When Art and Fashion Collide

Wood and Rith

by Bethany Snyder

The artwork of Jonas Wood '99 has been hanging on gallery and museum walls for years, but thanks to a collaboration with French fashion house and luxury retailer Louis Vuitton, it now hangs around the necks of fashionistas around the world.

Known for multidimensional and partially abstract paintings, drawings and prints of rich color and complex form, Wood's work was featured at two major shows this year: an exhibition of new work at the world-renowned Gagosian in New York City, which ran from April to July, and his first major solo museum exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art, which ran from March through July.

On the heels of the Gagosian show -- and just in time for New York Fashion Week -- the Louis Vuitton x Jonas Wood textile collection was announced. The scarves, shawls and stoles feature Wood's reinterpretations of Louis Vuitton's iconic monogram pattern, along with many of Woods' best-known subjects, including plants and basketballs. The collection of 11 pieces launched worldwide on Sept. 13.

Wood graduated from Hobart College with a degree in psychology, but it was a minor in studio art that helped set him on a path that led to the international stage. The influence of his mentor, Professor of Art and Architecture Nick Ruth, steered him in the direction of graduate art studies at the University of Washington, where Wood earned an MFA. Now, his "lush interiors, tender portraits, and vibrant still lifes," as described by the website artnet, are on display around the world.

Wood's work is part of the permanent collections of the Met, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum, among others. Based in Los Angeles, Calif., he is married to artist Shio Kusaka. They have two children.

Photo: Jonas Wood '99 stands with his mentor Professor of Art and Architecture Nick Ruth at the Gagosian during the exhibit opening.