Ray at the Easel

Artist Statement

“There is something very special to me about the quiet, wild places; it is their whisper that captivates my hand to create. The mountains can shout at their postcard pullouts, and the bear can pound his chest and roar his dare and breathe spit and fire and fear, yet my easel remains vacant. My inspiration is borne in the subdued shadows of the superlatives, where a triumphant scene is reduced to the stroke of light on a figure, a glow, a reflection. I work in black and white in deference to the role light plays in a moment. Charcoal is raw and simple and brutal, and while it can be willed to produce fine detail, I use detail ever more sparingly, as I am coming to appreciate that our minds fill in a scene far more convincingly than extraneous detail ever could. I cannot add to Nature’s splendor. I am simply thankful for every day that I can try to tell a small part of her whispered story through my art.” – Ray

Background

Ray was born in Missoula, Montana, where from an early age he was introduced to wildlife and the quiet places in the mountains they call home.

Ray and KirstenHe attended college at Montana State University in Bozeman, pursuing degrees in Civil and Structural Engineering when not losing himself to the trout streams or the deep timber. Graduating in the spring of 2007 with many reasons to remain contentedly in Montana, including family, job offers, a community of friends and the tremendous Montana outdoors, Ray decided instead to point himself north to the great unknown of Alaska. He knew nobody in the state and he knew little about the Alaskan wilds except that there were vast blank spots on the map – and they beckoned.

In 2009 Ray met the woman who would become his wife and companion.  Kirsten entertains a similar unquenchable spirit of adventure, and the two escape regularly in search of the unknown and the beautiful both in Alaska and abroad.

Growing up and well through the college years Ray received constant encouragement from family and friends to pursue art.  Although he never took any formal training, Ray has been fortunate to have the guidance from his father, William Gamradt, who has made art his career and lifestyle.  2013 marked the transition point from Ray’s occupation as a bridge engineer to his vocation as an artist.  Recognizing that time and energy are precious and fleeting, he feels blessed to be able to devote both toward his passion of art.  With abundant subject matter overwhelming every place he has called home, from Montana to Alaska, Ray lives in the midst of inspiration. When not in the mountains you can find him picking up the paintbrush or the charcoal to recreate the wildlife and the landscapes that have been such a dominant presence in his life.