Born in Japan, Mayuko Ono Gray, 37, arrived in the United States alone at the age of 18. Her ambitions were: “Have fun, learn English and go to college.”
After a quick immersion class in American culture for incoming young immigrants in Los Angeles, she headed to Houston where she studied English at St Thomas University. She found a husband and added a baby girl to her life.
Keeping her promise to her parents to study, she trudged along attending classes at Houston Community College.
“I had originally thought to be in tourism and the travel industry,” said Mayuko.
Today she is an artist, adjunct professor and director of the art gallery at College of the Main-land, 1200 N Auburn Rd Texas City Texas.
“She is a real asset to the college as an artist and teacher. All her students think she’s wonderful and love the way she works with them,” said Sparky Koerner, the department chair of Fine Arts at College of the Mainland.
Mayuko has both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Houston. She has had just under 30 showings of her work as a solo and group artist.
She has been exhibited in Mexico, the US and, Japan.
Mayuko works mostly in pencil and charcoal to create what some would call post modern art.
“She has mastered the art and skill of drawing which is essential in the art world. She literally paints with graphite or charcoal,” said Geri Hooks owner at Hooks-Epstein Galleries, 2631 Colquitt Houston Texas. Her work is represented by Hooks-Epstein Galleries.
Mayuko’s current collection, Hello is the Beginning of Good-Bye, is on exhibit at Hooks-Epstein Galleries till April 25. Each piece in the collection starts with a point of entry on the canvas with the line continuing non stop till its exit point.
Between the entrance and exit points are Japanese characters that communicate a simple phrase or proverb. Many of the works also include a person, animal or plant which Mayuko se-lects to help better illustrate the meaning of the Japanese characters.
Mayuko has been drawing since she was a child. “My mother insisted I study calligraphy with a Sensi master in calligraphy. I spent hours recopying his samples. There was no coloring outside of the lines in the traditional instruction of Japanese calligraphy.
She is very meticulous about her work and is sure to erase all marks that are not intended to be part of her final vision. “Some people call it obsessive compulsive disorder. I prefer to think of it as obsessive compulsive order.” said Mayuko.
Initially as an artist she did not incorporate her Japanese heritage. “Today I have grown to ap-preciate my origins and use calligraphy in creating my art,” said Mayuko.
Currently a resident of La Marque, Mayuko is married to fellow artist, Mark Greenwalt and her baby girl is 16 years old. Though her daughter is “not into art” she has always recognized her mom’s talent as an artist.