A Natural Born Artist
An only child from Springfield, Missouri who was born with a natural talent to create. Wiley is an accomplished musician who can play the piano, guitar, drums, harmonica, as effortlessly as he paints. His parents played a huge role in his success by supporting him throughout his endeavors.
With the idea of creating a band called Street Light Suzie and an album pre-written, Wiley headed to Austin 13 years ago to make his dream of being a musician a reality. Wiley joined the band which became Street Light Suzie. Street Light Suzie became well-known for their 2013 album called the "Red Album" and they have two albums currently for sale on iTunes. Wiley has also received credits for placing songs in film and television in shows such as CSI, Nikita, Ringer, VH1, and E! shows which it stated on his website. You can check out some of his solo music hear (Link to Wiley's Solo Music). He is also recognized for creating unique bleach t-shirts called Bleach T's by Wiley.
Different than my previous blogposts I didn’t know Wiley prior to writing this. I briefly met him at an art show earlier this year but didn’t really know him or his art. A mutual friend Chris Marinez whom I did a previous blog post on from Catatonic Arts recommended I write a blog about Wiley. It has been an eye opening experience to say the least. I had a glimpse of Wiley's life and was able to check out his work which I am excited to introduce to you.
I spent a short time with Wiley but really learned to appreciate his art and who he is. What I learned is that when you're in a room with Wiley his personality is all-encompassing, interactive, musical, distracting, and brilliant. He knows exactly what he's doing but you'll never know what he's going to do next. He could play a quick tune on his piano and then start a painting a few minutes later. It's really hard to tell exactly what's going on in his head but he's definitely open to discussing anything.
"Weird is normal and normal is fucking weird" - Wiley Ross
Wiley paints famous but is drawn to the ordinary. He doesn’t want clients to purchase his paintings because of the subjects being famous. It's about the art and the effort that went into making it. Wiley is self taught in painting and has been creating art since he can remember.
When he was a young artist he would watch "Come Fly with Me" a documentary about Michael Jordan to find inspiration. Standing at 6' 6" Wiley dreamed of being a basketball player and received a scholarship for both art and basketball to William Jewel College in Liberty, MO. He felt that he never really fit in, packed up and headed to Austin to pursue his music career.
During our interview Wiley had a Picasso documentary and Wiley pointed out how Picasso uses his entire arm to paint. He frequently watches documentaries about his favorite artists to get inspired. As mentioned previously Wiley is a giant guy and he doesn't see himself painting anything small in size. Most of his paintings are measured in feet including his murals that he is well-known for all over Austin as well as a few located in Missouri and Dallas.
Is there anyone that you know personally that is an inspiration to you? Yes, Brad Noble who is an artist that Wiley met through a mutual friend and Instagram. On Brad's website he states that he likes painting allegorical pieces from his imagination. He likes story telling and is inspired by current events around the world. His pieces are fairly large as well and refined, dreamlike, but so good that you can't stop staring at them.
"Brad is inspiration to me because he's an absolutely amazing artist, plus he's a hell of a guy and I can learn a lot from him." - Wiley Ross
I contacted Brad and this is what he had to say about Wiley's work.
"Wiley is an all around talented, energetic renaissance man. We were introduced through a mutual friend but also went to the same high school-at different times. I saw his large scale murals and invited him out to NYC to partake in a live art project I was developing in Times Square. As a visual artist, his work reflects the energy and spontaneity of his character as well as the underlying mastery he seems to appreciate." - Brad Noble
"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative" - Oscar Wilde
Name a few people that are inspiring to you? Basquiat, Picasso, Devo, Kurt Cobain, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Jim Morrison. All of his inspirations listed here have many things in common but the one that stands out to me is that they all they all had an impact on how art, music, paintings, poems, sculptures are viewed. Many of these artists being relatable by the way they expressed themselves.
“It isn't about what they do, it's about who they are”. - Wiley Ross
The quote following this was from someone that had met Wiley at one of many art shows he participates in around Austin. It really stood out to me as to how on accurate it is.
“I so enjoyed meeting you and hearing how you are so open-minded about creativity and techniques. There is a sort of semi controlled randomness about your pieces, but it is no happy accident you are purposeful and skilled. The risk of imperfection doesn't thwart you and is exactly why it is so relatable! As human beings imperfection is exactly what makes us beautiful... You are able to make relatable beautiful art and I am so grateful you are compelled to share it with the rest of us”. - Mia Culpepper
Another inspiration to Wiley is his 6 year old daughter Veda Moon. Being a dad is everything to Wiley and you can tell by the way he talks about is Doodie. She's super cute and definitely has a fun-spirited dad that's willing to try or do anything to make her happy including singing, dancing, creating art, going to the movies, just about anything.
Now that you know Wiley's background and how he got to Austin let's talk about him as a painter. Several of his paintings reflect some of his favorite artists work but have a Wiley twist. His style is fluid and progressive, he loves using every color you can imagine to create depth, emotion, and to help the viewer make sense of what they're viewing. There were several moments when I was viewing his paintings in person that left me without any words to describe them.
Wiley's paintings are so undone but yet complete at the same time. Even looking at his murals to me it is not just about technique but about bringing his subject to life. He can make a tomato look interesting, but with the human face he portrays the emotion of his subjects in a way that makes you feel something. The painting in the center above is of a women's face and I don't know the title since many of his paintings go without. But I was drawn to this painting because of the warmth of the color, the sadness in the eyes, it just left an impression on me.
It's now hanging in my stairway which I walk past everyday and it has brought an entirely different feel and energy to my house. I believe the value of art is with the viewer and me as the viewer of Wiley's paintings I would consider them priceless. His pieces are unique, powerful, and ever-changing.
Please check out all of the work I posted here as well as on Wiley's website. He has so much work that's he's completed that it has made it difficult for me to narrow down the best.
"I don't know what's going to happen, man. but I wanna have. My kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. Alright!" - Jim Morrison
Jessica Oleksy is passionate about photography and creative people. Through this blog she will introduce you to the people that inspire her.