Gallery Artists > Ray Vinella Biography :

Ray Vinella (1933 - 2019)  Artworks >>

Famed Taos artist Ray Vinella, known as one of the "Taos Six," has died according to his son Tony Vinella who announced it via social media. Tony Vinella said his father died at 5:30 a.m. Sunday (Feb. 3). "I want it to come from me first. Prayers all around," he wrote in a post. Ray Vinella's passing quickly spread among the Taos art community, eliciting expressions of condolence and memories of times he worked with and taught many fine artists working here today. He was also well known as a good friend and colleague. Born in Bari, Italy, Vinella came to the U.S. at age 2 in 1935, according to an online bio. He was raised in New York’s Lower East Side and joined the Air Force at age 17 during the Korean War. He attended the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, majoring in illustration. He later got a job in Pittsburgh as an industrial illustrator and then in California for Lockheed and Disney Productions (working on the classic film Mary Poppins). Inspired by a Fechin exhibit, he quit illustration and moved to Taos in 1969, the bio continues. Vinella’s first home/studio in Taos was the historic Martinez Hacienda on Lower Ranchitos Road. A gallery managed by Tommy Lewis carried his work, and he helped form the Taos Six with Walt Gonske, Ron Barsano, Julian Robles, Robert Daughters and Rod Goebel. This group helped to revitalize the Taos market and bring it to an entirely new generation of art collectors. "What can you say about a raucous kid from Little Italy who escaped from the ghetto and wound up painting fall aspen trees and rabbit brush blooming on the outskirts of Taos, New Mexico," wrote Milagro Beanfield War, author John Nichols in the foreword to Vinella's 2006 book, Vinella. "Me, I'm not an art critic, I look at paintings I don't describe them. But I've spent my life looking at a great many paintings wherever I could find them, and sometimes those paintings have touched a nerve and become a permanent part of my relationship to the places and people of this planet that I venerate. Ray's work does that to me." Source

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