3D artist Sam Wood combines high and low cultures to create gloriously absurd scenes

CG animation can look quite predicatable and samey. But Sam Wood mixes up genres masterfully to craft something quite special and unique.

Sam Wood is a 3D illustrator and animator based in London. Since graduating from the University Of Brighton in 2020 with a BA in Illustration, he's been working on a range of personal projects and client work.

Play and an element of discovery are consistently at the centre of his work. And his ongoing project Wychstone Toy Factory directly explores this element of his practice.

"This project involves me setting myself a series of constraints," says Sam. "For example, I'll challenge myself to make a loop in an hour, using only five basic shapes. My work on this project is informed by my sketchbook drawings and lets me constantly create."

Borrowing from high and low cultures, Sam is interested in the cross-section between surrealism, absurdism, and horror. He strives to use specific elements from each without focusing on one single genre.

"This often culminates in a kind of magical realism and dream logic in the internal structure of the spaces I'm exploring," he says. His influences include McDonald's toys, Sally Cruikshank, Norman McClaren, Raggedy Ann & Andy, and "bookshelves that reveal secret rooms".

The deconstruction of character plays an important role in his work, too. Familiar body parts are placed alongside abstract shapes to contort and deconstruct the viewer's understanding of the characters presented. Faces are worn as shoes, shoes may contain faces, and arms are used as tubes that can present any manner of things at the end of them.

"I'm interested in my narratives taking place in non-places; environments that can seem to sprawl for miles one second and then immediately become claustrophobic and disorientating," says Sam.

"I explore this in my film Tender Driver," he adds. "By placing pieces of familiar architecture and objects in an unlikely space that conventionally would render them useless, they find their function in the internal logic presented by the world of Wychstone, the space in which my stories and characters live."


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