1) Q: Where were you born and where were you raised? A: I was born and raised in N. W. Washington DC. in an area between Howard University and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
2) Q: In your early childhood did you grow up in an environment that promoted the arts? A: Yes, My family encouraged me to follow my passions as an artist. My mother and brother were my biggest fans. Also, Washington, DC is a Mecca for all the arts.
3) Q: At what age/point in your life did you realizes that you wanted to be an artist? A: In the first grade. As long as I can remember, I've been an artist and dreamed of being a great artist.
4) Q: Are you a full-time artist? A: Yes, since February 1999 I have made my living only as a visual artist. Being an artist has been my life time vocation.
5) Q: If you are a full-time artist was it easy making the transition from having a job to just doing what you love…your art? A: Ha! Ha! Transitioning from a good job to being a full-time artist is like bungee jumping, a huge drop and an exhilarating rise to the top!
6) Q: Did you go to school for art and if so what did you gain from the experience? A: I attended the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore. I developed a strong work ethic and gained a thick skin in art school. Being an artist is not for the faint of heart. In an ego driven line of work, you must learn when to take your ego out of it.
7) Q: Did school prepare you to make a living from your art? A: The various styles, techniques, and skill sets I gained in art school prepared me to be able make it happen. Art school taught me nothing of the business of art. Business savvy is what my mom, dad, and brother taught me.
8) Q: How many hours on the average do you spend painting a week? A: Not enough. I wear many hats as a full-time artist. I’m CEO and the janitor in my company. In other words, I’m responsible for marketing, accounting, sales, and making art too.
9) Q: What advise do you have for other artist trying to get their artwork into galleries? A: Produce a large consistent body of art to show galleries. Make at least 30 to 50 consistent works of art.
10) Q: Tell me about your artwork? A: My art is my diary and my art is as varied as my life. I love painting in acrylics and creating mixed-media collages.
11) Q: Have you always done landscape paintings? A: Yes, but not good ones. In the last ten years my sceneries (landscapes) have become much better. I painted on average fifty or more large landscapes a year. Currently, I only paint commissioned landscapes.
12) Q: Where can we find your work…galleries,websites..? A: My website is mcraystudios.com. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogger, Zazzle, and Pinterest. My studio is located in Artspace in downtown Raleigh, NC.
13) Q: When did you first become interested in art and why? A: In the first or second grade I was esteemed by my teacher when I helped her design a Rumpelstiltskin themed bulletin board. That was the day I realized my art had a value beyond by own personal fulfillment.
14) Q: When and why did you decide to make a living from painting and drawing? A: Fish swim. Birds fly. I make art. Striving to be a great artist is my life's purpose. That is what God "called" me to be.
15) Q: What was the first piece that you sold? A: I don't remember. As a child, kids often paid me to draw pictures on their book covers in school. When I was sixteen I was hired by a design firm as a paste-up artist.
16) Q: Describe the different materials you use and what you like/dislike about them? A: I stopped using oil paints, because they took too long to dry. I paint in acrylics, because they are fast, clean, efficient, fast-drying, versatile and archival. I create in collage, because it is alchemy. I'm able to make something of tremendous value out of inexpensive materials. It's like making microchips out of sand and turning straw into gold.
17) Q: Where does your inspiration come from? A: My inspiration comes from my passions, my adventures and misadventures. My art is my diary.
18) Q: What artist(s) influenced your style? A: I think every artist I've ever seen. As Robert Motherwell said, "The intelligent artist keeps the history of art in his head." I'm paraphrasing.
19) Q: What are your future plans? A: Now that is a broad question. So, I can only give you a broad but sincere answer. As an artist I'm striving to become the best known artist in NC, then throughout the Southeast.
20) Q: Anything else that would be interesting to know about you? A: I'm in the process of teaming up with other artists, writers, and designers to start a new media company focused on print and web-based comics, animation, and gaming.