Van Ray portrait - Image Copyright Van Ray

Van Ray

Germany 1984

Urban Art, Street Art

Van Ray
Van Ray
July 11, 2014
Nina Karaicic is a journalist with experience in TV and radio media. Born in 1989, she had studied at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences (Journalism). Interests: Photography, Art, Film, Folklore, Video Games

Van Ray is a German street artist, one of the most famous members of a young German artists’ guard who have taken their first steps on the artistic road. His art, mostly characterized as street or urban art, makes use of various stencil techniques on vintage materials.

Van Ray: from profane graffiti to a “fancyroom”

Van Ray’s career began with public graffiti at the end of the 90s when he started using his art to communicate with the general public and to demonstrate social criticism. His works were based on various techniques (including stencils, stickers, paste-ups, and sculptures) and meant to express his view of Western society. He started as a teen, by doing profane graffiti. During the day, he used to perpetuate his work on the walls of the former slaughterhouse. Eventually, Van Ray wanted to use the graffiti as a means of communication. The mid-2000s he took art classes because he had realized that his craftsmanship armor – like drawing and painting – was missing. For him, art is a craft that you can definitely learn.

Van Ray was born in 1984 in Düsseldorf, and he grew up under the influence of the Parisian “Pochoir Movement” during the 80s. As a result of this early force of this kind of art, which prevalent implicates art as an expression of social criticism in public, he began to express his own view of society with the help of graffiti. Due to personal maturation and developed abilities to deal with ubiquitous social and political problems of the Western society, Van Ray broadened his artistic on-hand skills by redeveloping methods like using stencils, stickers, paste-ups and sculptures. This incremental development is also reflected in his public work.

Van Ray - Open Your Mind
Van Ray – Open Your Mind

As a result of a personal wrap in 2007, accompanied by a movement to Cologne, Van Ray took this opportunity to establish the artist collaboration “fancyroom” which could be seen as an elaborate try to create a symbiosis of design and street art. The results were used by several textile manufactures as part of their products. Van Ray started simultaneously to offer general public access to mainly printed work by exhibitions. The collaboration dissolved in 2010.

Van Ray’s duck signature symbol

Nowadays, Van Ray’s work reflect a fusion of street art, pop art and qualified nonsense, retaining the basic elements of his distinctive artistic style without losing sight of his intended social criticism. His work is characterized by its detailed stencils on mostly rusty vintage materials such as iron sheets, vending machines and enamel signs or wooden slats. On the relationship between art and protest, Van Ray commented:
“Rebellion does not derive from the use of a certain technique, but rather from the color of your tie.”
His works are all signed with the “duck signature symbol”.

Van Ray - The Thinker - Copyright Van Ray
Van Ray – The Thinker

These arrangements can be contemplated in galleries from Cologne over Rome to Shanghai. He is represented by 30works Galerie in Köln, and Galerie Hegemann in München, Germany.

Van Ray currently lives and works in Cologne, Germany.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015What If It’s All A Lie?30works Galerie, KölnSolo
2015Urban Beauty Show Urban Art Gallery, StuttgartGroup
2015STREETART – STEALING GRAFFITI IS A CRIMEGalerie Kellermann, DüsseldorfGroup
2014Pure Pop Art30Works Gallery, CologneGroup
2014KuFa’s Urban Art FestivalLuxembourgGroup
2014Fuck You30Works Gallery, CologneSolo
2014Biserama, BTOY, El Bocho, van RayGalerie Hegemann, MunichGroup
2014Street ArtGalerie am Dom, Kulturamt Wetzlar, Wetzlar Group
2013Pure Pop Art 230Works Gallery, CologneGroup
2013Van RayGalerie Wagner+Marks, FrankfurtSolo
2013Dirty Works # 0430Works Gallery, CologneGroup
2013Springtime30works - 30works GmbH, CologneGroup
2012Pure Pop Art30Works Gallery, CologneGroup
2012Bubble Up30Works Gallery, CologneGroup
2012To wild to dieGallery Alexandra Grass, Bielefeld, GermanyGroup
2012Dirty Works # 03ATM Gallery Berlin, BerlinGroup
2011City Leaks30Works Gallery, CologneGroup
2011Finissage Robin Van Arsdol30Works Gallery, CologneGroup
2011Group showPlumgallery, ShanghaiGroup
2011Dirty Works # 0230Works Gallery, CologneGroup