Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Monday, February 20, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Nicholas Murray

On a couple of occassions I've had the pleasure of seeing this dynamic artist showcasing his work in the community.  Each time I've seen him I've been impressed not only with the quality of his work but also with the genuine passion that comes through when he talks about his art.  So the last time I saw him I asked if he would indulge me with an interview for my blog.  To which he kindly accepted. 

I'm very pleased to introduce this friend of the J Spot, Mr. Nicholas D. Murray:

Nicholas could you please tell me a little about yourself?

My name is Nicholas DuPree Murray and I am 28 years old. I am a native to Phoenix, Arizona. The arts have always been something I have enjoyed to do, whether it is the fine arts (drawing, painting) or the performing arts (dance, music). I remember at a young age drawing stick figures and being so emerged in the act of creating art. Overtime this love of art emerged into my dream of becoming an animator and working in the art field.

Have you studied the arts formally?
My adventures in art began in childhood and have stuck with me since. Overtime this love of art emerged into my dream of becoming an animator and working in the art field, which led to my educational endeavors at Arizona State University in the Katherine K. Herberger College of Fine Arts in 2001. Overtime my skills in the fine arts developed in fine arts areas, such as drawing, painting, and sculpting. Nevertheless my main focus at the university was to learn and develop a solid understanding of animation, both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional. I remember being a kid and being in awe of Disney animated movies. I used these films as a reference in terms of what I wanted to do for a career. The word animation in itself refers to bringing something to life, and is why I enjoy the art form so much to this day. After working on a project for weeks on end, seeing the finished product is most rewarding. I was also introduced to many historic figures in my courses at the university, which impacted my art as well. A Harlem Renaissance artist by the name of Aaron Douglas is one of these individuals that I used a reference in developing some of my art concepts. Douglas’s art revolved around African and Egyptian design concepts, which made him popular. His work sparked an emergence of many young African American artists and helped with the appreciation and development of African heritage and African American folk culture in art during that era. Aaron Douglas and his art was a guide for me to use in my artistic development at that time. After 4 ½ years of study and artistic development at Arizona State University, I earned my Bachelors of Arts degree in Digital Arts which has been one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.

What have you been doing with your art since college?
Right after graduating from college I joined the workforce…. I had to start repaying back those student loans. Lol- I began working at Chase bank, which is not what I expected especially after graduating from college with an art degree. Since then my jobs have not been related to any form of art, which brings me to my focus as of right now of marketing my work and getting my name out there as an artist. Nevertheless throughout the past 5 years I have created individual/ personalized pieces for people. Though not consistent, the future looks to be promising in creating more individualized art. As of right now my main focus is to complete my MBA, which will be at the end of March! Yay! From there I will focus full force on in marketing and selling my art, along with establishing my own business. I would like to dive more into animation, for the reason that there are not enough animation opportunities in Phoenix, AZ since Fox Animation Studios closed. I want to potentially establish an animation production company to revive the art form in this region of the United States. There is a lot that I would like to do, so I must focus on one thing at a time. We will see where life goes………In regards of purchasing my art, I have prints for sale. I am also open to discuss potential pieces for anyone who is interested in something unique and personalized. They just need to contact me. My art can be viewed on my official web site at www.nicholasdmurrayart.com.

Your Billie Holiday piece on display at the Lift Every Voice: Black Art Showcase is simply beautiful. How did you get involved with this project?
I heard about the at the Lift Every Voice: Black Art Showcase through a very close friend. As I stated, throughout the past couple of years my art has basically been on the back burner. My friend knows that and understands my longing to pursue and evolve my art, so he gave me the information, which I am glad that he did. I can truly say that this opportunity has sparked a new era in the development of my art, and has opened eyes to what I want and need to do in order to get my name out there.

As a professional artist, do you have any advice for young people wanting to pursue the arts as a career path?
My advice for young people wanting to pursue art is to maintain focus on what they truly want to do. Meaning, if art is your dream, passion, and drive then do it! I have found myself putting my art work on hold and focusing on things that were not that important in life. I know that I love art and creating art, and this is what I essentially need to do in order to truly be happy. Another suggestion is to have a back up plan throughout the pursuit and establishment of a career path in art. I feel that it is always good to have resources to fall back on.

Art is in the eye of the creator. People get caught up in wanting to create art that resembles other artist’s work, and if it does not look a certain way then it is not good in their eyes. I feel that this is a big mistake. Art in my opinion is individualized. It expresses an artist’s emotion and perspective during the time of creation. This is the beauty of art…. It can be what you want it to be, and it is allowed to be different. I guess the main point that I want to make to aspiring young artists is to be yourself, and let your art reflect who you are…. not what you think others want it to be. From there, natural artistic development is inevitable. Good luck!

I would personally like to thank Mr. Murray for taking time to sit down and answer some questions for The J Spot.  Best of luck in all of your future endeavors.  I'm looking foward to seeing what you do next.

If you would like to see some of his art pieces first hand, Nicholas will be exhibiting his art at the Invisible Heroes Black History month program February 21 at  Mt. of Olives Lutheran Church.  If you would like to learn more about Nicholas, please visit his website  http://www.nicholasdmurrayart.com/.

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