Jim Gray is a special kind of artist. He is first and foremost an American adventurer, who records his experiences, not with the camera or a tape recorder, but with the canvas. For over fifty years, he has allowed us to join him on his adventures through his paintings.
Jim's first job was not the typical grocery store stocker or newspaper delivery boy, but an illustrator for a loan company. His good-natured humorous drawings drew in the customers.
During the Korean War, Jim was an electronics instructor and later a technical illustrator in the Air Force. Afterward he moved back to Mobile, Alabama, where he worked at an illustrator for an ad agency. In 1962, he and two partners opened their own ad agency.
In 1966, Jim and his family visited the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee and it was a life changing experience. He moved to Tennessee, leaving behind a very successful business, allowing his creative spirit to explore and paint the beautiful countryside surrounding the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
In 1968, Jim was featured in National Geographic, and the writer from NG was taken with Jim's enthusiasm and immense talent. This article led to nationwide coverage in other magazines like American Artist and Southern Living.
When Carl Sagan was picking photos to be included on CD for the Voyager I and II missions, he chose one of Jim in his studio, painting a scene from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.