Stacey Walyuchow is a mixed-media artist with the uncanny ability to capture something profoundly human and innately familiar in her work.
Her signature style—a striking mix of collage elements blended with oil pastels is somehow both old and new with a touch of this beautiful, dreamy surrealism.
But, I think where she truly shines and what first drew me to her pieces is her unusual way of drawing connections between the subjects and symbols she explores and the powerful narratives she creates.
Often, her pieces juxtapose women and other human forms with birds and moody, abandoned landscapes or structures that can hold any number of meanings and ideas for the right buyer.
While her titles and descriptions for her pieces can embody entire worlds, stories and ideas all on their own.
Looking at what she’s already managed to accomplish, I think I expected to find an artist who not only built a successful business from the ground up.
But one who did it all without the same inner struggles with imposter syndrome the rest of us face and probably several years’ worth of formal training.
What I found was entirely different.
Stacey Walyuchow is unwaveringly honest, humble and endlessly grateful. Despite her work’s surreal, dream-like quality, the artist herself is surprisingly grounded.
She’s a mom and an artist who has found her authentic voice—a voice that resonates throughout her entire body of work and connects profoundly with the people who love her art.
At times thoughtful, vulnerable and often deeply personal I think its an insightful look into just how powerful knowing who you are and taking the time to develop your inner voice can be.
A Little Bit About Background
"Did Formal Education Ever Play a Role In Your Artistic Journey?"
I think, in a way, it did, but not formally!
I wanted to attend ACAD or AUArts, but life and circumstances at the time I graduated high school didn’t really allow me to do that.
I have spent a lot of my working years dealing with some serious insecurity about that. Sometimes, I wonder if my art career would be better or if I would have more success, and feel more accepted as a real artist in Calgary if I had been able to go to university.
Yes, even at 47 years old. These insecurities still come into play. BUT, regardless of that insecurity, I absolutely adore what I do, and I feel blessed to be doing it. I cannot do anything else.
I have a style of work that is my own, that is recognizable, a consistent message, and I am making part of my living from selling this work. I am extremely proud of that, and not a moment goes by where I take that for granted.
"Have there ever been any significant challenges or advantages that you've encountered as a result of your background when navigating the fine art world? "
I think the biggest challenge if I’m really honest, is my self getting in my own way. Especially when it comes to the insecurity I have that I didn’t receive formal art training.
Education has been a barrier that I have created for myself. It contributes to the imposter syndrome that so many of us are familiar with.
In some ways, knowing that it has been the biggest challenge is a good thing. Because that’s up to me to squash, and I’m working every day on doing that.
Sometimes, as an artist, it’s hard to believe in yourself, but I truly believe that is the ticket to being successful. Or at least a big part of it.
I will also say that my career, up until I began creating art, was predominantly in marketing communications and sales. The skills that I have learned from working in these environments for the past 20 years, essentially, have absolutely helped me market my work and communicate the messaging in each piece to potential collectors.
Marketing yourself as an artist—it’s not easy and requires time and effort, and a different hat in those moments. I do feel fortunate to have those skill sets to complement my art practice.
"You Have a Unique Way of Giving Names and Stories to Your Pieces. Is That Something You've Always Done, Or Was There a Shift Towards Narrative and Storytelling at Some Point In Your Career? "
From a very young age, there has been a distinct and beautiful connection for me between music and my imagination.
I love music.
I have thousands of songs from many genres downloaded. And, I listen to them loudly and often. I have such an appreciation for great writing, and there are lyrics I hear, and have heard that just sort of punched me in the face in the best way.
There’s a story in music and a story in my work, so it’s probably no surprise that many of my pieces have titles that are lyrics from songs or are inspired by lyrics from songs.
My work has always been created to tell a story, and I believe that the narratives in each piece are only getting stronger and more involved as my career grows.
I can be driving along, listening to music—songs that I’ve heard one million times before. But sometimes I feel like I’m hearing them for the first time.
Because, suddenly there’s this new image in my head of a piece of art I’ve been working towards finishing, and all of a sudden I feel the tie between the music lyric and the piece I’m putting together.
