Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Calgary, 2003
Stuart Ward is a contemporary Canadian artist. The son of an archaeologist and a businessman, he has a deep respect for cultural history, and a pragmatic approach to his professional art practice. His formal arts education focused on oil painting and art theory; post-grad, he transitioned to digital work while in Tokyo during the heyday of its live vj scene in the mid 2000s. As his experience in the industry grew, he found opportunities to collaborate with musicians, artists, dancers, and performers on multidisciplinary projects.
Evolving from the digital to the digital-physical in the late 2000s, he delved into the immersive art experience and began exploring the power of interactive art installations. Returning to Canada in 2010 to further hone his skills in projection mapping, he contributed to the proliferation of the medium in Western Canada by training other artists and creatives. Stuart went on to start an experiential design studio, working with internationally recognized brands to help them create brand-supported art for their marketing campaigns. The studio worked with companies such as Porsche, Cadillac, Lyft, TED, Asics, and Heineken.
Stuart makes art that seeks to create moments of awe and compel people to deeply engage with the work. His explorations at the edge of the legitimized art world attempt to examine the role that business and marketing plays in shaping sponsored artwork versus private commissions, and ultimately, who the artist must gratify in order for their art to be considered successful.
Post-pandemic (lol), however, Stuart has moved away from these external dualities and returned to the true intention behind the artwork. Now playing with the borders between the digital and the physical, and the commercialization and integrity of art, Stuart’s work borrows from experience design to inform how artwork can be expressed in an environment that knows no physical boundaries.
From his earliest VJ works to his most recent creations, a core theme through Ward’s work is the possibility of offering a transformational experience that isn’t encumbered by status, money, gender, or any of the other wordly limitations humankind subscribes to ; a moment of elation and wonder that can only emerge from the aesthetic experience, regardless of where it might be or what form it might take.
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