It was on long, cross-country road trips that Ray Radigan first glimpsed the American struggle between hope and despair that became the inspiration behind his paintings. He confronted it himself after finishing graduate school and struggling to find work.
Ray saw this deeply internal conflict playing out on the side of Route 17 in Tuxedo, NY where Red Apple Rest straddled the invisible line between being rejuvenated and restored or being razed. As he looked further, he found the same thing happening in remote and decaying towns of the west, on overlooked street corners in the cities of the east, and everywhere in between.
Taken alone, each of these buildings depicts an individual fight; to repair or to demolish. They are not intended as commentary, only as observations. Each has it’s own history and tells a different story. Together, they help to exemplify a nation’s people caught between optimism and surrender.
After growing up in Pearl River, NY, Ray Radigan attended SUNY New Paltz where he studied art education. He earned his masters degree in illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Since graduating in 2008, he has worked for the National Park Service and several museums on illustration and design projects. He lives in Amherst where he has been painting his “Half of America” series since 2012.