This post is written with a heavy heart. Ray Ferrer, an artist who I know and am a fan of, passed away from a brain tumor on May 20th. A cancer tumor that appeared almost out of nowhere and quickly took his life a few months later. Though we had a healthy social media and artisan relationship for years, we never got to "meet". About two years ago, Ray and I almost met in person when he was commissioned to paint the piano for the band Third Day while they were playing the Beacon in NYC.
See, Third Day bassist Tai Anderson was also a fan of Ray's work and had convinced the band to let him spruce up the old piano they roll out for some songs. Now this thing is well used and a road warrior. In fact, it even traveled without an actual road-case (though I am sure they have one for it now). I was super excited when I found out Ray would be painting the piano for this special show. Unfortunately, due to schedule, I missed him by 15 minutes.
Ray and I stayed in touch. I made hats for his daughter. He created the perfect Audrey Hepburn piece for my studio for my birthday. We had an artisan relationship. It was a bond and respect of two people who changed course and chased a dream.
Life is precious. It feels so cliche to be typing those words right now. Because life was not wasted by Ray. He wasn't one of those who sat comfortably and took it for granted. As he said, he traded in his MBA for a can of spray paint. That is living.
And when he was diagnosed with his tumor, he faced the challenge with more courage than I could have. I know that.
He painted through the pain. He shared his journey and used his art to raise money to cover his medical costs. But within 5 months he was gone.
My prayers are with his wife Rhian and his daughter. The legacy of art, living every minute to the fullest and kindness that Ray leaves behind is a gift to all who knew him.
RIP Ray. I know he is decorating the walls of heaven