Ray Lucas Artist Statement


Artist’s Statement - Roots of Inspiration – Raymond W. Lucas

        Music has always been in my life. I have never lived in a home without a piano as part of the living room landscape along with a host of some misguided
family members convinced of their own respectable voice and instrumental musical talent. Music was always equivalent to joy whether experienced through
the humming and singing of my relatives around the house, or through the radio, or via records on the stereo. Music is like a bright light for me. And, although
I saw jazz as a child as a more subdued blue light, I learned very early that Jazz was something very special. Jazz records were always in a special pile, and
it was simply understood that there would be hell to pay if the surface of one of these treasured records got damaged or scratched.
        This thing called Jazz music also stirred something in my parents that was very different and I got use to the sequence of events that led to their periodic
transformation. My mother or father (usually my mother) would carefully remove the records from the album covers and sleeves and gently stack them on the
shiny metal rod in the center of the turntable. And by the time that the first record hit the turntable platter, my parents, either individually, or together, were
sitting on the couch, heads back, with a lit cigarette holstered in the ashtray waiting for the soothing sound of Coleman Hawkin’s breath latent tenor sax or
unpredictable harmonic shock of a Count Basie opening.
         Jazz listening was sometimes accompanied with alcohol – usually scotch or a beer. This seemed appropriate since many of the musicians on
the album  covers looked as if they were doing the same. I especially remember a Coleman Hawkins album and noted how much more relaxed he looked
than Nat King  Cole or other more mainstream musicians on their albums. The blue tint effect of the black and white picture along with Coleman’s casual and
somewhat disheveled look just said “Cool.” Another favorite was their “Big Beat on the Organ” album by Jimmy Smith. I must have been about 6 or 7 at the
time and my brother had to explain the metaphor from the picture of a huge red beet lying on the keyboard of an organ. Now that was really cool.
        Jazz was one of the bright joys in my parent’s lives that helped them decompress from the dull, dim darkness of oppression and racism that they faced
everyday while they struggled to carve out a good life for their family. And, it should be no surprise that I have been walking into the light of jazz some part of
my entire life through listening, performing and capturing the images that represent those joyful moments of freedom that I watched my parents cherish and
enjoy so much to help them deal with the “dark side” of being “Black in America.” My photographs convey only a mere portion of what I felt when the image
was captured. What is missing is the music produced by the subject, in that space, in that moment in time, never to be heard again the same way. I want to
make people feel the music through that one instant from the musician’s expression and body language. I want people to experience the joy and freedom that

these musicians feel through their expression of music.

© Copyright 2008 Raymond W. Lucas