It’s a beautiful moment for me, and I am extremely excited every time it happens. And I’m grateful it happens often.
"There's a Very Strong Emphasis On Memory And The Strength of Women In Particular In Your Work. Are There Any Strong Women You Credit With Helping Or Inspiring You to Become the Artist You Are Today? "
This is one of those questions where I could go off on a tangent about how incredible I believe women are.
I never want to risk sounding like I am excluding men or really anybody at all. Being a woman myself, it just happens to be the subject I know best or have the most familiarity with.
I’m still learning every day.
With that said, I believe that so many women are the strongest, most resilient forms in existence on this planet.
Many women are waking up early, making breakfast, lunches, getting kids ready for school, piling them in the car, dropping them off going to work picking the kids up, going home to clean the house and prep what needs to be prepped for the next day, all while going through, maybe the worst time of their life.
This may not be the healthiest way to exist, but a lot of women do this. They put themselves and their needs last or certainly not in the top three of their priority lists.
I am surrounded by these women on a daily basis and they have and continue to inspire me and my work. My mother is certainly one of these people. She’s an incredible human being.
"Are there any pivotal moments or experiences from your career that were especially meaningful? "
I have been so fortunate to have a few amazing moments in my art career. Honestly, the fact that I just get to make art and people like it and buy it. That’s a highlight in and of itself.
But there have certainly been a few moments that still blow me away. In spring of 2022 my art had been purchased by and was hanging in a beautiful home built by Maillot Homes.
This incredible home was featured in an edition of Style At Home Magazine. Three of my pieces were in photographs in an actual magazine with my name on the titles. What an honour and a gift as an artist to have that opportunity.
Another pivotal and exciting moment in my career occurred earlier this year. Two Canadian poets chose my work to grace the covers of their new poetry novels published by Frontenac publishing.
This was such a huge honour for me. I have become such a fan of poetry and I am thrilled. It’s definitely something I would love to explore doing more of in the future with other publishers and writers.
"Tell me about your first art showing. What was that experience like?"
My first art show was a pivotal moment in my life let alone my career as an artist.
Being brave enough or crazy enough (a combination of both for sure), to have my first solo art show in 2017—it’s something I still can’t believe I did and I’m grateful for it every day.
I rented this beautiful space at Loft 112 in the East Village and just went for it. I was completely hooked after that!
It was very emotional for me to sit with all of those pieces to realize that I had made them and was finally doing what I believed I always wanted to do.
I ended up selling seven pieces of work at that opening. I cried and jumped up and down after every sale. Seven years later, I still do that after every piece finds a new home.
Any Advice You Can Pass On
"Considering Your Journey: Do You Have Any Advice For Emerging Artists About Selling And Promoting Their Artwork or Any Insights Into the Art Business You Wish You'd Known When You Were Starting Out?"
It’s funny, I always think I’m the last person that should be giving anybody advice about anything.
The older I get the more I’m realizing how little I know. I do think everyone’s path is different, and we all have to go with the flow and figure a lot of things out for ourselves.
But a safe piece of advice that I am happy to share, and it may be stating the obvious, is to use social media! It’s free, it’s there, and there’s really nothing to lose by using it.
Do some research, find out the best times to be posting things, find out what is getting more views and what’s not and how many times a day you should be posting some thing.
It can be a lot of work, but again it’s free and a lot of us artists don’t have massive marketing budgets or any marketing budget at all.
Look for opportunities to show your work, talk about it and share it. Most importantly, if you truly love making art, just keep making art.
Carve out the time to do this.
Sometimes I only get 20 minutes in a day to work on it but I try my best to make sure it’s every day for as long as I can. If it’s 20 minutes that’s OK with me.
I am very fortunate to be part of a fantastic art collective called Riverview Artists. We do have a show coming up this month and in November. If you visit the website you can find all of the details.
I will also be looking at putting a show together in March 2024 partnering with at least two other artists for a small group show.
Stay tuned for details by visiting my website under events.
Inspired by experiences, memories, music and the many faces of women, Stacey creates mixed media artworks for purchase.