About the artist

As a devout naturalist and native Oklahoman, Kayla Anley’s work is dedicated to spotlighting the tenderness and beauty of everyday flora and fauna as she explores the unascertainable afterlife that we’re all faced with and the crucial role of death in the cycle of renewal. Holding strong beliefs inspired by her Cherokee grandfather that the spiritual world and the physical world are one and the same, Anley’s work asks viewers to draw connections between the creatures before them and themselves as the animals represent the impending afterlife. Drawing a connection to the unique symbolism of flowers as they relate to the human experience – either through congratulatory or infelicitous moments in time – Anley uses her work to inspire recollection of viewers’ experiences with life or death. 


Anleys’ artistic process begins at the convergence of recollection and observation as she explores local wilderness while getting lost in memory and thought. By juxtaposing her menagerie of intricate figures against a stark white or black background, she draws attention to the nuances and impossibility of her subjects and the ambiguity of the future before them. Her circuitous process of drawing the anatomy of each animal in graphite and charcoal allows her to produce rich contrast against the deep and unforgiving blacks, enabling an intense focus on the subject. Anley intentionally strays from pure realism in her work in order to imbue her own sense of style and character, portraying a more authentic representation of not only the creature but also the creature’s unique disposition. 

Kayla Andrus