Fun and whimsical are just two adjectives used to describe Cave Creek artist Robin Ray's creations. Her illustrations of the natural world are full of life, motion, and vivid color. The images leap out to greet you in her two-dimensional murals and her three-dimensional ceramic works. The vibrant energy of Robin’s design sensibility instantly creates a cheerful, fun, and imaginative space for its viewer.
Watercolor and acrylic are Robin's first choices of paint; often, you will discover images from her mural, and ceramic characters become the subject of her paintings. Flowers, vines, birds, bugs, purple cows, orange horses, and yellow pigs may be running across the landscape in various forms, like a mural, a watercolor, or a ceramic sculpture. One thing Robin can say for the painted surfaces that come to life is,"It will have you exploring a different world."The possibilities are what you're asked to entertain when you commission Robin to design a ceramic piece or a mural. You become a partner in creation with her imagination.
Robin states, "Needless to say; I grew up among creative people. Since before my memory, I have been encouraged to think, draw, sculpt, and paint out of the box." Her first experience with clay was during a high school art class in Fargo, North Dakota, and it was love at first squeeze. When it was time for college, her dad took her to Bozeman, Montana, where she met Francis Senska, a professor with a wealth of knowledge and experience in ceramics. Her dad informed her, "This is the school for you; she is the real deal!" And he was right! After three years in Montana, Robin's parents steered her to Chapman's World Campus Afloat, sailing to ports in Africa, India, and Asia, where students studied religion, art, and dance. The objective was to teach the students how to integrate universal themes with their creativity across all life mediums.
"Needless to say; I grew up among creative people. Since before my memory, I have been encouraged to think, draw, sculpt, and paint out of the box."
Once Robin stepped ashore again, she continued her education by enrolling and graduating from Arizona State University with a B.A. in K-12 Art Education, Teaching Degree. In 1972, she purchased her first potter's wheel and kiln. With her ceramics equipment in tow, Robin then moved back to Montana to work as a professional artist in a cottage manufacturing industry producing soft sculptures. During this time, she also opened her gallery in Butte, "The Robin's Nest," As the year 1984 dawned, Robin was back in Arizona, where she took a job at Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek as an art instructor. She was living her dream of working with young artists, "helping them discover their creative edge and what their contribution might be to the world of imagination." During this time, Robin had the opportunity to attend Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff to earn her Masters in Studio Arts with an Emphasis in Ceramics.
Today, retired from the Cave Creek Unified School District but not from creating, Robin is an active member of the Cave Creek arts community. She is one of the now legendary "Hidden in The Hills Artist Studio Tour” founding members held annually in the Foothills area. She is a prominent member, of the Sonoran Arts League and a tireless promoter of the visual arts, for all ages, through her many exhibits and teaching activities. Her current ceramic animal sculptures are constructed from slabs of clay decorated with abstract, sometimes primitive designs. As a result, her work becomes three-dimensional paintings and sculptural pieces. In addition, over time, Robin's murals have become a significant part of her ever-evolving artistic style in whimsical design.