Enriching the Arts

Featured Artist: Wade Stout, ASA

Merchant of Venice #7 of 15(1)

Wade Stout, Merchant of Venice


Wade graduated from the University of Calgary with a Masters of Science in 1982. Since that time he has been practicing art! Part of his work has been the exploration of Shakespearean texts in a visual manner. He says, ” Art, for me, is about interpretation. You interpret your world through your experiences; because of this the ‘art product’ is an individualized product that hopefully still resonates with the universal in others…Art is not just a ‘slice of life’; choices are made and because of this art becomes ‘life plus’, life plus knowledge, life plus history, life plus esthetics. Art is always more than life itself. This is what makes it special.”

Macbeth #13 of 18(1)

Wade Stout, Macbeth



Q & A with the ASA

ASA: Could you tell us about your influences?

Wade: I believe Art should be made for the public. It should engage, entertain, enlighten and finally provide subject matter for discussion. In keeping with this philosophy I try to make my work approachable. To do this I draw from both the illustration and illumination traditions (modern to medieval). This tends to make the work bold, colourful and graphic. I try to create works that are both visually and intellectually entertaining as well as being appropriate for a wide audience. While illustration is often concerned with action (like comics) illumination is more concerned with ideas. By combining the two I hope to create a comic book of ideas.

ASA: Which body of your work would you consider most successful to date?

Hamlet #5 of 13(1)

Hamlet, Wade Stout

Wade: I created three shows that toured Alberta and British Columbia. Each of the shows was based on a different Shakespeare play. Because of peoples’ familiarity (from high school) with Shakespeare the works are both accessible and educational in that they expand on an already existing familiarity.

Insights derived from the paintings enabled me to write three books on Shakespeare exposing readers to ideas never before documented in Shakespeare criticism (Early Modern Language called the essay on Hamlet “ingenious”). The paintings provide an interesting example of how the act of visual imagination can give rise to academic insight into literary works that in turn contribute new ideas to the understanding of Shakespeare.

The shows have been well received in Edmonton, Medicine Hat and Victoria (where the Macbeth show was held over because of public interest). Each of these shows is meaningful to me in a different way but I think the collection of works based on The Merchant of Venice is the most significant in that they demonstrate that the play is a celebration of Jewish Kabbala and embrace Jewish philosophy. They clearly indicate that Shakespeare understood this philosophy and positively identified with it.

ASA and TREX Address

Crossroads Art Centre
#302 - 1235 26th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2G 1R7
ASA Phone: (403) 265-0012
TREX Phone: (403) 262-4669

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