An Art Warrior's Journey
~Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Jeff Wood graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta on a sweltering day in September 1982. He left art school with a degree in Visual Communications and a fascination for all things art and music . In the strange way the universe works, later that afternoon he was hired by Mountain South Innovations, an apparel screen print company that worked in the music business. MSI's clients included several large mainstream bands and touring acts. It was his introduction into music merchandising.
Leaving Atlanta for a 6 year walkabout, he traveled the Native Powwow circuit selling beadwork, carvings, paintings and airbrushed shirts. During this period he was also doing restoration work on historical Native artifacts and creating Native American Church Fans. He worked in the non-profit world with Native youth. He even dabbled as an actor in the movie industry under the stage name Jeff Standing Bear.
Tired of being a starving artist, he jumped back into the default world and worked at several art director jobs in the screen printing business. In 1988 he discovered the power of the Macintosh computer and dove in head first.
Jeff moved to Surside Beach, SC. That Fall he became the Creative Director for Island Screenworks located in Myrtle Beach, SC. ISW was a state of the art screen printing facility specializing in large production runs on apparel and flatstock as well as producing surf wear and, once again, imagery for the music business. Jeff was also teaching digital graphics, consulting and writing digital graphics how-to articles for industry magazines such as The Press.
Jeff continued to work in the Native world creating shirt designs for Pow Wows. In the Fall of Drowning Creek Studio was born.
At 31 years of age, he crawled on a surfboard for the first time and fell in love with the ocean.
Jeff started doing posters for the entertainment business and High Times Magazine. He longed to pursue his love of art that was associated with music and alternative counter culture. Inspired by the work of Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso and Rick Griffin
He walked away from the corporate world to follow a dream. Many of his screen printing associates thought he had gone off the deep end. He had. No fear, straight for the deepest end it was.
Drowning Creek Studio was retooled as a rock art studio. Jeff also has a new partner, Judy Gex, who came on board to run sales and manage the staff. Judy, also an screen print artists did several early DCS collaborations Jeff and then moved more into her pottery work.
DCS truly was a long strange trip for over 14 years. Jeff worked in many different genres of the music industry from Punk and Rockabilly to Jamband and Southern Rock. Jeff's present musical infatuation is in the world fusion and transformational electronic scene which he was introduced to at Burning Man in 2006.
Burning Man changed his life. It tends to have that effect on people, especially artistic types looking to refocus their work. It was a definitive turning point in his career. He decided to pick up his brushes and start painting again. With a renewed love for oil painting he has studied the visionary arts under Maestro Roberto Venosa and Martina Hoffmann, as well as visionary masters Alex and Allyson Grey and Laurence Caruana. It was during this period of time that he started studying Buddhism and found a new outlook on life.
Jeff ended Drowning Creek to refocus his work. He started Zen Mystic Studio to enter into the transformational art movement and study oil painting. While still continuing to do work for the music industry, he has shifted a larger portion of his studio time to focus on fine art painting, art prints and more charitable work. He also now manifests live art at events and concerts along with a cadre of other live painters.
In August 2013 Jeff and a group of artists, promoters and other visionaries started the New Earth Art Church in Athens, Ga. The Church is a meeting place of like minded people in the local visionary community focused on teaching art techniques, sustainable living, yoga and other mindfulness practices.
Jeff presently reside in outside Athens, Georgia and maintains the original Drowning Creek Studio space and farm in Commerce, Ga. He can often be found wandering around the globe living in the present moment in search of new experiences and enjoying life.