Northern Kentucky artist leaves mark with murals all over the Bluegrass

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Kentucky is full of amazing artists. We have so many amazing LGBTQ+ artists all over the Bluegrass. One in particular has made headlines in other publications and has gone viral on TikTok for his detailed murals painted across the state, including his the Devil Wears Prada themed “Cerulean” mural. We had a Q & A session with Northern Kentuckian, Wylie Caudill, the man behind the murals. *You’re only allowed to read this Vogue 73 Questions interview style*

Wylie Caudill with his mural Cerulean Wall

Where did your journey with art begin and when did it turn into a passion for murals?

I’ve been drawing for as far back as my memory allows me. I drew every day as a kid, and still do today. Although, I never pictured myself as a mural artist until I was in my twenties. Art was always a hobby, until I found out I could make a real career out of it. 

What did you study in school?

I studied broadcasting and film in school. I was really interested in the film industry, but the opportunities in Kentucky were few and far between, so after I graduated from EKU, I never truly used my degree.

How does art fulfill you other than the fact it pays for you to live?

I can’t imagine myself in any other career that would be as fulfilling as being a mural artist. I get to be creative everyday. Every job is somewhere different. Everything I paint is brand new. There’s nothing more stimulating to me.

Did you ever think you would be doing what you’re doing? Elaborate on your yes or no answer.

I never thought being a visual artist was my end game. I didn’t expect my passion for painting to grow so exponentially. I never truly knew what I’d end up doing for my long term career, but I wouldn’t have told you I was going to be a mural artist when I was 12,18, or even 21. It never really crossed my mind until the first time someone asked me to paint a mural.

Where are you from originally? What led you to Lexington? What other cities have have your art/murals?

I’m from Cynthiana, Kentucky, a smaller, more rural town just north of Lexington. I moved to Lexington for a job right out of college at Kentucky for Kentucky, a company that asked me to do some of my very first murals. Since, I’ve done murals all over central Kentucky including Elizabethtown, Frankfort, and Louisville. 

As an openly gay man, do you use the platform and visibility you have to show other queer people in Kentucky that life isn’t as bad here as a lot of people make it seem to be? Visibility is a pillar of Queer KY and we’d just like you to speak on being queer and being so visible to the public.

At this point, I’m just me. I’d say my career and life as a gay man are super visible. I came out when I was 19 and I’m 25 now. I never even think twice about posting about me being queer. I hope, in turn, that can show other queer people of Kentucky, that there is nothing to fear. Yes, we still have homophobes, and even more transphobes out there. But the queer community is so strong in Kentucky.

What would you say to any queer person doubting their passions right now?

I would say to any queer person doubting their passions, “Boots the house down slay queen Charlie XCX, yes mama its giving Cher, you better werk, serve, slay, give, periodt.” and I would also say, “I never stop doubting myself. It’s impossible to not doubt yourself sometimes. But you have to keep creating. Confidence comes, I promise. Take that first leap, put your passions out there in the world, and do not be ashamed of them. Create something and show everyone, then repeat.”

Who is your favorite queer artist?

Very Gay Paint‘, if you don’t know them, fire up your instagram and TikTok. You won’t be disappointed. 

What is your favorite piece you have created?

I feel really proud of my “Cerulean Wall” piece. I painted it solely for myself in my little apartment. It was influenced by my favorite movie. I loved painting each rose and the TikTok I made of it hit nearly 6 million views. That was sick.

What is your favorite queer slang word?

“giving” EX. “It’s giving Cher”, “she’s giving us nothing”, “it’s giving season”

Is there anything else you’d like our audience to know about you?

To all you other Kentucky queers out there, you’re my heroes, each and every one of you. So you better werk. 

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