Artist Spotlight: Jack Wray

Updated: Aug 14, 2018

Name: Jack Wray City: Salinas, CA 


Medium: Oil, sometimes Gouache, If I ever have access to a larger studio space I would surely work in other mediums as well

Where are you originally from, and how did you find your way to the Monterey area?

“Born and raised in Carmel Valley and the Peninsula, but I’ve lived all over. I graduated from Pacific Grove High School. The area code was 408 back then, not even 831! I moved to Los Angeles at one point for a year. It was the longest I have ever been away. There’s so much about the Monterey Peninsula that draws me back every time.”

How would you describe your process?

“It’s a long process. I usually start in a big blast. If there is a part of the painting I want extra detailed I will start on that first, but for the most part I try to do the piece in a boom. And then after I throw it out in to the world, I spend a month or two or three deciding what to fix or change. That’s usually the longest process – deciding what to change. Most of my process is looking and observing my own work, to be honest.”

Tell us something about yourself that most people might not know.

I’m a pretty introverted individual, which most people who know me already know. I’ll give you a real life secret though – everyone knows I’m a pretty avid trail runner, but when I run I'm also scouting for fresh herbs, blossoms and fungi to forage. I’m pretty sure my wife is the only other person who knows that.

Who are some artists, local or otherwise, that you hold in high esteem?

“A couple local artists: Andrew Jackson – he is an inspiration in life and in art. Paul Richmond – I admire his interpersonal skills as well as his art, he always has an amazing way of dealing with people who might not be so…nice! Mark Farina – he does landscape portraits of field workers and I’ve admired his work for many years. “

Where do you find yourself drawing the most inspiration?

“Probably in nature, and with my surroundings. I’ve always enjoyed scenery around this area, especially growing up. As a little guy there was a lot of hiking in Jack’s Peak and Point Lobos.”

What advice would you give to other emerging artists, especially those who would like to use their art as a means for income?

“That’s a tough one because I am still trying to be in the place where I am able to use my art as my sole income. I’ve always created but felt discouraged and avoided the “artist” title. I’ve really only recently decided to call myself an artists, maybe fourteen years ago.

“I think artists need to keep in mind to come up with your own idea and definition of success. Don’t work towards or try to compare yourself to anyone else’s definition. You also have to allow your own definition to grow and change, as your work grows and changes, and as you grow and change.”