Wiley moved to Austin 13 years ago, became a member of the trio, Street Light Suzie, toured the country and recorded the album, Red River Revival. Soon after, his treasured trio turned into a fearsome foursome and created the Red Album. When Wiley wasn't notes deep in music, he would paint and create unique bleach T-shirts (see photo below). Fast forward to today, Wiley is still rocking it in Austin and playing music while he's not being a full time painter and father.
Wiley- brick red
Ross- dark green
He also explained how he learned to play music according to these corresponding colors.
Could you imagine!? Reading a telephone number and seeing rainbows or hearing a word and getting a bad taste in your mouth?! How great and/or terrible would that be... Perhaps this is why Wiley has always been passionate about creating.
We talked quite a while about the struggle with having different styles of work, some being easy to market and others not so much. It's easier to sell a realistic painting of Willie Nelson than it is to sell a mixed media abstract piece with your ex's school notes buried in it. While talking about this 'artist struggle' Wiley said something that really made a lot of sense to us.
"You can't cash credibility in the bank, but you can cash a Doritos check."
When art is your full time job, it can be easy to create things you know people will want to buy, even though it may not be exactly what you personally want to make... Does this mean you're a sell-out? Perhaps... It depends on your definition of selling out. If your passion is your full time job, you are constantly being challenged with both staying passionate about what you do and making enough to live your life comfortably. Everyone may have a different definition for selling out, but Wiley is right, you can't cash credibility in the bank... sell-out or not, artists must make enough to live.
***We would love to hear your opinion about this, perhaps in the comments? We're always curious to know if understanding an artist's perspective on their own work makes the viewer, you, feel differently about the work... Do you like the Wiley's commissioned work just as much as you did before you knew that it's just 'coloring in the lines' for him? Does knowing his favorite creations are his mixed media pieces make you like those pieces more? Does knowing the amount of personal/emotional investment an artist has with a specific piece change the way you look at it or maybe change your opinion of it?
To learn more about him and to keep up with his current creations, check out his website:
If you know of anyone, (preferably a local Austinite), who you'd like to see as a Feature of the Month, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, let us know in the comments, or tag them on Facebook!
Stay safe during this wild Texas weather and, as always, thank you for reading!
-Topher and Sara