ARTIST XII: JAMES C. GRAY

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The High Sign Solo Exhibition

“They deserve to be displayed high on the wall. That’s the elevation in which they live.”

I’m delighted to present this selection of pieces I’ve painted from street signage I’ve found across the country. Several of the pieces were discovered while strolling the streets surrounding the GALLERIA de FOX venue in Santa Ana, CA.

A trusted critic once said my work was “very pedestrian.” It took me several days to realize he wasn’t paying a compliment.

Regardless, I’ve always been attracted to the beauty and design of on-street signage and architectural marketing. Whether its a classic neon shingle, the face of an elegant clock tower, or an ornate lamppost – I enjoy capturing these wonders of spacial marketing in their natural environment.

I tend to paint in larger formats. Smaller compositions could never allow me to fully convey the sense of gravity – the command of attention – that these signs invoke in me. I paint them from low angles to illustrate the way we pedestrians see them – like giant inanimate carnival barkers, shouting down at us to “come on in!” – James Gray

James is a self-taught artist with over 30 years specializing in acrylics. James currently lives in Atlanta, GA. Email gallerydefox@gmail.com for commission information.

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GALLERY de FOX presents – FROM: GREECE

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Give Thanks & Vakna Art Benefit – FROM Greece, with LOVE

Coloring Skaramangas

“Coloring Skaramangas is a mixed media project that I began while I worked with displaced children and adults at Skaramangas refugee camp since April [2016]. I have spent many afternoons volunteering as an art teacher at Hope School and doing rogue art projects with children that I would round up. These are kids, that with little playthings of their own, make fun  out of anything that they can find, from a grocery bag to a broken umbrella, so you can imagine their delight when you bring them color, paper and paints. After art, I spend my evenings chatting with a group of Syrian cousins that I call friends. These young guys are used to attending university and going out with friends in their hometown. With pride, they would show me pictures  of the cities they had left behind – Hama and Damascus. Now they are living together, 6 people to a 10′ x 15′ space without a job or much to do with themselves. With these experiences, I began to see how daily life as a refugee can be viewed as without color. This is a project where refugees can add life to their black and white existence.” Vakna – Local Photographer  & Volunteer

“In the short-term, drawing and painting makes children feel good and whole, responsible and empowered. It removed them from the refugee camp environment and focuses them on the present moment. The goal is to take them out of their misery and give them a chance to be a child again, they’re a child doing art.” – Sushma Legendre McIntosh, Art Therapist

“After spending time volunteering several times with refugees who have fled war and violence in their home countries of Syria, Afghanistan, and throughout the Middle East who have ended up stranded in Germany and Greece, it has become clear to me that the displaced people need a creative outlet and some activity in order to cope with life in the camps there. The families I met live in places like improvised tent cities and converted schools. Women and children have little activity. Without having a country to really call home or right to work, they are also in need of a source of funds to help purchase items they need and to get back on their feet. 

This project is in direct response to the growing population of refugees living in camps all over Europe. We will work with partners on the ground in Germany, with over 1.1 million, and Greece, with over 56,000 people living without a permanent home or lifestyle. Our campaign aims to start a non-profit to provide volunteers, supplies and art projects for the children, and sewing  or crochet projects for the women. Your donation will go towards these items, as well as the creation of jewelry, t-shirts and purses made from these art projects with proceeds from the sales directly befitting the refugees.” – Rebecca Castillo – Founder, GIVE THANKS (Contact: @givethankstorefugees  hello@givethankstorefugees.com)