Meet Our Muse: Byron McCray!
Byron McCray is an incredibly talented artist who inspires us with his art and his spirit. Art gives Byron the courage to stand in the spotlight and we’re so glad for that! Read on to learn more about how Byron came to be a muse who now inspires us and everyone he meets!
mymuse: Please share how you discovered your love and talent for painting.
Byron: I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. It runs in my family; all of the men possessed artistic abilities so I gravitated towards it at an early age, taking my first classes at age 4. It was something that I could do and would do for the majority of the day, lost for hours quietly drawing and studying the world around me.
you work across many mediums and have an impressive array of work! can you share your journey as an artist?
I’ve always been fascinated by color and the way art allowed me to bottle a moment in time by recreating it with pencils, collage and paint. Finding my own voice in my art has been a journey.
While attending art schools, I was exposed to the techniques of the Masters, from DaVinci to Rodin. Once I earned my BFA, it was about continued self-education. I discovered the underground world of live painting, and art battles which taught me how to entertain audiences while I created a piece from start to finish in just a few hours.
I’m not brave enough to be a performer, but art gives me that courage to stand in the spotlight.
what do you need in order to create?
I’ve painted with every type of distraction that the city has to offer; sirens, blaring speakers in clubs, crowds in bars and audiences at live events. As long as there is music playing, I can find a zone to focus on the piece in front of me.
what work do you most enjoy doing?
As an illustrator, I enjoy capturing moments that can be taken for granted. My subway series invited people to stop and take a closer look at street performers, subway car break-dancers, paint bucket drummers and future entrepreneurs selling candy. Taking a closer look, the backgrounds use collage of torn subway maps, showing love for my hometown of New York City.
what are your favorite subjects to paint or create around?
I consider myself a Music Artist who doesn’t sing. I love to paint public figures, predominantly musicians. Behind the realism of the acrylic painted portraiture, I incorporate collage that tells a deeper story about the person’s life. As an illustrator and performer, you often have one chance to captivate someone’s attention. My mission is to make a moment that can be heard.
what are you most excited about right now?
I wrote and illustrated my first children’s book in 2019. I am excited about the next phase of my artwork which is moving into illustrating more untold stories and sharing my own stories visually.
what are some sources of inspiration for your art/what inspires your art?
Music plays a major part in my art. It’s where I feel most inspired, listening to each of the stories within the songs, I explore lives outside of my own experiences.
who is your muse, or some of your muses?
My muses are my mother and my aunt, two encouraging angels who watch over everything I do in heaven. They nurtured my artistry and I carry them in my every decision I make artistically.
finish this sentence: the world would be a better place if there was/were more_____
… BLANK CANVASES. There’s nothing more exciting than creating something that didn’t exist in the world before you touched it. We all have the opportunity to add beauty into the world, we just need the space.
what would you like our community to know about you?
Art has opened up so many other doors allowing me to explore dimensions of myself that I never imagined would be in my story. I’ve learned from art that there are no boundaries to what can be accomplished. If you love it, do it. If you can’t find it, create it. The best is yet to come!
where can we learn more about you?
editor’s note: Byron is too humble to plug his podcast, but he’s also a Podcast Professor at 90’s R&B University. If you’re looking for an amazing soundtrack to just about anything, we highly recommend you check it out!