“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” - Vincent van Gogh
Receiving a gift from his neighbor of a disappearing Van Gogh toy at his fifth grade birthday party began Wiley’s life-long interest in art and museums. Art became the way Wiley copes with the challenges of living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning, and finding stable employment. Wiley has been painting and exhibiting for 10 years. The first time he was invited to enter an art call, Wiley was ecstatic and amazed that “someone thought a painting I created was beautiful!” In 2011, his only sibling Zach was killed in a motorcycle accident which “knocked the wind out of [Wiley’s] sails”. He was hospitalized for depression which is hard for him to talk about, but he hopes his experience will encourage others to persevere. “Your life can get better, but it requires you to think about the things you can change and to work to make those changes one at a time." He wasn’t able to paint for a while but gradually discovered that painting helped him cope with his grief, the same way painting helps him through the day to day. Once again, painting allowed him to find a happier place.
Typically, Wiley paints with acrylic on canvas but likes to paint small wooden crafts too, enjoying the way acrylic flows off the paintbrush. The act of creating is tied to his mood, and he’s not always able to access an expressive mindset. He works on a piece in multiple sittings, revisiting the canvas until he decides how to finish.
2020 was a great year for Wiley's Art. He had 2 solo exhibitions and was in 4 juried calls. He is the Fall Featured Artist for Arts Access in Raleigh, NC, USA.
Engaging with other arts organizations such as Art Space, Visual Art Exchange, Imurj, and the Durham Art Guild, all in NC, has bolstered Wiley’s art career, confidence, and offered opportunities for local exhibitions and art calls. Art has given him great pleasure and made his life more interesting.