Meet the Others: Jamie Gray
The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.
Originally from the American West, Jamie Gray is currently established in Kansas City, Missouri. The artist has exhibited and sold artworks in both the United Kingdom and United States. Academic degrees in graphic design deeply underpin her visual language, which is often inspired by a nascent interest in the sciences – from mycology to astronomy.
Her work had been described as both “geometric and primordial” and explores the juxtaposition of simple motifs with layered textures, as well as the integration of traditional craft-based techniques – hand-marbling, encaustic wax, and gold leaf gilding – in the making of contemporary artworks.
Q&A with the Artist
Tell us about who you are and what you do. What is your background?
I’ve pursued many professional paths in my life, including design, teaching, and retail, but time and again I always circle back to art. Finally, I’m fortunate (and brave enough) to embrace a life as a full-time artist based in Kansas City. Primarily a painter, within the past decade I’ve become more cross-disciplinary and include collage, watercolor, sculpture, and jewelry design in my practice. I have two degrees in graphic design and this foundation forms an important part of my identity as an artist, as well as guides my working methodology, conceptual approach, and abstract aesthetic.
What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
It is said that all life on earth is created from the matter of long-dead stars. Through my art, I strive to make meditative moments that represent the creative forces behind our universe and to draw a visual comparison between that which is often too familiar and too vast to see. The shapes and patterns I see in nature and the universe — mushrooms, mountains, rocks, clouds, sea life, plants, and the cosmos — provide me with a constant source of inspiration and the motivation to reveal their connectivity through reoccurring geometric motifs.
How did you first get interested in your medium and what draws you to it specifically?
An artist my whole life, I find abstract painting the most constant and accessible. I’m also an admirer of traditional hand-crafts and am keen on integrating aspects of what may seem contrary in the making of contemporary artwork. I enjoy a willingness to explore and embrace the self-taught skills of marbling, gold leaf gilding, encaustic wax, and woodworking in my abstract compositions.
How has your style and practice changed over the years?
Rather than what has changed, I’m particularly interested in identifying the conceptual and formal threads running through work I made 5, 10, 20 years ago, even as my technique, materials (and locations) have varied. Finding continuity is a big part of my artistic point of view and offers me evidence of deep investigation throughout my artist’s journey.
Can you walk us through your process? How long do you spend on one work? How do you know when it’s finished?
My studio is always filled with multiple projects in various stages. My process includes experimentation, iteration, dead ends, reinvention, and lots of valuable contemplative pauses between. Logistically, most work requires several sequential steps that demand patience and time. For example, I hand marble my own materials, which must be done before I can select, cut, or compose. I often finish a piece with a touch of gold leaf to reference the star stuff that permeates all life.
What series or project are you working on next?
I will keep adding to my long term body of work, ‘Cosmic Botany’, as well as am developing a new series addressing my passion for collecting and arranging objects as a means of personal storytelling. I am excited to develop this narrative-based symbology across different mediums including encaustic collage on wood, acrylic on canvas, and small sculptural and kinetic works.
What is the best advice given to you as an artist?
I think most artists benefit from participating in a community of active working artists. After many years of working from a home studio, I currently rent a studio at the Kansas City Artists Coalition and have found many advantages to working in a shared space, as well as through having ongoing critiques of mid-process work with other creatives.
Shop artwork by Jamie and other trailblazing artists at The Other Art Fair’s Online Studios.
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