Release Date: March 28, 2023
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office
Dancer Kate Wiley translates her love for dancing into swaying wisps on fluid art pieces. Working with air and acrylics, no paintbrushes at all, the Chickasaw citizen creates gorgeous, vibrant designs with meaning and inspiration behind them. Her work will be displayed and available for purchase at the 2023 Artesian Arts Festival, April 22, at the Artesian Plaza in Sulphur, Oklahoma.
Fluid art is created by laying a base coat of paint onto a canvas, then pouring liquid acrylics onto it in a design or pattern before blowing and fanning them out with forced air. The paintings cure for about a month, then are finished with resin, which gives them a glossy topcoat.
Wiley’s abstract art collection was on exhibit at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur from October to December 2022. It is currently at the ARTesian Gallery and Studios, also in Sulphur.
“This is my part-time profession now. I did work for the Chickasaw Nation at the Purcell Area Office for a time, but after my third child was born, I decided to stay home with him,” she said.
Wiley was not a painter at this time, but she has been a dancer since her youth, doing ballet, modern, Argentine tango and, most recently, belly dancing.
“Belly dancing is my all-time favorite. It is such a celebration of femininity,” she continued. “We use these veils and fans to create beautiful movements, which now inspire my art.”
She began painting in 2020 when she told her husband, Adam, that she was curious about fluid art, which she discovered online.
“He told me I should try it, but I thought, ‘Oh, maybe in a couple of years when I have time.’ But then two weeks later he came home with bags of paint and canvases and told me to go for it, and I’m glad I did,” she said.
Self-taught, Wiley spent hours researching fluid art online, using trial and error to find the style she has today.
“I was exhibiting at an arts festival in 2021, when an onlooker came up to my booth and said that my paintings had such beautiful movements. That was the first moment I realized that I was taking my life-long love of dance and recreating it with paint,” said Wiley.
One piece on display at the ARTesian Gallery and Studios is called “Cosmic Tango.” Magentas, purples and electric blues spark across a black canvas in an ethereal tango-like flow.
“This piece uses all of my favorite colors, and I love using black backgrounds to make them pop. It also combines my love for the cosmos,” she said.
“Fluid art has a mind of its own,” she continued. “It is less controlled than painting with a brush, so you have to have an open mind. Go in with a basic concept of your design and a color scheme but know that it will sometimes come out different than planned, because you have to let the paint express itself too.”
Wiley spoke about how this giving up a certain amount of control in the fluid painting process is a metaphor for life, to be more open and learn to go with the flow.
“My paintings are not really First American in nature,” she added. “But I look for ways to incorporate our culture and beliefs with my art while still maintaining my abstract art style.”
She plans to create several series this year. One is to be inspired by the four elements: earth, wind, water and fire. The other will be a series celebrating nature, the night sky and the seasons.
The name of her studio is “Taloa Oka,” which she says means “singing water” in the Chickasaw language.
“I personally love the sound of rain. It brings me peace and joy. I hope that is what people can feel from my paintings. I want to brighten their day with color and movement.”
Wiley hopes to encourage others to try an art form, no matter what it is and no matter how old or young a person is. She encourages others to find something they enjoy and love doing in life and to be who they want to be.
“That may sound simple, ‘Be who you want to be,’ but it took me years to accomplish this. Instead of putting so much pressure on ourselves to be a certain way, I have found so much freedom in the last couple of years just expressing myself and being who I want to be.”
Wiley lives in rural Norman with her husband and three children. She plans to build a studio on her 4 acres of land to have a special place to work on her bigger art pieces.
“Art has brought a tremendous amount of growth into my life. I owe a lot of this to my husband because he has been such a huge support to me, encouraging me to grow and do new things. Once I felt comfortable enough in myself as a person, that is when my creativity began to flow.”
To learn more about the upcoming Artesian Arts Festival, visit ArtesianArtsFestival.com, or call 580-272-5520.