Portfolio: Rachel M. Bray

Artists from Saint John, Canada

Rachel M. Bray is a Canadian artist specialising in pencil, graphite powder and ink work. Here, she tells us more about herself and shares her portfolio.

How would you describe your work?

My drawings are informed by Asian art history and their themes are combined with my own cultural expression of French allegorical surrealism.

What are your favourite tools?

Today my favourite tools are pencils and the assorted custom brushes I use when drawing with graphite powder.

What techniques and approaches do you use most?

I most often use a combination of graphite powder and pencil for a level of dimension, play of light and vitality. I think graphite powder is an underused medium with potential that is greatly unexplored.

What has been your favourite piece you've created and why?

My favourite lately is a small quick drawing I did called 'Hound'. I'm growing increasingly focused on the potential of drawing to render heightened levels of living vibrancy, and this drawing is a small piece of that.

Where have you exhibited your work?

My latest show was at the CAJA group show this summer in LA. Earlier this year, I had the great privilege of lavishing two whole pages of Tiny Pencil magazine with my drawings.

Who are your biggest influences?

My earliest and strongest drawing influences were illustrations from archaeology, anthropology and biology textbooks. I'm always inspired by artists like Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Hiroshige. My imagination is sparked by artists like Tilo Baumgärtel and his surreal night scenes of quiet mystery and subtle violence.

What has inspired you most recently?

The great Tyrus Wong, Chinese-born American artist who is best known as the production illustrator for Disney's "Bambi" and chiefly responsible for its painterly quality. The way in which Tyrus Wong combines the aesthetics of traditional Chinese painting with modern western animation perfectly captures what I see as the great potential of cultural interplay in all forms of art.

What is your dream commission?

My dream commission is to never have to fulfil a commission.

Féin Mharú, 11 x 17, pencil, an allegory of suicide and its potentially detrimental effect on surrounding survivors.

Fruited, pencil, created especially for Tiny Pencil magazine to serve as partner to my drawing entitled Inevitability

Inevitability, pencil, a meditation on the inevitability of fungal death, inspired by the white nose bat fungus epidemic

Advertisement. Article continues below

Hygeia, pencil, a de-personified version of Hygeia inspired by Gustav Klimt's painting of the same name

Hound, graphite powder and pencil, one of a series exploring the theme of afterlife and exorcism

Oceania, pencil and graphite powder, based on George Orwell’s vision of a supercontinent she is Oceania of the mind’s eye, from Aukland to the Arctic disputed zone, a narwhal-skinned beauty with a face like the ocean floor

Advertisement. Article continues below

Lucifer, pencil and graphite powder, the final in a series exploring the theme of afterlife and exorcism