About artist Nancy Wiley
"My artistic journey has certainly followed a circuitous route. I was sidetracked from my initial interest in children's illustration when I apprenticed my brother, William Wiley (a very talented doll artist who passed away in 1991). Bill encouraged me to try "his" medium and I was captivated. The way I bridge the gap from painting on a flat canvas to creating an art doll is to view the doll as a 3D canvas. I paint features in oil as I would for a portrait and I believe this is one of the small differences that define my style. When I photographed my work to serve as illustrations for the classic "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" storybook, I felt I had come full circle." Nancy Wiley 2011
Nancy Wiley is a nationally recognized doll artist and painter. Wiley's creations include whimsical doll figures made of paper clay or porcelain, figurative sculpture, mixed media pieces and paintings. Her work, inspired by fine art, mythology and fairy tales, is exhibited in museums and galleries and sold to private collectors. Her prolific career spans more than two decades.
Wiley made her professional debut during the 1990 American International Toy Fair in New York City. Soon after, the Boland Gallery in Chicago featured her work in a one-woman show. Her collections were later exhibited in many other galleries including CFM Gallery and Stricoff Fine Art Gallery in Manhattan. Wiley's art dolls were featured as part of "The Art of the Contemporary Doll" exhibit at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City and exhibited at the Muscatine Art Center in Iowa. Her clients included celebrity collectors such as novelist Anne Rice, actors Andy Garcia and Ray Liotta and actress Demi Moore. In 1996, Moore tapped Wiley for a high profile assignment to costume her as a doll for the cover of George magazine. Wiley and her dolls were then featured in other national publications such as InStyle, Where Women Create and Contemporary Doll Magazine. Louise Fecher, a Dolls Magazine editor and avid doll collector, wrote a book about Nancy Wiley. A Dollmaker's Art: The Creations of Nancy Wiley, published by the Reverie Publishing Company in 2004, was a Wiley retrospective with numerous photographs of her work.
In 2009, Wiley happily returned to children's illustration for the classic tale, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This unique opportunity fused several interests: doll-making, illustration and the story itself, which is her favorite tale. Photographs of character art dolls posed against vibrantly painted canvases served as the illustrations. "They looked like little stage sets," explains Wiley. The book and limited edition companion dolls, such as Alice and the Mad Hatter, can be purchased at selected galleries, gift shops or online. Some of her original Alice figures and other works, such as her quirky "Lobster Lady," were part of a 2010 Whimsical Art Trail exhibit at the esteemed National Museum of Play in Rochester. The Susan Quinlan Doll Museum in Santa Barbara, CA acquired several original Alice sets for their permanent collection in 2011. As a follow-up to her success with "Alice," Wiley embarked upon releasing a series of storybooks and companion dolls adding, Little Red Riding Hood, and most recently Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper. Wiley’s "Cinderella" sets will be a themed exhibit in Rochester bridging books, art and imaginative play at the National Museum of Play in September 2014.
Nancy Wiley graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration. She is a longtime member of the National Institute of American Doll Artists.
Wiley lives in Canandaigua, New York with her husband, Robert O'Brien, and their two children,
Henry and Elizabeth.