You left us far too soon, but your joy, vision,
and humor will color us forever.
The news of his passing came earlier this week, and it goes without saying that many of us carried a heavy heart around the office that day. Although not an entirely sudden departure, considering his long standing battle with Lymphoma, it will always have been too soon for us to see him go.
Rex Ray, real name Michael Patterson, was born in Germany but eventually came to the states and settled in San Francisco to attend the Art Institute. In fact, San Franciscans are honored to consider him one of their own for both his contributions to Art and Activism. Ray’s iconic work ranges from fine art to collages made entirely by hand, paintings on both resin and canvas, photography, print works, as well as graphic design. Once familiar its impossible not to recognize these abstract, color-filled, playful patterns with mid-century modern influences and psychedelic whimsy as his.
Rex Ray, contemplating one of his more muted and contemporary collages, as his loyal companion Skeeter competes for his attention.
Gallery 16 in San Francisco was the last to represent him, but his works have been seen at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, University Art Museum in Berkeley, San Jose Museum of Modern Art, The Crocker Museum in Sacramento, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, as well as numerous luxury hotels and restaurants around the world. He has created work for Apple, Dreamworks, Sony Music, Warner Brothers, City Lights Publishers, Matador Records, Serpent’s Tail, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, Rizzoli, Powerhouse, Mute Records, and Crown Books. Some of the legendary musicians he produced artwork for include David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Patti Smith, REM, Bjork, U2, and Radiohead.
Here are a few pieces to refresh your visual palette…
As a brand that is design driven, we are internally aware that collaborations are key part of our industry. Through the creation and launch of our incredibly popular Iconic Panels and Infused Veneer, our Creative Director, Kevin McPhee, became pattern obsessed. He couldn’t help but think of Rex Ray, a local artist he long admired, who could easily work in pattern format and was already using a great deal of woodgrain texture is his artwork. It seemed a perfect fit for our first major collaboration, so we met with Rex and his team to discuss.
Upon reviewing our work and what would be his future palette, Ray was on board – literally. In addition to doing a range of Iconic Panels and Infused Veneer, he also wanted to have some fun with us in creating a line of furniture and a limited edition collection of twelve Cordell Surfboards.
Ultimately, we decided to use 3 of Rex Ray’s distinct patterns on each of the four substrates (Iconic Panels, Infused Veneer, Furniture, Surfboards), taking into consideration the ideal scale for repetition within a single piece and working with his most identifiable shapes.
Iconic Panels are an exclusive line of elegant carved relief panels we create that are inspired by important and enduring people, places, and design movements. These decorative panels feature unique patterns and colors that can dramatically enhance interior environments.
Iconic Panels are created using an innovative process of formed laminate over a carved wood core. Incredibly durable , they can be sawn, nailed, screwed, glued, or simply mounted on walls with our special Panel Cleats. Iconic Panels can also be easily outfitted with most of our shelving and accessory hardware, and work especially well with our Puck System.
We chose to Matte White as the backdrop for our Rex Ray for B+N Industries Iconic Panels using his Ellipses, Arches, and Stones patterns. We fell in love with the feeling his typically colorful palettes gave when stripped down to such a minimalist version, giving a strikingly modern feel.
Iconic Panels in Matte White Ellipses pattern
Iconic Panels in Matte White Arches pattern
Iconic Panels in Matte White Stones pattern
Infused Veneer is a revolutionary collection of panels from B+N that infuses imagery and graphics on to various wood species veneers – such as maple, cherry, and walnut. These 48″ x 96″ architectural panels can be used as decorative walls, display walls, in fixtures, and can utilize any of our panel based merchandising product, such as the Puck System.
While creating strong graphic presentation with scale, the warmth of the real wood grain is delicately apparent through the imagery. This imbues the panels with a mellow, dimensional feel. The effect is as if these panels have been part of an interior for years.
