‘Art should punch you in the stomach. It should make you feel hard! It should make you think about yourself and the world around you. What’s the point of art if it cannot do this?’- SD
When Kamloops man, Stace Dewolf was a kid, he was always drawing regular things like tanks and knights. It wasn’t until he was in high school that he felt a strong connection to art. His art teacher saw something brilliant in Stace and so created a curriculum for him. He taught the creative young student the rules of art and design, art history and most significantly for Stace, the teacher showed him his passion for art.
“At the end of every school year, the teacher would give me all the art supplies and I would work hard all summer and bring in all the work I did. He would see the progression and for the next three years we developed a strong friendship.”
When I browse through Stace’s prints I am mesmerized. The expressions on many of the faces he has created look haunted and full of despair. I have discovered why. Stace has had real struggles with mental health issues and addiction in his life. And he expresses all of his emotions through his creations.
“My own personal struggles with mental health and addiction provide me with a unique perspective. I try to focus on the feeling and the message that things can and do get better. My work has a way of connecting with people who have suffered with similar issues.
My personal experiences have forged a sense of purpose and I have learned to take better care of myself mentally and spiritually. The euphoria that comes when I create is a powerful tool that propels me forward.
I am trying not to focus so much on the dark parts of my life but rather tap into the substance that can be turned into a message that can help others see they are not alone. Art has really been a conduit throughout my life that has allowed me to work through things and has helped me work hard at being a better human being. I will continue speaking out through my work and my words.”
‘My work looks deep into the human condition. My own personal struggles with mental health and addiction have really brought more congruence with myself and my work. I try to express my own feelings of hopelessness and despair that I used to feel into a relatable visual story.’-SD
Picasso, Dali, Bacon, Van Gogh & the German expressionists hugely influenced Stace and his art when he was growing up and to this day. As an expressionist artist, Stace loves the process of creating. He uses vibrant colours and stark imagery to grip his viewers on an emotional level and pull them in.
I wanted to know about the financial aspect of pursuing a passion that may not always pay the bills. I was curious to know how Stace’s business, Wolfman Originals was doing. In other words, is he a ‘starving artist’?
“I have always had to work regular jobs. Art has always been my passion but passion doesn’t always support a family in the necessary ways. I have been at this for a long time and it’s only been in the past three years that I have begun to sell a lot of work. This year in particular has been outstanding for sales and I am so grateful for that support. The belief in my message and the love for my work is so rewarding on so many levels. I have recently started to sell in America and that’s been really exciting. It’s an amazing feeling when you sell something to someone and you see the admiration and love for your work on their faces. It’s very humbling and very personal on an emotional level.”
‘Creating and expressing myself through art is a very personal and intimate experience. Everything that happens in my life indirectly affects the creative process. Emotions I have experienced work their way through my work. It’s like a visual diary on display for all to see.’-SD
‘You are worth it! Never give up on yourself and never doubt your heart because your heart is never wrong. The message in my work is hope. Not just hope on the issues of mental health and addiction but hope for humanity as a whole.’ -SD
Stace is currently supporting Kamloops woman, Marlene Hibbs, as she rides her bicycle across Canada in hopes of convincing Parliament to increase funding and services for Canadians struggling with mental health issues.
You can go to Wolfman Originals to make a one time donation for her cause, or pick out your favourite Archival Print. $20 of the $100 will go towards Marlene’s efforts.