Author(s): Walter Scott
The existential dread of making (or not making) art takes center stage in this trenchant satire of MFA culture
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 hunkers down to 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 polyamory, performative activism, the precariousness 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 learning to navigate empathy and boundaries, and to respect herself. It is deeply funny and endlessly relatable as it shows Wendy growing from millennial art party girl to successful artist, friend, teacher--and Master of Art.
"I am blown away by Walter Scott's Wendy." - Zadie Smith
"The funniest, most touching, most relatable comic I have read in a really long time." - Vice
"[Wendy is] a comedy of manners about a particular scene; a dead-on representation of being young in any scene; an immediate representation of how disgusting it is just to be." - Globe & Mail
Walter Scott is an interdisciplinary artist working in comics, drawing, video, performance, and sculpture. His comic series Wendy chronicles the continuing misadventures of a young artist in a satirical imagining of the contemporary art world. Wendy has been published in two volumes by Koyama Press and was featured in Canadian Art, and Art in America, and on the New Yorker website, and was selected for the 2016 edition of Best American Comics. Scott completed an MFA at the University of Guelph in 2018. Wendy, Master of Art is, as far as you know, very loosely based on this experience.