no avatar

Renaissance Center to showcase Mark Ray's digital paintings

staff report • Mar 30, 2013 at 6:17 AM

New York native Mark Ray’s creative journey began with his job as a matchbook cover illustrator and wound around through stints as a screen print artist, an award-winning graphic designer for several Fortune 100 companies, a creative director and a father of two before landing him in his current position as a digital painter.

Now a resident of Kingsport, Ray will share his work with the community through the “Mark Ray Digital Show,” on display April 1-25 in the Renaissance Center’s second-floor Main Gallery.

An opening reception for the show will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., April 7, with entertainment provided by Jared and Vanessa Bentley.

Ray, a fun-loving soul who enjoys playing with crayons and, occasionally, running with scissors, has been in the creative field most of his adult life, with a brief adventure in the United States Navy as a hospital corpsman. He attended Grossmont College, then earned a bachelor of arts in graphic design from The Advertising Arts College, now known as The Art Institute of California.

Digital painting allows Ray to combine his fine art background with his mastery of graphic and digital art tools and techniques. His digital paintings are an experimental journey of chaos, color, line, emotion and the consequences of change through intuitive choice.

Using a stylus and pixels in place of a brush and tubes of paint, digital painting offers a variety of tempting options. Ray can translate his creations to many different sizes and varieties of materials — canvas, paper, aluminum, glass, even wood.

At the beginning of 2013, Ray committed to creating a new work of art every day for the entire year as part of his “360+5 project.” His work is posted online at http://mentalfuzz.com/.

“So far I am doing well, mostly digital paintings, but an occasional design piece or poem or short story gets posted. My regular website had a database implosion and went down last week,” he said. “I have a back-up but just seems like a good time to do something new, and I am in the process of rebuilding it. With a lot of luck and sleepless nights, it will be up by the day of the opening reception on the seventh. You can find it here next week: http://studiohiku.com/.”

Ray’s artist statement explains the process of creating a digital painting.

“In the beginning, there is a thought, a vision, an idea. Born of a song or story I’ve heard, a person I've met, an amazing sunset or storm, a memory of a moment long gone. Sometimes just my current emotional state will be the spark. An image begins to take shape in my head and bounces around in there until I set it free. Because set it free I must ...

“In the middle, there is a curious alliance: the cold stark impersonality of digital space, dancing with wild abandon with the warm familiarity of traditional painting. Digital painting is an experimental journey of chaos, color, line, emotion and the consequences of change through intuitive choice. Using a stylus instead of a paintbrush, pixels instead of tubes of paint. Like a ‘traditional’ painter, I use my tools of dots, lines, shapes and colors ... until the image inside my head is flowing forth into the world at large. Working with a cadre of professional printers to lovingly transfer the images onto paper, canvas, glass or metal.

“In the end, there is the eclectic mix of styles and looks that make up the body of my work. ... I am intrigued by the opportunities digital medium opens up for me, it is exciting to try something new and see the amazing results, and on occasion the spectacular failures. Gives me chills.”

Recommended for You