Ray Sumser

Art Teacher/Mentor

Ray is a lifelong artist and learner. At the age of five he began learning to draw by replicating his favorite cartoon, comic book and video game characters. He spent his childhood hiking the hills of Marin Country and daydreaming on paper. Feeling limited by his reputation as ‘class artist’ in high school, he branched out into activities like Student Council, Theatre, Mock Trial and Water Polo. As high school ended and college approached, he was called to return to his passion for the arts. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design where he received a double major from the Painting and Film/Animation/Video departments. He also received an academic concentration in Belief Systems and was a participant in and then facilitator of the Male Sexuality Workshop at Brown University.

After college he moved to Santa Cruz, CA to become a founding resident at the ArtSpace Tannery Lofts, a revolutionary arts campus of over 100 live/work subsidized art studios. During his time in residence, he curated numerous gallery shows, helped to organize the Resident’s Association and completed his first major work “The Comicosm” a nine by six foot oil painting of over 1,500 recognizable pop culture icons. During that same time he began learning to play the ukulele and had the profound experience of learning a new craft from scratch as an adult. The experience of conscious learning has had a long lasting impact on his outlook.

In 2012, Ray moved to New York City’s East Village, where he spent five years as a full time artist, creating in his loft space and selling his work in public parks under New York’s Expressive Matter Vendor system. In New York he began attending music classes taught by Michael Daves, a musical hero of his. Daves’s intuitive teaching approach and the inclusive Bluegrass Jam environment he created fuelled Ray’s enthusiasm for music, learning and community.

Returning to California, Ray has opened his painting studio in Larkspur and spends his free time hiking, reading, and snuggling his cat JFK. He is a member of San Francisco’s ALLCAPS sketch comedy group and takes classes in Stand Up Comedy, Mandolin and Yoga. He is incredibly excited to share his art with students.

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