Jim Gray Gallery
Jim's creative nature has always guided his life. At sixteen, his first job was not the typical newspaper delivery boy, but as an illustrator for a loan company. Jim created humorous drawings that influenced people to stop and think about the message he was trying to convey. In 1968 Jim was featured in National Geographic magazine. This article led to national coverage in other magazines such as American Artist and Southern Living, as well as raising the public's awareness of the park. In the early 1970's, Carl Sagan, the world famous astronomer, was put in charge of NASA's project of recording the sights and sound of Earth. Two gold-coated recording disks were affixed to the sides of the space probes, Voyager I and II, and launched. Each disk contains 118 photographs of our planet, our civilization and ourselves. One of the photographs featured in the National Geographic article, which showed Jim painting in his home/studio, was selected to be included on these records of Earth. Jim is a member of America's oldest professional art group, The Salmagundi Club, and he is also a member of the prestigious American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA). He served as Vice President of the ASMA for 8 years and sat on the board of directors for an additional 4 years. He has won numerous awards and has been commissioned to do many major works. In 2003 Jim Gray was honored with Tennessee's highest artistic award. The Tennessee Arts Commission presented Jim with the Distinguished Artist Award as a part of the Governor's Awards in the Arts in Nashville, TN. Jim's sculptures have also received high praise. He has completed larger-than-life bronze sculptures of Alex Hailey, President Andrew Johnson and Dolly Parton. There were two castings of the President Andrew Johnson sculpture. One of the sculptures is on display in Johnson's hometown of Greeneville, Tennessee and the other is at the Tennessee State Capitol Building in Nashville. Although Jim receives many requests to do major sculptures, he declines most, preferring to concentrate on his paintings.