We had the good fortune of connecting with Kay Ray and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kay, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk has always been part of my life. Beginning with moving out on my own at 17 and trying my hand at many different professions over the years until I finally found Art. Having started several businesses over the years as well as my experiences as an EMT and eye bank technician helped prepare me for this next step In my professional life. I have found that the best things are found outside my comfort zone and that will always involve some risk. If it’s not worth risking something for then don’t do it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It took me 50 yrs to get to this point in my professional career. The journey wasn’t an easy one both personally or professionally and definitely informs my work today. Reflecting on all the many paths I’ve taken from EMT, Eye-bank technician, massage therapist, owning a flag & flagpole company, public speaker and then a healthfood store all led me to where I am now. Taking on Tilt Vision Art as their Director and one of the resident artist. I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge or new adventure. Always asking myself the question “How can I make this work?” Has helped me over come most obstacles that I’ve come across. My work is pure emotion on canvas that comes out of these experiences as well as an extremely difficult/traumatic childhood and young adulthood. Creating art has helped me in my healing from the trauma in my past. The pieces I create resonates with people from all walks of life including with others who have come through similar experiences. I have learned that I don’t have to know everything to be successful and I don’t have to be perfect. Always being open to learn from those around me enables me to always grow as an artist and business woman. In everything I do my goal is help people know that they can accomplish more than they think they can and suffering in life is a choice. The pains and struggles of the past can inform you and make you stronger rather than limit your future. Collaboration, being of service and caring of my fellow human beings is what it’s all about. and what I’m most proud of. Brad Smith and his son Cameron have been vital to me becoming an artist. When Brad lost his wife Randi ( who was my husbands niece) to cancer a year ago they began creating a live stream series called Corona Canvas on YouTube and Facebook. Brad would paint this giant mural in his Burleson studio while the two of them talked and poked fun at one another. They did this at the start of the pandemic and a couple of months after Randi died to keep themselves busy and help get people’s minds off of being stuck at home. I began to come by and paint in the studio too. Brad told me I had talent as an artist and agreed to mentor me. From that beginning we created a collaborative working artists studio/ gallery with high end filming, video production and live stream capabilities. Our mission is to democratize Art and empower people through art based economic development projects. This is like nothing I’ve ever done before and taps into my greatest asset of adaptability. I’m privileged to be able to do what makes my heart happy while building a legacy of lifting others up.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
No matter what time of year we would go to Sundance Square to check out the shops and Jazz club. A stop to Tilt Vision Art Gallery to check out what artist might be there working on their next piece and meet Brad Smith the founder and renowned muralist. Then we are off to dinner at Italy Pasta and Pizza for great Italian cousins. Touring Dallas, we would have to go to Deep Ellum to experience the varied shops, restaurants and night life. The Perot museum, Dallas zoo and Klyde Waren park. If there is any time left we would have to visit Traders Village.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The women in my family , my Grandmother and mother showed me what it was to keep getting up when you get knocked down. The support of my family has given me the steam to keep going when it gets tough. My best friend and former business partner Susanne Engelbert blessed me with her friendship and a wonderful 10year business partnership. I learned so much in those 10 years about business and myself. Last but not least, Brad Smith has lead me into the art world where I’ve found my passion for painting and my voice in a way that feeds my soul. Brad having been a mural artist for 43 years has given him great insight and knowledge that I’ve come to appreciate and rely on from him as my mentor.
Tilt Vision Art