Raymond was born in Miami, Florida in June of 1964. His father was a photographer/film maker, his mother was a model and his father’s favorite subject; she was also an accomplished cigar roller and worked for many years in that field. His parents and older brother immigrated to the U.S. in the early sixties and although they were very poor early on, an extremely hard work ethic enabled them to break out of poverty and provide well for their children. Raymond became a firefighter at age twenty, rising through the ranks and responding to countless emergencies for over thirty years, not only in his local community but all around the country after major disasters including 9/11. Throughout this time he’s been consistent in developing his art, but now retired from emergency management he wants people to finally see his passion for creativity. Growing up in the sixties and seventies influenced Ray greatly; his interests became everything Americana and nothing else, including primarily the music, cars and movies, which is quite evident in the majority of his work and drawings.
Raymond doesn’t recall a time in his life when he wasn’t drawing. His father used to sit and draw with him for hours on end; his father loved to draw and was very talented at it. They also had many established artist friends from whom Raymond was able to learn a great deal early on, developing his skills as a realist in graphite. He now works primarily with oil on wood panel both two dimensionally and on his mechanical installations.
Raymond remembers his father having a large camera collection, they used to take them apart in order to clean, fix and display them. This may explain his interest in that era and the mechanical aspect of his work; he is able to fix, manufacture and restore anything, now using these skills to help him create. He also became very interested in woodworking, learning from the very best in the field locally and contracted to manufacture since he was fifteen. Wood obviously became a dominant material in his work and the canvas for his art today.
To those who have seen his work Raymond’s technique is now very identifiable to him as an artist, once people see a few of his pieces they can recognize other ones almost immediately regardless of the subject. He hopes people will take with them a sense of history and a feel for the innovation, art and glamour from the great American twentieth century and how it is developing.
The technique I use for my paintings can best be described as oil on wood panel. Although I can paint traditionally using many mediums, I feel there have been and still are many incredible artists that have already mastered these. I decided to develop something that isn’t traditional and how I complete the final product involves a combination of skills developed on my own over many years. I do this not only on two dimensional surfaces but also on complex mechanical fabrications I build completely from scratch and installations involving vintage radios I acquire in non-working and usually completely non-salvageable condition. I’m always thinking about and developing my next series, even while working on my present one. My style leans more toward the realistic, you’ll know what you’re looking at, but how that image sits on its numerous surfaces is what you’ll remember.
My need to create is constant, I’m either thinking about my next project, drawing it up, figuring out how to solve a current obstacle, or working on one at all hours of the night. I try to find ways to bring everything together in a format that will interact with all the senses including sight, sound, smell, touch and even history. I don’t know why, but I’ve always felt great satisfaction from the creative process and it is my passion.