Martin Gray grew up with Scottish, Danish and English family. He studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins School of Art, London.
Gray is particularly interesting in examing the links between architecture, communities, migration, food and music. His work, both in traditional and audio-visual forms has been widely shown, including a major Scottish exhibition of his social documentary photography ‘Barras People’ at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Grays’ work is also included in The Navigator Foundation/Harvard University – photography collection and touring group exhibitions. He has created and co-created album artwork, documentary and video work with internationally acclaimed recording artists such as The Proclaimers, Trashcan Sinatras and David McAlmont.
Gray has also illustrated (and sometimes co-written) various books, including one of the award winning series of River Cafe Cookbooks (Ebury/Penguin Random House); Iain Banks’s best-selling, autobiographical, whisky distillery touring Scottish travelogue Raw Spirit (Century/Penguin Random House) and Barrowland, about the world famous music venue (Mainstream)
He is also co-author (with Monir Mohammed) of the critically acclaimed Mother India at Home (Preface/Penguin Random House). A cookbook, which also examines, in words and pictures, the link between Indian Restaurants and Asian assimilation into the UK. This book was Chosen by Waterstones to represent multi-cultural cities in a 2017 book festival and exhibited in Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Scotland Street School Museum (Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries). Gray’s work features in many illustrated publications including Scotland the Best – Scotlands 100 most iconic places photographed by Scotland’s best photographers (Harper Collins)
Public projects as artist and curator/co-curator
Gray’s long-term personal project ‘A Sideways Glance’ focuses on reflecting our relationships with the surrounding environment. A recent example of this is a large Public Art piece (installed 2019) in Edinburgh City Centre, which has been embraced by the public and praised by critics. The photographs exhibited on the historic North Bridge play with the notion of modern multicultural Scottishness and community, through images documenting shared spaces in Edinburgh and the lives lived there. The images celebrate the rituals of work and play, like waiting for a bus, a daily stroll, meeting up in a cafe, sneaking a snog, bracing the elements, or cheering on a team, even if they lose again. This street gallery was commissioned and facilitated by Jack Arts Scotland/Edinburgh City Council.
Another ambitious piece ‘Barrowland’ consists of a large mural in the main auditorium of the legendary Barrowland Ballroom. Gray has made and co-curated numerous artworks for the interior public areas of multi-purpose buildings all around the UK, particularly within the University sector. These include foyers, common rooms and large study areas for Goldsmiths (London University of the Arts), Queens University London and the Saltire Award winning ‘Powis Place’ Aberdeen University accommodation. Martin Gray is also involved in curating and co-curating work by other Artists. Jack Arts public arts/messaging displays involve work by Britain’s leading and emerging artists and have attracted a lot of positive attention in the national and international media.