Artist Talk: Lynn Grayson on the Math of Life and Art

Lynn Grayson

Lynn Grayson is a versatile artist who delves into the fundamental principles of nature and human existence, and the recurring patterns of life that are present at both the cosmic and personal level. Fine Art Shippers had the opportunity to interview Lynn and discuss the ideas and inspiration behind her artwork.

Artist Talk: Lynn Grayson on the Math of Life and Art

What are your earliest memories and influences that led you to become an artist?

Lynn Grayson: The first time I ever painted in preschool. The teacher had a bunch of cups with finger paints, and I didn’t know what they were. She said choose your favorite color. I chose blue. I have a photographic memory of this experience due to how it affected my life. I took the cup of paint, walked up to the easel and made a big blue spiral on the paper. I remember noticing how I could achieve different shading with one color based on my hand pressure while applying the paint. It reminded me of galaxies. 

I’m from a strange town where kids were experimented on with last life nonsense. I was given memories of galaxies in them. So it reminded me of home before I existed in such a messed up world. But regardless, I loved the color and beauty. That moment of realizing I could create such beauty with just one color was the basis of my painting career. Each painting I have ever done since that first painting in preschool is my attempt to recreate the soft colors that exist ethereal, in space and outside our basic color spectrum. All of my work in life is based on that painting. Consciously ever since.

Please tell us about your artistic style and how it has evolved over the years.

My style has always been the same as I stated in the question above. A search for color, an expansion of what color the eye can see, and an exploration of math and beauty that is life.

Art by Lynn Grayson

What influences or inspirations are important to your work?

Nature is the most common inspiration. From galaxies to earth. I like math. In 2003, I was walking past the MoMA gift shop in Soho and they were selling old master artist umbrellas. I thought about how artists who die can’t choose to who they leave their royalties and how much money people make off of their work for centuries, and what power it has to influence society. I decided to make my own umbrellas and even went so far as to seek advice on obtaining rights of price increases upon the resale of my work as I grew or after I’m gone. I want to protect people and help the planet, so I wanted more of those royalties going to charities and my family long after I’m gone. 

The next inspiration happened in Los Angeles. I moved out to Malibu from New York City in 2008 to retire. I figured I had enough for royalties and a solid client and gallery representative base. One day I signed up to work on a TV show as an extra, just to see what film was about. I never watched much TV but as Hollywood held a big influence on the town, I thought I would go see what the art was like in film. I was deeply inspired. The energy was electric. Literally, even the lights went off. I was instantly enamored. I fell in love with the people and deemed them paint that could walk, talk and move around. I started as a film extra and worked my way up to becoming a producer. 

Your art often incorporates elements of nature and the human form, what is the significance of these themes in your work?

I believe I answered these questions in the above. However, I will say it again so I’m clear. My work always incorporates nature due to my deep love of science, color, and the relativity of what life is.  Whenever I find myself asking what truth is or shaking my head at the world, I look to a palm tree or something in nature. I study the math.  I remember what is true. That is the truth.  And we are based off of that. Humans, color, light, all of it has inside of it the same math. 

Environments and cityscapes interested me as per the human social condition: what makes that math in nature the equivalent of a society? It is the industrial neighborhoods of Brooklyn to Chelsea. It is the moment in time someone sweeps up by the dumpster, someone plants a flower, or a cafe moves in. That moment is like the expansion of the color spectrum, the out edges of where color disappears. Off we look and pay attention to what we can see in those moments – there is much science in that. 

Intangibles become tangible. In that moment where our eyes can’t see a color, the real estate developer sees a budding neighborhood about to bloom. But we don’t often see it unless we look. Education of the senses – this is why we are here as humans.  

Lynn Grayson logo

​​Is there a specific piece of yours that holds a special meaning to you and why?

In life this can change as perhaps I still have more great work to create. For now and for the past sixteen years of my life, the painting that matters to me as having significance is the oil on archival prepared paper work of the black and white orchids you can see as my logo or on my website. It is my logo. I don’t even need a name. The white orchid stands for elegance, purity, and ethics. This represents my company. 

Just today, I was wondering about the greater powers of branding. How much words and a logo mean. How much power one simple thing can have. I am 45, and it took me 43 years of constantly working to be where I am today with my art, clothing, and film career. The intensity of what all that takes. I think anyone who built a company could relate. You stare at your image and say, “Yes, this is me.” This is what I represent. I don’t even have my name on my logo. I used the computer to textile the orchid painting, and the orchids made angels. Just like math is consistent in nature to humanity to the galaxies. My logo just says,  “Los Angeles, angels are here.” I wanted to honor the town I live in that helped me develop that part of my career. It is for all the artists here and elsewhere. This is the town of Angels. Beauty. I give lectures about staying on the good side of Los Angeles, which is the organized crime Capital of our country. I guess that is why I felt so powerful about that statement for my logo here. 

How do you approach creating a new piece, from the initial concept to the final product?

As a child, I used to just stare at a blank canvas and wait until I would see an image to paint. Now I go around for hours, weeks, literally months to years hunting math and light in nature – those moments we can’t often see. For instance, my ocean paintings. There is one painting where I try and capture the pearls of the seafoam and crosshatching in the sand –these things don’t often appear. Sometimes, or most times rather, the light or conditions aren’t correct. I will search every orchid for the correct math. I sought to capture the truest science I could find. If one day this planet gets ruined, people will need good math. They will need to remember the equations of life, which are consistent from stars to dragonflies to our hands. This is the math that got us here over time as lifeforms. 

The orchid for my logo was from an orchid fair in New York City. They have a vast selection of wonderful orchids. They must search for the perfect math too. The perfect rose. And it’s not to be eugenics or anything; It’s just the basic math we all share. And an entire garden is valuable. You need each flower to have one that stands out. Many of my paintings aren’t perfect. But overall, when you put them in a room with all my textile designs the colors are really cool. It gives a good feeling. Like looking up at the sky at night. 

Photo courtesy of Lynn Grayson