Art Connection –– Summer 2022

artist spotlight: ray tigerman

Artwork: Warhorse By Ray Tigerman.

From Nevada to Nashville, artist Ray Tigerman has collected stories along his journey that have influenced his texturally rich and vibrant works that depict indigenous Southwestern people and wildlife. And while he purposely omits fine detail to allow the viewer to form their own story, the use of color and texture creates an immediate connection and somewhat immersive experience. Ray’s work has evolved over the years––and continues to––but his current style, which he uses a palette knife to create, he’s been perfecting over the past 15 years. Most of Ray's work is shaped by the stories of his childhood. He grew up near the Paiute Indian reservation and some of his fondest memories include hearing stories recounted by one of the tribe elders, which are valued in the community as teachers, keepers of knowledge, and transmitters of cultural knowledge. Those stories stuck with him and now are transmitted through his own form of storytelling. "A lot of my childhood friends were Native American and I got a really good indoctrination into their culture," Ray said. "It really resonated with me––the way they lived and their synergy with the Earth.

They had a culture that really was interested in preserving the elements that allowed them to survive––it is a really symbiotic relationship. As I got older, it never really left me." Though his childhood memories shape his work, Ray wants his subjects to tell their own story and not necessarily one he is telling. "I want the viewer to get lost in it and come up with their own connection to it," he said. "Sometimes if you're very literal with your subjects, you’re kind of forcing your audience to feel what you feel. There's nothing wrong with that, but I like that idea of mystery and a little nostalgia. A lot of my pieces have a journey-esque feel to them." Though it may not have fine detail, there is a lot to explore and discover in Ray's work. Using a palette knife enables him to create rich textures and sculptural elements in his paintings. "I'd always used a palette knife as more of an accent," he said. "But, when I fully switched over, I never looked back. It allows me to do a lot of different things that are visually interesting like carving in creating different techniques."

"Being a professional artist means something different to every artist. For me, I get to create things out of my head and then I get to share them with other individuals who get to live with them. "

Watch Ray's interview here.

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Issue 1 | Summer 2022

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