Books·Canadian

Wendy, Master of Art

A comic by Walter Scott.

Walter Scott

Wendy is an aspiring contemporary artist whose adventures have taken her to galleries, art openings, and parties in Los Angeles, Tokyo and Toronto. In Wendy, Master of Art, Walter Scott's sly wit and social commentary zero in on MFA culture as our hero decides to hunker down and complete a master of fine arts at the University of Hell in small-town Ontario.

Finally Wendy has space to refine her artistic practice, but in this calm, all of her unresolved insecurities and fears explode at full volume — usually while hungover. What is the post-Jungian object as symbol? Will she ever understand her course reading — or herself? What if she's just not smart enough? As she develops as an artist and a person, Wendy also finds herself in a teaching position, mentoring a perpetually sobbing grade-grubbing undergrad.

Scott's incisively funny take on art school pretensions isn't the only focus. Wendy, Master of Art explores the politics of open relationships and polyamoury, performative activism, the precarity of a life in the arts, as well as the complexities of gender identity, sex work, drug use and more. At its heart, this is a book about the give and take of community — about someone learning how to navigate empathy and boundaries, and to respect herself. It is deeply funny and endlessly relatable as it shows Wendy growing up from Millennial art party girl to successful artist, friend, teacher — and Master of Art. (From Drawn & Quarterly)

Wendy, Master of Art is on the Canada Reads 2021 longlist.

Walter Scott is a Kahnawá:ke-born artist who lives in Toronto. He's published two other Wendy books, including Wendy's Revenge, and has appeared in The New Yorker and the Best American Comics anthology.

You can watch Scott discuss his work on CBC Arts's In the Making on CBC Gem.

Interviews with Walter Scott

Scott discusses creating the comic Wendy as a way to tell his own story about being an art student trying to make his way in the fussy Canadian art scene. 9:34

Walter Scott returns to Montreal to give a live Wendy performance

CBC Arts

1 year agoVideo
5:10
The creator of the Wendy comics, which follow the misadventures of a messy yet lovable aspiring artist, debuts material from his new book in Montreal, the city where Wendy was born. 5:10

From the book

An excerpt from Wendy, Master of Art by Walter Scott. (Drawn & Quarterly)

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now