Self-Taught Art • Contemporary Folk Art • Outsider Art
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Born December 26, 1972 in Alabama
Ray Bellew never expected to become an artist but he had a grandmother and uncle who were painters. He loved to draw when he was young but he never had any art lessons. Drawing was something that he could do easily when many other things puzzled him. He had a difficult time learning in school and was punished for making poor grades. He began welding at the age of 16 when he had some experience with it in a high school class. He worked hard to perfect the skill. This eventually became an occupation for him.
In 2007, while he was welding on an assembly line at a manufacturing plant, he had a visionary experience that changed his life. He saw clearly in the metal in front of him, Jesus on a cross. He went home that evening and created exactly what he had seen that day in his vision. He felt this was God’s answer to his search for a purpose for his life and then he took seriously creating various objects with found metals. For a long time, he kept his creations to himself but eventually someone saw something he had made and asked to purchase it. Little by little, his works of art became sought after. He has won numerous prizes and has achieved significant local recognition.
Ray works only with discarded metal pieces and intuitively combines them into animals, musical instruments, machines and people. Sometimes he just enjoys the shapes and angles of something without intending it to be anything in particular. He feels that his ability to create amazing art from what has been thrown away, is a gift from God. He is determined to make the best of it, working tirelessly in the heat of summer to form his visions into metal works of art everyday.