William Denton Ray: Shapeshifting

WELCOME to the Indy Arts Studio Series, where you will find behind-the-scenes information such as raw footage from conversations with featured artists, artwork development, artist bios, the show at-a-glance, and other details on the opening of their exhibition in Gallery 924 at the Arts Council.

Meet our September Featured Artist:

William Denton Ray was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1974. Ray is a mixed media painter and illustrator who draws inspiration from a variety of sources including Basquiat, Picasso, Miro, graffiti, skateboard graphics and music. In 1992, William received a scholarship from the Columbus College of Art and Design where he focused on advertising design. He later transferred to the Herron School of Art and Design where he concentrated on painting and drawing. He has had solo shows in Indianapolis and Boston as well as numerous group exhibitions throughout the country. William was a 2009 Stutz Residency Award Winner and has been involved in public art projects within Indianapolis. His artwork has been collected throughout the United States and throughout the world including France, Australia and Canada.

William enjoys spending time with his family, listening to music and making art daily. He creates his work at his home studio as well as in his studio at the Harrison Center for the Arts

New Solo Exhibition:
William Denton Ray: Shapeshifting
Gallery 924
September 4 – 25, 2015

Ray is well-known for his whimsical characters painted in bold, sometimes garish colors on everything from beer bottles to cardboard boxes and wood panels. In his new work, Ray has taken his recognizable characters and elevated them to another level through abstraction and a more subdued and neutral color palette. He has deconstructed the faces and reconstructed them into forms and shapes that have a decidedly more refined feel. He describes Shapeshifting as his new process of simplifying and abstracting his quintessential characters to the point of pareidolia – a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none actually exist. Through this new work, he hopes to explore this transformation by which his familiar characters take on new life.


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Pareidolia in the news!

 How did the idea of pareidolia inspire this work?


 “It’s part of my process…trying to give a person that stimuli….something to look at that they might perceive as something else.”

 Whimsical characters are a staple in your work. How does your use of characters in this new exhibition differ from your original work?


How do you incorporate titles into your work? How do you hope viewers will respond to them?


 For More Information:

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Gallery 924 is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Thursdays from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.