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Artist Interviews: Jack Wray

Artist Interviews: Jack Wray

Today we are welcoming Jack Wray to the AMU Blog! Jack is a fine artist living in Portland, Oregon, inspired by the idea that we have the power to create our own personal mythologies and can redefine ourselves through art. Thank you Jack for taking the time to share some inspiration with the Art Makes Us community!

AMU: Art Makes Us ___.

Jack: connected.

AMU: Tell us a little about yourself and your art. 

Jack: I’m a 40 something husband and father of two from Monterey, CA. I’ve always had opinions about design, and an appreciation for art. But it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I started experimenting with painting. My only intention then was to fill my free time with something I enjoyed doing. I also like the idea of sharing my perspective of the world, and after many journals filled with awful poetry, I felt more comfortable expressing myself visually.

AMU: What's your favorite medium?

Jack: I really like working oil paint with a palette knife on wood. The wet on wet approach quickly provides rich, multi-layered colors. And I like the quick decision making, with the options for moving, adjusting or painting over things later.

AMU: What inspires you?

Jack: Inspiration is everywhere! The tricky part for me is trusting my intuition. Hearing, and acknowledging the little voice that says, “this is the thing you need to make next." I get inspired by nature often, or sometimes (more frequently since my move from Monterey to Portland) I’m inspired by a cityscape or the people interacting with it. I get inspired by my dreams, my emotions, or even reading philosophy. I stick to things I know, subjects that I live in or around or that live inside of me.

AMU: What are your artistic goals for the future?

Jack: My main artistic goal is to paint every day. Consistent studio time makes a happy Jack. For the short term, I have an 8 foot by 4 foot stretched canvas that I’ve wanted to put a specific painting on for years. I think I might actually have the skill to pull that off soon. Long term, I would love it if someday I had enough collectors to only paint what I want for a living. 

AMU: What is one piece of art advice you were given that has always stuck with you?

Jack: I was taking a figure drawing class at MPC, and the instructor made an off-hand comment about painting during one of the discussions. It really stuck in my head and has helped me work through difficult paintings countless times. She said “just get the paint on the canvas, if you don’t like how it looks, you can always paint over it.”

AMU: If they made a film about your life, who would play you?

Jack: If they made a film about my life, I’d like to think I would be played by Keanu Reeves, but maybe Adam Sandler would be a better fit.

AMU: What famous artist would you love to meet?

Jack: I would really like to meet Banksy. I am amazed at their ability to distill complex social ideas into relatable works of art.

AMU: What do you wish you knew when you started?

Jack: I wish I knew the value of having my work critiqued when I started. I spent a long time painting alone on projects that only my eyes would see. I was amazed at how things started to “click” for me after getting feed back from other viewers. 

AMU: What’s your favorite color?

Jack: I’ve had a running joke with my wife since we met in 2004. My favorite color is the rusty orange that is seen above the ocean horizon line 10 to 20 minutes after sunset. I shared that with her on one of our first dates, and I continue to share that with her, like it’s new information, every time we see a sunset together.

AMU: If you had an artistic superpower what would it be?

Jack: I wish I had the power to create art that heals people, physically, mentally and emotionally. The process of creating art is healing for me, and I like to imagine that experience reaching through my art to the viewer.

AMU: Where can people go to see your work?

Jack: Nearly all of my work is on my website  I also have some metal prints at Tejido Collective in Carmel by the Sea, and a couple original abstract pieces at Lynns Arcade in Seaside, CA.

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