Stretching the Canvas

Calgary artist John Will

Calgary artist John Will


Calgary artist John Will's greatest work of art may be John Will himself. He is a trouble-maker, scamp, and rapscallion. Jim Brown takes us on a guided tour of Will's latest: the first-ever visual art show created for radio.... through the life of a bohemian extraordinaire.

Please note: This Ideas episode is not available as a podcast due to copyright restrictions over music used in the program.

Almost every culture has a trickster character.  In many North American First Nations, it's the Coyote, or the Raven.  For the ancient Norsemen, it was Loki.  The French have Renard the Fox.  African-Americans, Bre'er Rabbit.  And the English have Robin Goodfellow, better known as Puck.

Canadian art has John Will.  

Will is a Calgary artist, noted for his inventive print-making, his painting, and for being John Will.  

He's been called a scamp, a rapscallion, even Canada's best-known unknown artist, and a man whose real work of art is perhaps his own life. Or maybe not. Whatever he turns his mind to, John Will does it with creativity and imagination, and a certain willful slipperiness about the boundaries between life and art.

Featured Guests:

Katherine Ylitalo
, curator, writer and educator, Calgary.
Jeffrey Spalding, artistic director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Calgary.
Rita McKeough, Governor General's Award-winning installation and performance artist, Calgary.
Chris Cran, artist, Calgary.
Angela Brayham, gallery owner, Brayham Contemporary Art, Toronto.


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