For the past eight months, artist Kayley Quick has been preparing for her upcoming show at Criollo Latin Kitchen. The show opens during First Friday ArtWalk Aug. 3 and will remain on display through the month.
The Life of the Wild features about 30 new works focusing on the personification of both plant and animal life. Quick said she feels many people experience a disconnect between themselves and wildlife in the growing technological world.
“I’m hoping by giving these colorful, beautiful, positive messages about nature and putting that out in the world that it will enable people to connect with that sense of environmentalism and just not being blinded by technology,” she said. “I’m totally guilty of that, and I think technology is really helpful in a lot of situations, but for me, I only feel grounded when I’m really out in nature and I’m being present and all of my problems kind of melt away.”
Quick, a teacher at Flagstaff High School, has recently taken to sharing time-lapse videos of her painting process from beginning to end on Facebook and Instagram. Condensing her work into digestible videos creates an illusion of ease that she finds interesting when held in contrast to what the process is really like — uncertain and with bumps in the road.
“I’ll share a 30-second time-lapse video that took me four hours, and it looks like I’m just busting this out,” she said. “But there’s really a lot of contemplation. There’s a lot of me just sitting there staring at it and a lot of slow brush work.”
In a time-lapse video for a buffalo painting that's part of the show, Quick layers spray paint and acrylic on the canvas creating an abstract background of colors before adding fine details from which the form of the animal emerges.
Through demonstrating the work that goes into each painting, she said she hopes to inspire more people to pick up a paintbrush. It can be difficult for people not already creating art to imagine themselves having the same skills as established artists when all that is shared online are finished products.
“I’m a teacher at heart, and I’ve been reading this book about online transparency, so instead of just having this finished project that looks good that people are wowed by, I wanted to show the entire process,” Quick said.
The book, “Show Your Work,” by Austin Kleon, along with his New York Times bestselling title, “Steal Like an Artist,” encouraged her to be more vulnerable during the creative process.
“I tend to be real insecure about my work and [sharing the videos] just gave me confidence in that my process is very similar to other artists," she explained. "Most of my feedback’s really positive which is nice.”
She recalled one instance where a friend shared a watercolor portrait she had made and credited Quick’s videos with helping her feel comfortable enough to try her hand at art.
“It was just so sweet and inspiring to me that I could help facilitate that in somebody’s life because it’s been such a powerful thing in my life,” Quick said.
Going along with her wildlife theme for the Criollo show, Quick plans to donate 10 percent of proceeds from pieces sold to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, a Scottsdale-based nonprofit which rescues native wild animals that have lost their homes to development or are found injured, orphaned or abandoned.
This isn’t the first time Quick has used her art to raise money for a cause. Two years ago, she helped organize the Big Dreams Elephant Masquerade fundraiser along with several other local artists and organizations. They were able to donate almost $3,000 to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya in honor of World Elephant Day.
Art can be used for so much more than just decoration on a wall. The passion behind each piece fuels the vision and brings it to fruition in the hopes those who look at it feel even a fraction of the meaning put forth by the artist. For Quick, as long as viewers take a moment to consider their place and impact on the fragile world in which we live, the goal has been achieved.