Jonas Wood was born in Boston in 1977. His father was an architect, his mother the head of the theater department at the Cambridge School of Weston, where Wood attended high school.
Wood’s grandfather was a pediatrician who had an extensive art collection, which included works by Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and a Francis Bacon painting that he sold for a record price at auction.
His initial plan was to study science and become a doctor, like his grandfather, but he studied psychology instead at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York with a minor in painting. During his final year at the school, he focused on art, received his BA in Psychology in 1999 and decided to continue his studies in art. In 2002, Wood completed his MFA at the University of Washington.
Wood met and married ceramic artist Shio Kusaka while they both studied at the University of Washington.
The couple moved to Los Angeles in 2003. While continuing to work on his own art, Wood spent two years as a studio assistant for painter and gallery owner Laura Owens and another two years as assistant for sculptor Matt Johnson.
In 2006, Wood had a very successful show at the Black Dragon Society gallery in LA’s Chinatown, which led to exhibits in Chicago and New York.
His quirky style was described, in 2011, by New York Times art critic, Roberta Smith, “More than ever his works negotiate an uneasy truce among the abstract, the representational, the photographic and the just plain weird.”
Wood uses his living spaces, photos and Kusaka’s pottery in his sleek and colorful paintings and prints.
The demand for his work has grown, not just in the U.S., but around the world. In May 2019, Christie’s set an auction record for Japanese Garden 3, which sold for a $4.9 million.
In 2019, Wood collaborated with Louis Vuitton to create a limited edition bag that sold for $8,600 each.
Wood shares a home and studio with Kusaka, their two children and their dog, Robot. He uses Kusaka’s works as a focal point for many of his paintings.
His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Centre Pompidou, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Fundación Jumex, the Hammer Museum, the Marciano Art Foundation, , the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles.
Sam Cochran. Step Inside L.A. Art Star Jonas Wood’s Magical World. Architectural Digest. November 4, 2017.
Roberta Smith. Paintings by Jonas Wood. The New York Times. March 17, 2011.
Linda Yablonsky. The Insider/Jonas Wood. T Magazine/CultureThe New York TImes. March 20, 2012.
Edmund Lee. Artist Shio Kusaka and Jonas Wood share similar creative interests. South China Morning Post. January 28, 2015.
Peter Davis. Jonas Wood and the Art of the Everyday. C Magazine. Summer, 2019.
Jennifer Samet. Beer with a Painter, LA Edition: Jonas Wood. Hyperallergic. September 12, 2015.
Par Arnaud Klein. Inside the making of the Louis Vuitton bag designed by the artist Jonas Wood. Vogue Paris. June 24, 2019.