Ray can now be found on Facebook!
Catch Ray Materson on BBC Radio!
Ray Materson is a nationally renowned, self-taught artist who found
inspiration in a pair of socks while in prison. During the first year of his
15 year sentence for drug-related offenses, Ray was angry at the world. With
nowhere to turn for help, he ultimately looked up and
prayed to God for "all the wrong things." The answer to that prayer came
in a moment of inspired clarity - Ray traded some cigarettes for a pair of
socks, secured a sewing needle from a prison guard and started stitching his
way to redemption.
His creative ability is all the more amazing when you realize that most of his miniature masterpieces measure less than 2.5" x 3" and include approximately 1,200 stitches per square inch. His unique works have been featured in numerous exhibitions including the American Museum of Folk Art in New York City, The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD, The Center for Contemporary Art in Seattle, WA and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City to name but a few. Many of his pieces currently reside in private collections, including those of William Louis-Dreyfus & John Malkovich.
Since his release from prison in 1995, Ray has worked as a teacher, counselor, caseworker, program director, design consultant and speaker. With the help of his former wife Melanie, he published his autobiography, Sins and Needles: A Story of Spiritual Mending (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2002). In 2003, he became the first artist to ever receive the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Innovators Combating Substance Abuse Award.
Sadly, the peaceful life Ray found with Melanie came to an end in 2005 - as he explains, "life is not perfect, love sometimes dies." Ray found himself once again fighting old demons, but he refused to let them win, he poured himself into his art, accepted the help of friends, and gave himself completely over to the vision that had saved his life. In addition to completing several commissioned pieces, Ray is currently presenting a dramatic monologue based on Sins and Needles. "It's a love story. It's a story about family, alcoholism and drugs, crime, passion, pain, loss... it's about prayer... art, hope, healing and redemption."
Aarne Anton of the American Primitive Gallery, NYC, owns several of Ray's artworks and represents his work in NYC.
Mr Anton can be reached at 212-628-1530. Visit American Primitive Gallery on the web at: www.americanprimitive.com