The impact of Ray’s patterns on our Infused Veneer came as no surprise to us, and simultaneously remains so fresh, interesting, and relevant as we look back on them now. The saturation of each color, type, and shape seems to offer just the right amount of fun and flavor that even the most conservative amongst us can appreciate.
Infused Veneer in Type and Ovals pattern in Cherry
Infused Veneer in Type and Ovals pattern in Maple
Infused Veneer in Type and Ovals pattern in Walnut
Infused Veneer in Arches and Bumps pattern in Cherry
Infused Veneer in Arches and Bumps pattern in Maple
Infused Veneer in Arches and Bumps pattern in Walnut
Infused Veneer in Ellipses and Waves pattern with closed Credenza in Cherry
Infused Veneer in Ellipses and Waves pattern in Maple
Infused Veneer in Ellipses and Waves pattern in Walnut
The Rex Ray Furniture Collection is made with a combination of Infused Veneer patterns through an entirely different process than our panels, using a low V.O.C. clear coated veneer over a wood core. The collection is constructed with hospitality, retail, and residential quality, furniture making techniques. As seen in the Infused Veneer Collection, we continued to use our patterns on Maple, Cherry, and Walnut.
Many people are unaware of our furniture skills, even though we’ve been playing around with this medium for years (i.e. Iconic Room Furniture). We truly are a full service design company, and love the challenge in creating custom solutions for our projects which include our team’s involvement in every aspect of planning, to designing, sourcing, prototyping, and manufacturing in our factories.
Open and closed Credenza in Ellipses and Waves pattern in Cherry
The Plinth table in Ellipses and Waves pattern in Cherry
The Nesting Table collection in Ellipses and Waves pattern in Cherry
Bench in Ellipses and Waves pattern in Cherry
Cubes in Ellipses and Waves Pattern in Cherry
We enlisted the pros at Cordell Surfboards to hook us up with top of the line professional boards to use as canvases for our twelve piece Limited Edition Collection. Each surfboard is signed by Rex Ray and numbered, and were hand-shaped by Cordell Miller, who is often referred to as one of the best surfer/shapers in the world.
Each surfboard was auctioned off at our event at the Eyebeam in New York, and all sales proceeds were donated to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief to aid those affected by Superstorm Sandy. Here is a sampling of our functional works of art, notice the use again of Maple, Cherry, and Walnut with Ray’s three patterns also seen in the Infused Veneer and Furniture collections.
For those interested in seeing the full collection, you can check it out here.
Limited Edition Performance Longboard in Type and Ovals pattern on Walnut
Limited Edition Performance Surfboard in Ellipses and Waves pattern on Cherry
Limited Edition Performance Longboard in Arches and Bumps pattern on Maple
Limited Edition Performance Shortboard in Big Wave, Semi-Gun, Ellipses, and Waves pattern on Cherry
Limited Edition Surfboard in Big Wave, Semi-Gun, Arches, and Bumps pattern on Walnut
NEW YORK LAUNCH
Once we completed the pieces in our Rex Ray for B+N Industries Collaboration, it was time to enlist the gurus at Mao PR and give our collection a proper launch in true gallery style at The Eyebeam in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood (which has since moved to Brooklyn). Many of you attended our grand soiree and saw first hand how we filled the massive industrial space with all things Rex Ray, including every piece from our collection mixed with rugs, bags, vases, and books by the designer himself.
To date, we consider this one of our most iconic moments as a company. The amount of depth and breadth on display spoke volumes about our company story and creative core, in addition to revealing the possibility that exists within our product lines and their ability to transform a space or be transformed through pattern.
It is this personal and professional journey with Rex Ray that inspired us to want to honor and celebrate him on our blog. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him and experience his creative spirit first hand. Now that spirit lives on in our collaboration. Take a moment to soak up our New York design launch in the visual playground below, and enjoy your chance to smile and appreciate Michael Patterson, the man the world will always know and love as Rex Ray.
In honor of Rex Ray (1953 – 2015)