For years now, Martique Lorray, former owner of Evo's and co-creator of the Briscoe Art Wing, has been well known as an entrepreneurial hipster and patron of the arts. Now Lorray herself, at 31, is finally beginning her own career as a professional artist.
"I've always been surrounded by the art, and the art wing at Evo's. Those were grasps at creating an artistic community which I could live in," Lorray said. "But I've learned the difference between managing and creating an art community and actually being an artist."
Those steps lead Lorray, who has spent her life studying and promoting art, to decide to dedicate her life to creating it.
"This is really another step in life lessons, and towards becoming closer to what I actually wanted in life &
honing that dream and this direction," said Lorray. "I'm a contemporary realism artist. I usually do figurative works. I'm just starting my career as a professional artist. I have definitely siphoned down what I do in life. I'm not spreading myself as thin as I used to."
Lorray will be moving to North Carolina in June to be closer to her family. She sees the leap as a proving ground, square in the center of the New York and Miami art scenes. But, prior to that, she will enjoy her first major gallery opening this Friday, at Nuwandart. Her theme is "Nude Woman Scratching."
"The itch is the impetus; the agitation, the unsatisfied need. The scratch is the remedying action to that need. It's a metaphor for how we go after our dreams," said Lorray. "This is very personal for me right now."
Lorray explained how the fascination with this theme has personal roots in her own odyssey: "Within this metaphor my search is how honest I can be as an artist, and within this metaphor is seeing how to be shameless in choosing direction."
"Honesty, raw honesty, not offensive honesty, is hugely important to me right now. Of course, the most important thing is to be honest with myself. So I try not to be afraid to look at anything too directly," she said. "In these works, that's the emotion of being completely honest with the search and choice of what one wants to do with their life."
Lorray attended the Magnate Art School in Miami, her place of origin, and was born to Jamaican immigrants. She also lived in Arizona prior to arriving in the Valley five years ago.
"When I lived in Arizona, I was surrounded by professional artists, so I gleaned a lot from them," said Lorray.
Looking at life and herself through her art, the ever-chipper Lorray explains her philosophies within the codependent creativity she shares with her work, as well as the victory she feels in having finally created it: "My work is very personal. To me, it pinpoints exactly where I am in life, even if not actually realizing it at that time."
For Lorray, that work defines a woman who has chosen to make a bold step into herself and toward her future.
"It's subtle, how often it seems we don't choose for ourselves," said Lorray.
For more information on Martique Lorray's work, or to order prints, visit