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"Nicola Wood is an enchantress. Her spells are cast with paint and brush. Many automotive artists are able to move the soul of a car nut, but Wood can create powerful emotion in mere mortals."
--Larry Crane, Automobile Magazine


Born in Great Crosby, England, which lies just north of Liverpool, Nicola Wood had a quiet upbringing in a bucolic world of cows and fields and bowling greens where, as she puts it, "nothing ever happened."

Though Wood would pursue a successful career as a fabric and wallpaper designer between her formal art education and her emergence as a preeminent artist, Great Crosby did contribute to her eventual artistic preoccupation with the United States, most especially its cars and culture.

As a youngster, Wood spent Saturday mornings "going to pictures" at the Odeon theater in Great Crosby. There, in the darkness, she fell victim to the charms of such American icons as James Dean, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, and Marilyn Monroe. These personalities were accompaniments to a wider fascination with the lure of Southern California.

The preoccupation with things American made the step to including cars in her paintings an easy one. After all, what could be more representative of the United States than the automobile, especially the tailfinned monsters of the Sixties that Wood loves? Yet she is anything but a "car painter." Cars are a critical element in her paintings, but they are no means the only element.

After studying at various art schools for nine years and graduating from the Royal College of Art in London with first-class honors, Wood received a Fulbright scholarship to study at Parsons School of Design in New York. In addition to her work at Parsons, she executed her first published work, a book cover for Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana, and produced several illustrations commissioned by CBS to promote a documentary series. These appeared as full-page advertisements in the New York Times.

After nearly four years in New York, Wood returned to London and worked as a freelance fabric designer. In 1976, after spending one year in San Francisco and a stint in Taiwan, she settled in Los Angeles.

Wood did not paint her first car until 1981, when she saw a black 1959 Cadillac that bore the license plate VADAR. An inner urge forced the car onto a canvas, and that first automobile has set the tone for her work ever since.


All Art by Nicola Wood - Copyright © 2011