Zara Wood, Creating Characters (2012)

For anyone who likes their girls with a sublimated death drive, please find above chain smoker Nicole, one of ten new characters by artist and illustrator Zara Wood.

That‘s artist and illustrator. And it could be argued that distinctions between the two roles come down to a position with regards to the written word.

Woods characters cry out for an author. Even swinging from their clipboards in the window of Super + Super, they appear to interact. Stories could well emerge.

But this mini show in the midst of the Brighton festival has to some degree put the cart before the horse. They are illustrations for stories not yet written.

And whereas illustrations put narratives first, most contemporary art puts the word, whether written yet or not, second. Text follows on the heels of oblique art.

Such speculation about chickens and eggs may not get us anywhere. After all for most of history, so called fine artists were illustrating the greatest story ever told.

And we don’t even know whether stories or visions came first in the prehistoric art found in and around the Pyrenees. Were these illustrations too?

It is tempting to bring this debate back to material conditions. Nicole was drawn up in an illustrator’s studio and hangs in the window of a Brightonian creative hub.

And she has called them characters, rather than portraits, which is hardly surprising since they include an unlikely sausage dog and a placard waving penguin.

Okay, so Wood’s show has occasioned 200 tendentious words on this art blog, it would have been better to write some fiction about Nicole. Anyone?

Nicole and friends can be found in the window of Super + Super in Brighton, 7 Kings Road, until June 4.

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