Artist: Ja’Rie Gray
Exhibition: My Complexion
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Werby Gallery
Instagram: Does not have one
Talking to Ja’Rie was a really enlightening moment just like talking to the last artist, Kimberly Morris. Kimberly told me about Ja’Rie and I knew she was someone I wanted to talk to as well.
Ja’Rie is from South Central LA, who moved to Long Beach to pursue a her college career and getting a BFA in Painting and Drawing at Laguna College Art and Design and now getting an MFA in Drawing at California State University, Long Beach. She is also a professor at CSULB as an art professor. Ja’Rie has been drawing since the age of 5 years old and has always enjoyed drawing and creating new pieces with her dad. In middle school and high school is where she realized that she was good at drawing and painting, this encouraged her to pursue a career in drawing. She enjoys being a professor and she loves the new ideas her students come up with. As an artist she wants her concepts to be something that is about what the artist during the Harlem Renaissance ages where there designs and pieces were about their social problems, injustice in society, and their culture.
Ja’Rie plays with sketching and the color palette. She uses the facial expressions of young women and she uses realistic objects within her paintings so the view can relate to the purpose and the everyday life of the typical American or some would say “black”. She plays with lines and the scaling of her pieces that helps the audience understand the story and notice the simple things that can make a big difference that many make a big deal actually. The color of complexion makes up a person and their ways in traditional cultural things.
Living in a world where color and your name can be simply judged is heart breaking and this is thing that she conveys in her pieces. She illustrates the difference that race brings to the world by drawing herself in each complexion. She is touching upon the topic of beauty being within every shape, form, or passion. The truth that society needs to be exposed, the hurt and racism needs to be exposed for what it truly is and that what she plans to secure before she leaves.
Ja’Rie was a great person to talk to and helped me open my mind to a new way of thinking about others and stopping myself from judging someone by the way they dress or the way the communicate or act. This is a big step to helping the community and making a big change within the community.