Marty Ray - Ceramic Artist and Teacher
More than you want to know, but here is MY STORY:
Childhood and educaton: When I was young my mother asked me to paint murals on our living room walls. Now I paint images on walls of clay. As soon as I learned to make marks, my life with art began. I learned to use a brush and color with paint-by-number kits on the dining room table. A small oil paint set was a prize possesion at age 12; and two early paintings were of my dog and my grandfather. (I still have them). I had wonderful art teachers in Dallas schools:Paul Harris and Carolyn Dodson at Samuel High and Chapman Kelley for a scholarship painting class at the Dallas Museum of Art.. At East Texas State U in Commerce I was lucky to work with art professors Charles McGough and Dr. Paul Kelpe. Painting and printmaking were my passions then. I began teaching art in Dallas public schools in 1965. In 1967-68 I was lucky to be able to teach art in a high school on a US Air Force Base in Tokyo, Japan. That year I travelled through Japan and took short trips to Cambodia, Thailand, the Philipines and HongKong. In these places, my eyes opened to new cultures and the beauty of ceramic art.
I discovered clay: In the late 60's I began classes in clay, creating both sculptural and pottery forms. My first clay teacher was sculptor, Octavio Medellin and later potters, Michael Obranovich, John Miller at TWU and John McElroy at SMU. Clay grabbed my full attention as I learned so much was possible and I knew so little. While teaching high school art at Bryan Adams I created the first classes that focused completely on ceramics. In 1976, I took a break from teaching and began an MFA program at SMU, concentrating on sculpture, ceramics and art education. Soon my clay forms connected with a need to draw and paint and the surface of clay pots became as important as the form itself. In 1978 I began teaching ceramics, sculpture and design at North Lake College in Irving. After 45+ years of teaching, I am still learning right along with my students and I often remind them, "Clay is our primary teacher".
Life with another artist: In 1971, I married Richard, also an artist. Today, Richard’s oil paintings include portraits, landscapes, and colorful flowers. We sometimes work in collaboration on slip painting and incising of the pottery. In 2012, Richard began a painting series inspired by line drawings from my old sketchbooks and details from pottery imagery. Working collaboratively in ceramics is historically common. How fun, that my partner in life is also my partner in art.
Ceramic work today: Currently my work with clay primarily involves incising lines that move up, over and around pottery surfaces. The imagery comes from my surroundings...from stories and events...and from ART that sparks ideas and design. Work with clay is a perfect blend of many aspects of art and offers constant challenge. From the first time I drew with a crayon or painted color with a brush, my life in art had begun. My parents were fully supportive of art as a lifetime pursuit and career and I had excellent teachers. Today my art continues to evolve out of a full life of ART-doing, ART-looking and ART-teaching.
My work is offered through Craighead Green Gallery in Dallas. I open my studio to the public each October as part of the White Rock Lake Artists' Studio Tour.
Working in my Barbaree Studio with my assistant, Austin the Boston
Craighead Green Gallery reception with "Street Dance"