Our individual and collective histories are composed of fragments—bits of information we piece together in different ways. According to former professional athlete, multidisciplinary artist, and NOT REAL ART 2022 grant winner Kiley Ames, these fragments can be rearranged and reinterpreted to create personalized perceptions of reality.
Using small, distinct brushstrokes to illustrate her philosophy on fragments, Kiley paints in an Impressionistic style that prioritizes light, color, and texture. “[Painting] is a very tactile experience, and I want people to get up close to it and see it [from] far away and look at it from the side,” says Kiley, who often invites patrons to her studio at the Beacon Arts Building in Inglewood, California. “I love for people to see my work in person […] the way I paint is incredibly difficult to see online, regardless of how great the photos are.”
On today’s podcast episode, host and NOT REAL ART founder Scott “Sourdough” Power sits down with Kiley to discuss the importance of authenticity, how she developed her unique style, and why she ultimately embraces duality in both work and life. Kiley also shares her thoughts on freelancing at the Annie Leibovitz Studio for the better part of a decade: “When you see someone like Annie [Leibowitz] or Irving Penn or Van Gogh, you only see the final piece or the final photograph,” she says. “You don’t see all the ones that weren’t chosen.” In short? Even great artists don’t get it right the first time.
A self-professed latecomer to the art world, Kiley embraced an expressive style after realizing that “good art” isn’t necessarily photorealistic. “[Photorealistic art] is beautiful, but I also realized that it wasn’t representative of who I am,” she says. “ It took me a really long time to break out of that because you get rewarded for creating something that looks like something else.” Subjective, evocative, and dreamy, Kiley’s style evolved from exploration and experimentation, traits she encourages in other emerging artists. Tune into our conversation with Kiley Ames on the player below, then head over to our 2022 grant winner’s exhibition to see her winning work.