honoured that people think me worthy of this. I have huge respect for what UFV has built, and am honoured to be thought of as a peer by the faculty there.”