Q&A with Eric McRay

Over the past two decades since I’ve been “in the public eye”, I’ve had an abundance of art, literature, and history students of many ages write about me and my art. I’m humbled to say the least. Basically, I’ve always seen myself as the kid that just loved to draw and liked telling exciting stories. With much prayer, hard work and the help of my loved ones, my passion has become my career.

Recently, I received an email from a friend and collector of my artwork. He and his lovely wife own three of my paintings. He’s taking a class and chose to include me in a paper he is writing. These are the questions he asked. I thought I’d share the answers with you.

Where were you born and where were you raised?

I was born and raised in N. W. Washington DC. in an area between Howard University and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

When did you first become interested in art and why?
In the first or second grade I was esteemed by my teacher when I helped her design a Rumpelstiltskin themed bulletin board. That was the day I realized my art had a value beyond by own personal fulfillment.

When and why did you decide to make a living from painting and drawing?
Fish swim. Birds fly. I make art. Striving to be a great artist is my life’s purpose. That is what God “called” me to be.

What was the first piece that you sold?

I don’t remember. As a child, kids often paid me to draw pictures on their book covers in school. When I was sixteen I was hired by a design firm as a paste-up artist.

Describe the different materials you use and what you like/dislike about them?
I stopped using oil paints, because they took too long to dry. I paint in acrylics, because they are fast, clean, efficient, fast-drying, versatile and archival. I create in collage, because it is alchemy. I’m able to make something of tremendous value out of inexpensive materials. It’s like making microchips out of sand and turning straw into gold.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from my passions, my adventures and misadventures. My art is my diary.

What artist(s) influenced your style?
I think every artist I’ve ever seen. As Robert Motherwell said, “The intelligent artist keeps the history of art in his head.” I’m paraphrasing.

What are your future plans?
Now my friend, that is a broad question. So, I can only give you a broad but sincere answer. As an artist I’m striving to become the best known artist in NC, then throughout the Southeast.