Christy Gray is one of my all-time favorite artists. In addition to running her own art consultancy company and being a pillar of the Northeast Ohio art community, she has found time to create, experiment, and constantly evolve as an artist. When the pandemic impacted both her business projects and her personal explorations, she returned to what she knew best – simple materials, hand work, and familiar imagery.
When I interviewed her she had recently completed her “Liquid Invitation” series of 100 works inspired by her paddle boarding passion, and had just started “Cloistered”, a new series of 100. (She’s already on number 43.)
While I’d like to say I’m not jealous of both her work and how incredibly prolific she’s been, the truth is I’m most envious of the sheer playfulness of her pieces. Her work has been a huge reminder of why it’s okay to play – even in times of crisis. Or perhaps especially in times of crisis.
I hope you enjoy!
Before COVID, I was exploring working with metals. I was in the midst of a continuing ed course in metals at CIA and also doing independent study work at Flux Metal Arts. I wanted to work with this medium to expand my vocabulary and develop a body of wall-based work. I was excited about the direction I was moving in and also working on combining laser cut Plexiglas with printed imagery and the metal. I was at the point I knew that I needed to learn a lot more, but could manage some work independently at home and receive instruction at intervals with the use of community equipment.
When everything shut down, I went back to a series of mixed media pieces that I started in 2018. They are photographs of the lake that I had taken from my paddle board, layered with acetate imagery and stitching. I have found it easier to jump back into this series and style of working. It does not require a dedicated concentration of what the next step is. I am able to cut, stitch, glue, and keep moving. There is some instant gratification of completing a small piece and moving on to the next. At the same time, I am fearless about trying out something. The risk is low, the materials are cheap, and the learning is immediate. I have since finished the “Liquid Invitation” series of 100 and started on “Cloistered”. The new work has more edges, less softness, but it feels like it has a new conversation within the work. I have started to think about how to translate these to metal/ Plexiglas and beginning to edge into the focus that is required for the metal work.
I am also sending the pieces that I have created thus far out into the universe. It feels right to me. I want to spread a little joy, give to others, and am also thankful of what I am able to create.”
I think creativity is everything right now. Creativity is, of course, spending time creating artwork, and it is so much more. It falls under the heading of how we access and consume culture from books to TV to movies to music and virtual gallery shows. Creativity is how we manage to connect with others. Creativity is rethinking who we are, what we are doing, where we are going. Creativity is the spark of hope that finds its way into my soul.
Cheryl Durst, CEO of International Interior Design, spoke last week about not finding the new normal, but to find our way to next.
Creativity will get us there.”– Christy Gray
Thank you Christy for sharing your fearless work! Keep on making – we can’t wait to see the next 57. Be sure to check out her Instagram page for more!