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In his Hackney Wick studio – a large, white room adorned with postcards, sketches and photographs of people’s faces – London-based artist Wilfrid Wood is putting the finishing touches on an oversized sculpture of Mark Zuckerberg’s head.
“I can get quite distracted by people’s looks,” he laughs. “It’s a sort of… slight problem.”
Indeed, Wood’s fascination with faces and bodies has inspired him to create hundreds of caricaturesque sculptures of people. He shows us a Ken doll-sized David Cameron in swimming trunks, telling us that creating nude portraits of public figures gives them an element of humanity. On his shelves are other recognisable heads: a cartoonish Angela Merkel, the squashed face of Wayne Rooney, a plasticine Muhammad Ali.
Wood began his career with a degree in graphics from London’s Central Saint Martins, before going on to work creating latex puppets for a satirical TV show. It was during his TV work that he developed a keen interest in creating 3D sculptures, eventually going freelance full time. He now lives and works in Hackney Wick, one of East London’s most artistic boroughs with over 600 artist studios.
Wood’s quirky handmade portraits have since been exhibited across the world, from Seoul to Arizona. While he has traveled extensively, his British upbringing in a family of artists has had a big impact on the way he works today. He tells Vice that he was surrounded by ‘a very British traditional sort’ of culture, and has been striving his whole life to carve his own identity.
It seems he succeeded: his self-described ‘wonky’ caricatures are instantly recognisable and certainly one-of-a-kind. And he’s not short of inspiration. “I’d like to think that I could do a portrait of anyone,” he tells us. “There’s hardly such a thing as a boring face.”