MEET THE ARTIST: Hayley Wylie, Lisburn

When you meet Hayley Wylie there’s one thing you won’t be able to help yourself but to do…and that’s smile!

And this colourful vibrance is absolutely centric to a lot of Hayley’s artwork. Full of vitality and life just being in her company can be an inspirational experience.

Hailing from Lisburn, 34-year-old Hayley is not only a painter in her own right but an excellent teacher and workshop facilitator at The Secret Door in Lisburn.


Get to know Hayley:

How did you get started in the industry?
“I began studying a GNVQ ADV at Lisburn Tech when I left school, I wasn’t really to bright at much else but i could paint a picture so i decided to study art.
“From there I did quite well and went onto study Fine Art at the University of Lincoln, but left in my second year. I gave up on any creative practice for quite a few years.
“I began painting again around 6 years ago now and with the support of other artists and dear friends I will never look back.”

1957760_10207721357729663_6449888281256289526_oWhat genre/style do you create in?
“My genre now would be described as precisionist, although through the years my work has went down different avenues, for a while they were some what impressionistic when I was making study on light, but now the work has integrated this concept of light and colour and now has been brought together in a precisionist way, what I originally painted to begin with.”

What would you consider your biggest achievement?
“I would feel my biggest achievement has been being able to bring what I know and do to others through workshops. Watching others who consider themselves ‘not artistic in any way’ create a piece of art is fantastic, I believe every human being is creative, before we could talk we drew pictures on cave walls to convey messages of our emotions and the world around us, it is innate.
“So to bring people back to this primal tool is, to me, wonderful.”

What would you consider to be the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the industry?
“The biggest lesson i have learned in this industry is that you must not create on the premise to please others.
“To create is something that comes deep within, it is your own reaction to the world and how it moves through you. It is easy to see when a painting lacks the emotional response to a subject.
“So always dance to the beat of your own drum, when you put yourself into your art, others will put themselves into it too. Do not bow to the will of others if it does not feel right within you.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?
“My biggest challenge to date is trying to condense all that I’ve learned into one final style. Over the years I would say I have become a little bi-monthly in terms of the visual image I create.
“However looking at it now I have been looking at the world in various ways, seeing what shoe fits best so to speak. But I am amused to find I am back at the original starting place in terms of my visual format, I’ve gone full circle in some ways, but this time I now have so much more insight to execute my work with.”


Tell us a little about your personal life, are you married, kids, hobbies etc?
“I’m married to Paul and have two children, Amy and Dylan. They have been extremely patient and kind and have allowed me to follow my work when needs be, I am never held back or stifled, in fact my children especially have been an amazing inspiration and support to their mummy and I’ve always had the straight and brutally honest opinion of my husband about my work, which has helped shape me.
“As well as being a painter I also have a love for photography, in fact it lead me back into my creative practice, so when I get spare time I love nothing more than rambling through parks and places taking photos.
“I love to be outside when I can, there is always something soulful and enchanting to be found. I also work part time in a nursing home as an activity therapist, and job of many tales, laughs and emotions. I’m lucky to work with a great team, lots of gegs between them and the residents.”

“I currently have two pieces being exhibited at the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn until the end of January, where there is a lovely collection of work being shown by local artists, it’s worth taking a look.”

If you had to describe your work to someone who has never heard of you what would you say?
“If I had to describe my work it would be bright, bold and always looking at nature as though through a lens, seeing shape and colour rather than the place as a whole, more like an investigation into little parts that make the scene.
“I have, however, in recent years taken on the study of sacred geometry and you will see this in some of my mandala works. I try to stay away from making the generic mandala that we see in many designs nowadays, as beautiful as they are, and I have painted some spiritual aspects of the design I prefer to make the focus on the actual geometric shapes that make up the building blocks of life.
“It almost feels like I’m looking through nature through a microscope at that point.”


What’s the funniest experience you’ve had in your business?
“I’ve had many funny experiences through the industry, always at exhibition openings, but the funniest that stands out would be the exhibition that I was a part of in the Red Barn Gallery for International Woman’s Day. As always with the opening night the free glasses of wine flow. We were out the back and one of the artists said to work away at the wine that was sitting there.
“So I went over and lifted a bottle of red and white and began joyfully offering all my fellow artists the wine, thinking this is fabulous, only to be completely told off and sharply to put it back that is not for giving out.
“I had a split second of being totally skundered but it still makes me and my friends laugh to this day. I think it was maybe it was one of those situations that you would have needed to have been there. This however is only one of many stories.”

What would your advice be to young people hoping to pursue the same industry?
“My advice to anyone starting off in the business is to keep it true to yourself. This is an extremely hard business to become successful at and if you loose your own ideals about your work you will only become more and more disheartened.
“Keep going, keep painting keep moving yourself and the right people will appreciate you and what you have to say.”


Who do you look up to and why?
“Who do I look up too? there has been many I love how Turner painted light and how Kandinsky painted his emotional response to music and colour, but as any follower of my work they will know a painter I absolutely feel one and the same with is Georgia O’Keeffe.
“I came across her work a couple of years ago and the first thing that struck me is ‘she painted like me’ I had found someone who was trying to convey what I want to convey.
“Her work has become a teacher without words. And as she said sometimes there are no words for what you want to say. I went to catch her exhibition in the Tate and it was incredible! From there I’ve since discovered the work of Canadian artist Lawren Harris and our own Belfast born John Luke – both of whom I take inspiration from.
“I have also been blessed to have met a wonderful circle of women who are all artists in many different ways, who have became wise in their years and gentle in their understanding and who are like family to me.
“I admire their strength, I am grateful always for them.”

To find out more:
Instagram: Hayley Wylie Thurrat

“I can also be found running adult workshops from the Secret Door In Lisburn. For information follow my Facebook page and The Secret Door page and information on my website is available too.”

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About the Author

Tina Calder
Journalist, commentator, author and content creator specialising in showbiz, entertainment, business, trade, human interest and lifestyle.