Ray is a Cree/Metis artist who was born and raised in the foothills of Alberta and who has family roots on the Sucker River Reserve north of Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
Art has been an integral part of Keighley’s life since early childhood and in 1988 he graduated with a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan. He now lives and works in Warman, Sask.
Keighley’s work varies from realism to a more abstract, conceptual practice. He has extensive experience as a painter and printmaker. Besides smaller works, Ray enjoys working on murals. Native content often gives an added creative energy to Keighley’s art objects, reflecting the artist’s balance between his ethnic origins, his life and work.
As a practicing artist, I really do not think of inspiration in its formal sense. The world, God’s Creation, includes; sky, water, landscape, plants, birds, animals and people. They are sources of inspiration for me. I believe that all people were created in God’s image and that seed deep in our being inspires us to create works of art and marvelous things in life which reflect who we are culturally and spiritually. All humans are created to glorify God, whether we know it or not.
I happen to be of Aboriginal ancestry, so much of my art reflects that part of me. I am a Christian so those themes show up in my artwork. I am always working out my experiences through the filters of my personality and art talent, which I believe is God-given. I am by no means perfect or have achieved perfection. That is not as important to me then making art that interests me and my patrons.
For some artists, there are spiritual, ethical, political and social inspirations both negative and positive that motivate them and their art. That is not my primary interest, though on occasion I will find inspiration there. Wildlife and nature inspire me. Using people as inspiration for artwork interests me also but it is hard to get people that will be the subject matter for an artist to paint and create artworks.
When I am really connected to that creative energy, I sense that I am just the vehicle by which this artwork is coming out. I am just there for the ride because when I look at what I’ve done I am the most surprised that, I did that! and I am the most grateful for that experience. I thank the Lord for those times and this gift.