Ray Rolston is one of Florida’s top artists. Ray was born in British Guyana, but immigrated as an adult to New York in 1969. He is a graduate of Queens College and holds a Master’s degree in English Literature.
A born naturalist, he grew up in a country with impressive sunsets and always summer-like weather, where he began to paint from an early age showing great interest to the unique colors of the tropics. After two decades of stay in New York, he moved to the Florida Keys and specifically to Key West, the southernmost island of the United States. This island, closer to Cuba than to mainland USA, is known for its free lifestyle, the friendliness of its inhabitants, its beautiful sunsets and the number of famous people who have lived there, such as Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Jimmy Buffett and President Truman.
Key West, surrounded by the turquoise waters of Mexican Bay in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east, became his home and it was the perfect setting for the creative mind of a free-thinking artist. Exotic houses, lush vegetation, and the beautiful semi-tropical environment are Ray’s favorite themes. Many tourists visiting the island (more than four million a year) are impressed by Ray’s creations, buy his unique works and help so that his art becomes known to the whole world, making him perhaps the most popular Florida Keys painter. Ray himself also travels around the globe, looking for new experiences while he gets inspired by different cultures and settings.
I met Ray Rolston in one of my trips to Key West and since then we have been friends. He knew of Ancient Greece, but he also wanted to learn about modern Greece and I would say that he was impressed by the beauties of our homeland. Most of all, Ray was thrilled and inspired by the landscape of Epirus, mainly Preveza. He especially liked the colors and created paintings inspired by photographs we sent him. He proudly informs his clients that for some paintings the original idea came from Greece, and we think that this gives value to his creations, while at the same time he makes Preveza and Greece known to the world.
Some of Ray’s paintings are in my possession and I am proud of that. However, I am more proud of him honoring our friendship and respecting the place where I come from. I will tell you something else – one afternoon after the Sunset Celebration in Key West, this multi-dimensional man surprised me and my son by constantly talking about the life and work of Nobel Prize Winner Physicist Enrico Fermi.
We hope Ray Rolston will soon visit our area. We would love to show him not only the coasts of Preveza and Parga, but also our beautiful continental parts such as the unique Syrrako village and Kalarites, the impressive Zagorohoria, the beautiful town of Ioannina and its lake. I am just curious to see how he will portray them in his works. I cannot wait…
You can check out Ray Rolston's digital gallery at: www.rayrolston.com