Raised in the Clinton Hills area of Brooklyn, N.Y., Byron McCray was very influenced by the culture of Brooklyn and the lineage of artistic men in his family. McCray and his family discovered his talent during a friendly Mickey Mouse drawing competition between him and his brother. It was the rapid progression; from Mickey Mouse to Chubaka, that made his parents nurture their son’s talent. McCray started at Pratt’s children program, eventually graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
In 2006 McCray graduated from FIT with the dream of becoming a children’s book illustrator until the fear and possibility of becoming a “starving artist” directed him to an alternate route. The world of marketing welcomed McCray, and while his skills in sales and project management developed, the calling back to art was a persistent pebble in his shoe. After a year in marketing McCray became grateful for the marketing skills he garnered, because it would allow him to sell himself and his art.
McCray has spent the last six years creating art, largely influenced by music, and working as both a teacher and administrator at the Harlem School of the Arts . It is at HSA that McCray felt inspired to create work not only for himself but also for his students. McCray explained that many of the young artists he teaches are more reserved and he wanted to show them that they can have a voice through their art.
The Remix Collection of mixed medium work represents the journey he took from being influenced by hip-hop and Brooklyn culture, all the way to Harlem, with a rich jazz history. McCray’s work is supported not only by HSA but also fellow Brooklynites, Spike Lee and Jay Z. More of McCray’s work can be found here.