Issy Wood is best known for her melancholic still-life paintings of car interiors, jackets, and tchotchkes, which have earned pride of place in galleries and museums worldwide. But she has another passion that has quickly become a second career: music. 

For her latest single, “Both,” a moody electro-pop number that elicits equal parts malaise and anxiety, the artist teamed up with her friend, American writer and director Lena Dunham, to produce a jarring video starring the actor and model Hari Nef. 

The video captures Nef as she moves through various emotional states—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and, eventually acceptance—sparked by lost love. “You don’t try you’ll never know / if I don’t know I’ll die alone,” Wood sings in haunting vocals.  

The camera pans to close-ups of Nef’s face and follows her as she moves from her front door to the couch to the bed (a true lockdown-era vibe). As she stares at the camera, the sense of loneliness that often follows a breakup is never far from the surface. 

The single is set to be included in Wood’s third EP, which is self-published and due out in August. While Wood herself does not appear in the video, her paintings do. The young artist renders everyday objects directly on Nef’s skin with body paint: a Diet Coke, a fork, scissors, a clock, a toothbrush. Reminiscent of the stick-and-poke tattoos popular among Gen Z, they evoke the dexterous skill Wood continues to hone as a painter. 

In a recent interview with Vogue, Dunham said she instructed Wood to make a list of items she associated with abject depression. “That’s what she came up with,” Dunham said. “I think that she should set up a realist body painting stand where kids come and get a crumpled tissue painted on their face or, you know, eight pills of Prozac, but she hasn’t taken me up on that yet.”

The end result is a video that masterfully blends Wood’s surreal yet emotional world with Dunham’s unique ability to capture these sentiments on film—an honest and vulnerable depiction of the roller coaster of heartache. 

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.