Stout grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1984 and after a brief stint in Boston, moved to Washington, D.C. In D.C., she began a series of fetishes, objects in which mysterious powers are thought to reside. She used found objects and created an art of relics to create sophisticated assemblages (and prints following a similar theme). Sylvia Moore writes in the book, Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African-American Women Artists, (MidMarch Press, NY, 1995):
Spiritual influences and inspirations for Stout’s art are diverse. “I am attracted to spiritual societies”, says Stout, “I am obsessed about knowing about my own past—which is a mystery to me.” She reaches out to Candombie devotional objects of Brazil, to Haitian Vodun and its American Voodoo adaptations, to Native American spiritualism and folk medicine, and especially, to Central African arts and cultures.