Mark Ray

Mark was born in Cincinnati Ohio on July 27, 1966. Mark grew up catching bait and fishing the creeks and streams in and around Ohio as a child. Mark, like all kids growing up got grounded for the normal childhood mishaps we all encounter, but Mark put his temporary lack of freedom to good use sketching and painting anything from superhero's to the fish he would catch.

Mark continued to draw and paint throughout his years in grade school, and after serving a four year enlistment in the U. S. Army, Mark became a Police Officer in Charlotte, North Carolina and continued on to serve with the PB county, Florida, sheriffs department for 12 years.

It was while Mark and his family lived in Palm Beach County that Mark started fishing the game fish rich waters off the coast of Florida. Mark would come home from fishing trips and do sketches of the beautiful saltwater fish that he had encountered. "The saltwater and fish that inhabited the waters intrigued me to the point that I wanted to put their images on paper and canvas to enjoy."

Although Mark has never had any formal art classes, he contributes his artist ability to diligent hours of practice and a very patient and talented high school art teacher.

Currently, Mark resides in South Carolina with his wife and two boys. Mark recently retired from police work and is pursuing his artwork full time.

 
 
Story Behind Each Design:
 

Marlin Fishing T-Shirt

Lift Off

In my never ending quest to find that different angle or shot of a gamefish to use in my paintings I constantly tell my friends and fellow fisherman that if they get a good piece of film of a fish to send it to me and if I use it in a painting I will send them a print of the painting.

This is exactly what happened in the situation of my painting titled "Lift Off". A fellow fisherman remembered me telling him about looking for some good shots of the fish. While he was fishing in Costa Rica they were hooked up with a nice Blue Marlin and as the fish cleared the water in it's valient attempt to throw the hook it turned and looked directly in the direction of the camera resulting in an awesome but blurry picture. After a few days I came up with the painting titled "Lift Off" nothing fancy, just a fish out of water you might say.

 

Mahi ShirtEl Torro

While I'm traveling to tournaments or boat shows I always carry my paints and canvas's with me. One night after the 2007 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show I was sketching in my hotel room, listening to Buffet and enjoying the company of a six pack of Corona's of which 4 of the 6 had already been emptied. I grabbed a small 15 x 30 canvas and with out much concern for detail decided to paint something colorful and maybe a little different . I don't know if the Corona's had all that much to do with it but the dolphin painting which has since been named "El Torro" that resulted somehow ended up on the back of an Old Harbor Outfitters t-shirt which is a pretty cool thing I think!

 

Tuna ShirtMad Yellowfin

After a day of fishing offshore Fort Lauderdale Florida I was cleaning out the fish cooler and sat one of my Yellowfin Tuna catches on top of 5 gallon bucket. 

I had sat the fish belly side down so it looked as if it were swimming over the bucket. As I bent down to get another fish out of the cooler I glanced over at the Tuna on the bucket, it had that grumpy I'll kick your @&#* look on it's face. I thought that that particular head on coming at you shot would be neat in one of my marine paintings.

About a month later I finished my painting titled "Work'n the Crowd" which included this tuna amongst a school of yellowfin running from a hungry blue marlin. I received so many comments about that one mad looking tuna I decided to paint him as the main subject in another painting titled "Yellowfin" which you are now viewing on one of my Old Harbor Outfitters t-shirt designs.
 
To learn more about Mark Ray and his art, visit his website markraystudio.com