Steve Fray



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In balance with my commercial work I produce figurative fine art for my own enjoyment and work hard to explore and nurture the abstract concepts that have always interested me deeply.
Figurative life drawing with charcoal is a particular focus of interest as it also adds constraining factors of time, composition control and measurement. Working with what is effectively a burnt stick that responds to every movement and the slightest pressure. Coupled with the inherent weaknesses in the material that cause it to break and splinter adds to the experience.
My interest in life drawing lead to my great interest in drawing and painting horses. Whilst it is not so easy to have permanent access to a life model and studio space there are many horse owners and stables that have a great interest in art too.
I find oil paint a fantastic material to work with and will work on a number of pieces at once as the paint remains malleable. The opportunity for both expressive effect and solid colour exists and makes the material versatile in its natural form.
The nature of oil paint allows for sketching too and bridges the gap between realism and abstraction. A sweep of the hand or rag can transform. Similar to using charcoal I enjoy the raw nature of the material and am inspired to think of the old masters at work with similar materials.
I believe the potential for Art is in everything around us as is the opportunity to modify a shape, a material or pattern to discover something that "works". My earliest memories from infancy are of creating compelling patterns in water, sand and of course food!
My abstract work is broadly speaking in two veins. Abstraction of a figurative subject through manipulation of pattern, colour, shape or contextual reference.
Abstraction as an iterative process where no underlying subject is present however the focus is on the medium and the painting process itself.
I take an iterative or "series" approach to work on a large quantity of panels to explore to discover and "tease" out the results I am aiming for. Often a random or unexpected feature is created allowing the series to split and diversify.

This approach effectively slows down the effect of chaos and identify those moments where
something unique is created. Allowing a chance discovery to be nurtured and built upon.
Simply put though it is the drive to continually create art that I find compelling and that engages the viewer.


Steve Fray studied at Jacob Kramer College of Art in Leeds and Central School of Art & Design in London. Steve is married with four children and lives with his family in Grangemouth, Scotland, UK.