Wiley is best known for his large-scale portraits of contemporary African-American men depicted in poses that recall "old master" canvases, reminiscent especially of Renaissance and Baroque painting. Collapsing history and style into a uniquely contemporary vision, these portraits reject traditional hierarchies of class and race. Instead, Wiley's paintings address the image and status of young African-American and African-diaspora men in contemporary culture. Wiley's Brazilian models in Santos-Dumont - The Father of Aviation II mimic the pose of two figures found in a well-known public monument in Rio de Janeiro. Dedicated to Brazil's pioneer aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont, the sculpture includes two heroic but "fallen" figures lying at its base. It is these men that Wiley chooses to represent in this canvas, where they become heroic symbols of the struggles of Afro-Brazilian youth who are portrayed as vanquished but are also celebrated for their physical beauty.