Something about the iridescence and fluidity of these murals by London-based artist Rosie Woods radiates a feeling of tranquility, calling to mind the sun sparkling on clear water or diaphanous clouds. In the world of street art, Woods’ style is pretty unique, using spray paint to drape flowing textiles across building facades, buses, barges, and other urban surfaces. The contrast between her ethereal creations and the grittiness of the murals’ settings has a strangely calming effect – you can almost feel your blood pressure lowering as you gaze at them.
“I often wonder what my soul would look like if it manifested itself as an object I could see and touch on this earth,” Woods says. “My artwork today looks to express the depth, growth, and complexity of the mind as well as its ability to encompass both light and dark spaces emotionally. I’d like to think you can ‘feel’ my artwork with your eyes.”
Woods has brought her beautiful murals across the world for street art festivals and commissions, and though you’ll occasionally spot a human figure, animal, flower, or other recognizable object in them, her most recent works have honed in on the graceful qualities of flowing fabrics. As she explained in an interview with the podcast Street Art Unearthed, she loves the way abstract art can conjure up emotions without using overt symbolism. As she honed her craft over the years, she came across a few art theorists that resonated with her.
“They were just talking about the abstract way of stretching your imagination, and also connecting with something other than what’s physically in front of you,” she said on the podcast. “There was a guy called Clive Bell that used to talk about aesthetic emotion and how you can really connect with a piece of art despite it having no narrative and just sort of exploring that emotional response you can have to an artwork. Learning about these theories did influence the direction my work then took after that. I’d say my last years of study I started to really push that. I was using realistic imagery that I’d taken, just photographs, and then blending into quite abstract patterns and painting on a really large scale.”
Some of Woods’ favorite projects include a trip to Norway to join an annual student festival wherein artists creatively repaint 1970s school buses from top to bottom, and one of her largest murals to date for the Heartwalk Festival in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The latter project saw her scale a 30-by-60-foot building to cover its pale aqua facade in gold and amber ribbons. In 2020, Woods was also recognized for a project on London’s Burdett Road to thank the NHS for their hard work during the pandemic.
If you love her style, you’ll be happy to hear you can pick up some of Woods’ artworks in non-mural forms. In 2021, she collaborated with sustainable swimwear and activewear brand Tide and Seek to create a gorgeous series of garments splashed with her signature style, and she also puts works on canvas up for sale at her website, though they tend to sell out fast. Keep up with the artist on Instagram @itsrosiewoods.