If I ever had to choose an artist to crush on, for their artwork, then hands down it would easily be on Rex Ray, for his many lovely collages. Time and again, I find myself envious of both the color palettes and handmade papers used in these consistently inspiring compositions. A now San Francisco based fine artist, who has found himself spotlighted time and again for not only his collages but in addition his thoughtful painting, photography, and graphic design – has potentially an even more creative story as to how he arrived at where he is today.
His thus far life story has both high and low moments, as most artists do – coming from a military family, with little financial support to finding his way to the University of Colorado and into a small but booming local art scene. Shortly thereafter, the originally born “Michael Patterson” found his pseudonym Rex Ray within the mail-art industry, where he gained undeniable experience. But wanting more, Ray packed up to the Bay Area, where he enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute. At the time, his mail-art experience and fascination with Xerox machines didn’t go over very well, even when infused into black and white encaustic paintings – but quickly he found a chance with David Bowies, or rather David Bowie found him.
Spotted for his poster, the projects that he collaborated with Bowie gave way to other opportunities with big name partnerships including Sony Music and Warner Bros. With the project at hand, he was able to do what he did and continues to do best – collage. Now, Ray’s designed definitely do not get overlooked, and more often than not get more than a second glace. His very much collectible artwork is coveted in design as well as art circles. Abstract and handcrafted, with a retro-futuristic mid-century feel, his designs utilize fluid forms and have a rare combination of sophistication and decorative appeal.
Ray’s many works of art have been exhibited at galleries and museums, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, University Art Museum in Berkeley, San Jose Museum of Modern Art, The Crocker Museum in Sacramento, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, Cheryl Haines Gallery, Gallery 16, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions.
His sweet list of graphic design clients include some dream worthy names as well, including – Apple, Dreamworks, Sony Music, Warner Brothers, City Lights Publishers, Matador Records, Serpent’s Tail, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, Rizzoli, Powerhouse, Mute Records and Crown Books. His package designs for David Bowie, as well as for Joe Satriani, Diamanda Galás, Matmos, and Deee-Lite, have earned him an international reputation for his innovation in type and with original photographs, drawings, and collage. He has designed over 100 historic Bill Graham Presents rock and roll tour posters, including ones for The Rolling Stones, Patti Smith, REM, Bjork, U2, and Radiohead.
Posted by Dana Pruskowski at 16 June, 2011