We had the good fortune of connecting with Sterling O’Ray and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sterling, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
The beauty of risk taking is the experience given at the end. Life is all about taking risks. Often throwing ourselves into the deep end of the shark tank is what will push us to decide whether we are going to sink or swim. We question if the decision we are making in the moment is worth the reward. What if it doesn’t come true? Ah, but what if it does. This is the mindset I tackled as a young artist finding myself. Which included being 862 miles away from home in a state I only visited once. It was risky only I knew in order to grow, I had to place myself in uncomfortable situations. In order to pursue my dream of becoming a concept artist, I learned the important lesson of adapting outside of my comfort zone. I often think about had I never attended National Portfolio Day in Mesa I would have never received a perfect score on my portfolio. Without that perfect score I would have never taken my scholarship to the next level. Attended on campus with other fellow artists and expanded my skill set. The pandemic led me to becoming an art college dropout. People told me I should have a backup plan. I never needed one. To what I thought was the end became the very beginning. I had been drawing for as long as I can remember, and my heart was set on nothing less than to share my talent with the world. I switched my major entirely to film, and that risk taking opened a brand-new door to endless opportunity. I began displaying my art inspiring new audiences in the media as well as finally transforming into a concept artist for a fresh upcoming wine label. While I may not have the degree labeling an illustrator, the essence of taking risks has become part of my existence and will be for many years to come.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a surrealist, starting my artistic journey since the moment I was born, the desire to create fine, fascinating art that I attained soon became an unyielding obligation to myself to explore the inner mechanism of my creative consciousness. From small ink sketches to large scale projects such as “Garden Party”, my art is a highly-personal reflection of myself. I’ve been lucky enough to have participated in many award winning opportunities including the 2019 Congressional Art competition, as well as exhibiting in local coffee shops such as Elevate, which has solidified my reputation in the art world. As an inspiring concept artist, I see myself working with prestigious film companies some day.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many beautiful and unique locations out in the valley. One in particular I visited over spring break was the historical Jerome Grand Hotel located between the Cleopatra hills. The ambience of what once used to be a ghost town screams blast from the past. Not only is the food really great (specifically any meal at the Haunted Hamburger restaurant), the sunsets are absolutely gorgeous in hues of bright pink and orange. There is lots to see an do including historic mines and several Arizona art galleries. Closer to home is Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale surrounded by big, beautiful palms rich in orchards and lots of wild peacocks. It is great spot for either a picnic photo opportunity or to get in touch with nature.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am so grateful for all the walks of life I have had the pleasure of meeting and guiding me throughout this much anticipated journey to becoming the artist I was always meant to be. First and foremost, I would like to thank my creator, God, not only for his goodness but the many gifts, opportunities, and blessings he continues to fulfill daily. Special shoutout to the efforts given from my loving parents for always supporting my dreams for as long as I can remember, and endeavors no matter the struggle. Also, cannot forget my mentors & inspiration, art teachers Dena Davis and Jason Lohmeier for preparing me for all I know about the art world nevertheless challenging me to always rise higher.

Website: https://smoratemp.wixsite.com/smoart

Instagram: @sterlingsmoart and @silverlingg

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sterling-o%E2%80%99ray-0741921b1/

Image Credits
Images are mine, and from my website/socialmedia @sterlingsmoart

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.