Getting to know Toby Ray

August 22, 2016

A couple of weeks ago I found out more about know Sonic Editions and their photographic prints, for something completely different I’ve had the opportunity to get know Toby Ray and his stunning mixed media paintings…

Your style is so distinctive, how did that develop?

I’ve always loved working in mixed media. After painting many seascapes purely in oil or acrylic I decided to paint on a few old maps I had lying around. I loved the graphic element of the maps mixed with paint brush strokes and marks.

What is about the Cornish coast that inspires you?

I love how the landscape changes as you make your way round the coast. From the slate cliffs of north Cornwall to the hard granite down in the far west. From the lush sandy beaches to the estuaries and little coves and harbours on the south coast. So much diversity.

Toby Ray, mixed media paintings

Which other artists do you admire?

I’m heavily influenced by the seascapes of Turner and the impressionist works of Claude Monet, but equally so, I also love the work of pop artists such as Andy Warhol and Tom Wesslemann which is perhaps a strange juxtaposition of influencers. My degree dissertation was entitled ‘New York Pop-Related Art’ and celebrated the work of those that influence me such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, and they still heavily influence me today. I’m also inspired by and love the work of surf photographers such as Chris Burkard and Zak Noyle- the beauty of a clean wave (whether in a photo or when I’m riding it myself) never fails to inspire my brush!

What one piece of advice would you give your younger artists just starting their careers?

As long as you love what you’re making, you will succeed. Visit London and explore the galleries- look at the old masters and immerse youself in everything creative. Look at contemporary artwork, old artwork, all artwork, artwork artwork artwork… Find it, study it, enjoy it, want it. Be thirsty for the inspiration and the inspiration will find you.

A few weeks I wrote about the Coastal trend, and Toby’s paintings would be a perfect edition for any room looking to replicate a day at the British seaside. You can see more of his paintings at