Bringing Illustration to Life: the Vibrant Work of Stuart Wade
“Simple shapes, bright colors, funky motion.” This is how Stuart Wade describes his work, and you can see why. In each and every clean, vibrant piece, there is a sense of simplicity captured amongst the glaring shapes, the high-contrast colours, and the essence of movement.
Illustration is often considered a flat medium, where shapes are rendered in 2D aspects, and realistic images are flattened to become something different; something new.
Wade’s pieces buck this trend, instead injecting a heavy dose of movement into every canvas. Throughout his collection of series’, which includes a whole host of ampersands dressed up in different styles and “posing” in different ways, Wade’s work seems to bounce off the canvas and lurch towards the viewer outside the frame.
Using shadows and the power of colour to create this effect, it makes Wade’s pieces come to life before your very eyes. In the “ampersand” collection, a simple shape takes on a life of its own, almost becoming human in its representation.
In one piece, the shape floats against what appears to be a sky-like background with buildings jutting upwards from its near-horizontal positioning. In another, the thick outline of the ampersand is filled with a purple centre, not dissimilar from the milky sky at night.
This idea of bringing simple shapes to life through the playful use of colour, positioning, and movement is Wade’s specialty. Even his latest series, Typography Garden, brings the usually flat form of text to life by placing it in a different context and against unusual backgrounds.
So which artists does Stuart Wade draw inspiration from? “Too many to list, really,” he says, adding that AJ Fosik, Aryz, Ferris Plock, Julian Glander, and Raymond Lemstra are some of his favourites at the moment.
But it’s not just other creatives that inspire Wade’s work. In fact, experimenting with sketching and doodling fuels a lot of his creativity, as does “taking long hikes through nature, music, humor.”
Stuart Wade has had a long time to determine where he draws his inspiration from, having been a keen artist from a very early age. “Some of my earliest memories are wrapping my grubby fingers around crayons,” he says, adding that his fine artist mother and musician father had a huge part to play in his career choice.
When it came to choosing his creative path in life, Wade admits “it was a revelation to learn that I could study art, illustration and design in college, and make a career doing what I was passionate about.”
Perhaps the most exciting thing about Wade’s work is how every element comes together so effortlessly. There’s a lot going on in each piece, from playful text and vibrant colours to a variety of shapes, patterns, and details. Despite their explosive nature, each design remains minimal which gives the 3D style a fascinating edge. And, despite the numerous different styles that Wade showcases in his pieces (different illustrative styles and different techniques), each one seems to come together to create a “whole” that simply highlights Wade’s incredible eye for detail and design.
Enjoy the track “You Don’t Know What You Want, Do You?” By Dalhouse while viewing the additional works below.
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