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Grahamsville illustrator Scott Woods spent 10 years in Hollywood – starting out as a driver for Steven Spielberg’s mom before working for the famed director’s Dreamworks company. He will show his art tomorrow at the Cutting Garden in Youngsville.

Scott Woods left Hollywood for Grahamsville

By Jeanne Sager
YOUNGSVILLE — August 6, 2010 — He’s worked on “Shrek” and the “Hardy Boys.”
He’s driven Steven Spielberg’s mom to Nieman Marcus and Harry Winston.
But when Scott Woods sits down to paint, it’s the hills of Sullivan County that inspire him.
Raised in Franklin Lakes, NJ, the Grahamsville resident spent much of his childhood at his family’s farm in Callicoon Center.
So when Woods was ready to leave the fast pace of Hollywood, it was Sullivan County that beckoned as home.
But first came adventure – aptly starting with a career illustrating the covers of boys adventure novels for Simon and Schuster and Doubleday.
A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Woods even worked on a “Hardy Boys” remake during his time drawing the elaborate covers, many from the farm where brother Doug and sister-in-law Joan now run a tree farm, Trees of the Woods.
But changes in the industry – he jokes the move toward photography on book covers has made him a “dinosaur” – and his own lust to push forward sent Woods back to New York City to earn a film certificate from New York University.
With an award-winning film from the college under his arm, Woods loaded up his car and headed west.
“I said I’m going to work for Steven Spielberg,” he recalled with a quiet laugh that peppers his speech. “I didn’t know a single person, but I packed my car and my tent!”
Scoring a job working for Universal Studios’ theme park, Woods used his days off to sneak onto the lot of Spielberg’s company, Amblin Entertainment, via Universal’s campus.
Every day, he knocked on the door.
Every day, they sent him packing.
Until they didn’t.
“They said, ‘We’ll give you a job,’ basically to get rid of me,” Woods related, laughing at himself. They told him it would be for Spielberg, not for Amblin.
“I said, ‘What, do you want me to babysit his kids?’”
Not quite.
The job was as Spielberg’s mom’s personal assistant.
“She’s 90 years old now, and we still talk often,” Woods said. “We had the best times.”
A year of driving Leah Adler to Nieman Marcus and Harry Winston under his belt, and Woods was in. He had a job in the animation division of Amblin.
From there he jumped to the newly formed Dreamworks Entertainment, working on “Shrek,” “Balto,” “The Prince of Egypt” and other films.
“I worked on ‘Twister’ for one day!” he said with a grin, “‘Cats,’ the animated musical… I worked on that for a year and it has never seen the light of day.”
But after 10 years in Los Angeles, seven at Dreamworks, Woods jokes that he “got sick of beautiful weather.”
He and partner Albert Fuchs pulled up stakes and came back to the county, buying a house seven years ago just outside Grahamsville.
By day, Woods works at Everlasting Spring, the garden center owned by Doug and Joan in White Sulphur Springs.
“It gets me off the mountain,” he said with the same easy grin that charmed the folks at Amblin into giving him a job.
But by night, Woods paints.
He does work for Jeffersonville’s Echo Letterpress. He helps with the Jeffersonville Journal; his work has even graced the cover.
He paints children’s portraits, capturing childhood in windswept hair and infectious grins. He avoids the forced poses of a school portrait for a moment captured in time.
And he paints the scenes of Sullivan County.
“Sullivan County is just it to me, I get excited by an old barn door and the ripply glass,” he confessed. “They’re treasures to me.”
This weekend, Woods will share his work in an artist’s reception at Youngsville’s The Cutting Garden, part of the store’s yearly Ground Up festival celebrating what Sullivan County has to offer.
He’ll be on hand from noon to 3 to meet and greet, but the art will stay up until Labor Day, for view and for sale.

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