At 17 years of age and in her final year of High School, Hayley Steel has her sights set on a career in the art world. She has already had a head start with private commissions, exhibits and her paintings being commercially available on her own website.
Hayley shared, “I have always been attracted to art, but it wasn’t until I started art lessons that I really got into it. I became a practicing artist at 15, selling works and submitting art to exhibitions and competitions. I have come a long way in my art since then, learning something about myself and about my art each day. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
“The more I paint, the more I become inspired by modern artists. I have a more classic painting background, so it’s quite exhilarating to incorporate risky modern styles into my own. I’m always inspired by Klimt and Emilio Villalba. And I’m always looking for inspiration in the real world too.”
She is off to a running start in her career, as she has already been handpicked and spotlighted as a RAW Canberra featured artist. Founded in Los Angeles in 2009, RAW: Natural Born Artists is an independent arts organisation, for artists, by artists. RAW currently runs events in nearly 60 cities across the United States, Australia, Canada and the UK and provides a platform for artists to come together and show off their work to the local community.
This year, Hayley is currently being exhibited at the Belconnen Arts Centre (BAC) as part of ‘In Transit Unframed’. As 2018 is the beginning of a new chapter for Belconnen Arts Centre as they face new opportunities and are undergoing a transformation of their building, they asked artists to respond to themes of change, metamorphosis, growth, journey and evolution.
With Hayley saying “The Transit exhibition is inspired by change and growth, as this year the BAC will go through some exciting new changes. Artists and hobbyists are both in the A3 exhibition, and it’s fascinating to see how different all the works are. The artists have really taken the idea of metamorphosis or transition and applied it to their own lives, producing something personal and beautiful.”
Hayley explains the process of one of her favourite works she painted for the exhibit, “‘A ghost of what she once was’ explores the ever-changing nature of our being. The fabric over her face represents the fluidity of existence and the many different lives we live over our lifetime, each one almost unrecognisable from the other. It’s this change that helps us to learn and grow. And it’s this change that drives us forward.”
As well as being exhibited, Hayley has already attracted many commissions including one from local Canberra entrepreneur Serina Bird, with Serina saying “I commissioned a painting of a white lotus last year from Hayley, which I wanted to feature in labels for a range of Asian food items I was making. The finished result far exceeded what I had hoped for. I wake up of a morning and look at the photo, mesmerised. It draws me in, the powerful figure of the lotus rising out of the dirt and muck reminding me, on difficult days, of the potential for dreams to succeed.”
As for her future plans, Hayley reveals, “This year I’m focusing on building my portfolio – I hope to study painting next year at the ANU. I’m also trying to get my name into the community as an artist. I have a lot to learn, but I’m really excited about the art in my future and how it will shape me as a person.”
For more information, visit hayleysteel.com or the ‘In Transit Unframed’ exhibition is available for viewing in the Foyer Gallery at the Belconnen Arts Centre until 29 March.