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A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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Artist Rachel Bray explains her ‘blue work’ now on display


By day, Rachel Bray is the engagement coordinator at Jewish Community Relations Council. But when she isn’t engaging on varying topics for the JCRC, the Belleville, Ill. native is busy creating art. Some of her work is on display right now as part of a new juried art show, “Everything Blue” at the Soulard Art Gallery.

Bray’s art

Bray’s journey to her current artistic work began with music.

“I started taking violin lessons at age 2 and became a music major in college, but in my twenties, I realized I didn’t want to be a professional musician,” said Bray.

Bray felt lost artistically, but then a college class she took for fun led her to photography.

“After photography, I took just about every studio art class available to me and ended up majoring in printmaking at SIUE,” said Bray. “I was still able to be a storyteller in a similar way I did with music, but in a way that was more personal and fulfilling. I’ve never looked back.”


Currently, Bray is working exclusively within a medium called cyanotypes. Cyanotype photography is a camera-less technique that involves laying an object on paper with a light-sensitive coating (using a solution of iron salts) before exposing it to UV light and washing with water to create stunning images.

“The chemical reaction produces a very distinct color called Prussian blue, which is why my prints are only in blue and white,” said Bray. “I create my own film negatives from existing photos. I also draw upon my childhood love of paper dolls.”

You’ll often see images of her son in her work with little tape tabs reminiscent of a paper doll. Unlike a lot of art mediums, cyanotypes can be printed pretty quickly, which is nice for an artist like Bray, who is also a busy professional —and mom.

“But it’s also a medium with a lot of unpredictability,” Bray said. “I often have no idea what a print is going to look like in the end. I kind of love that, though.”

“Everything Blue”

For her selections presented in the Soulard Art Gallery’s “Everything Blue” exhibit, Bray combined a photo she took from a double-decker tour bus in New York several years ago and layered it between journal entries written on acetate paper.

“It’s part of a larger series I’m working on called Memry which has to do with the technologies we use to record the best and worst moments in our lives and how those technologies affect the way we remember things. It’s also a bit about how to balance sharing truths as a way to work through hard times, but also skew them enough to remain private and guarded,” said Bray.

At the heart of it, Bray’s work is about the passing of time, the places she has been and the people she met along the way.

“If viewers are able to think about their own experiences and understand that we are all just trying to get from point A to point B, I’ll be a happy camper,” said Bray.

“Everything Blue: A Jury Exhibit”

Where: Soulard Art Gallery, 2028 S. 12th Street Saint Louis, Mo. 63104
When: Running through Oct. 20
How much: Free
More info: Visit SoulardGallery.com


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About the Contributor
Jordan Palmer
Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer
Jordan worked at KSDK from 1995 to 2020. Jordan is a three-time Emmy award winner who produced every kind of show from news to specials during his tenure, creating Show Me St. Louis, The Cardinal Nation Show. He started ksdk.com in 2001 and won three Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic and website excellence in 2010, 2014 and 2020. Jordan has been married for 25 years and is the father of two college students. He is an avid biker, snowboarder, and beer lover. He created the blog drink314.com, focusing on the St. Louis beer community in 2015. Jordan has an incredible and vast knowledge of useless information and is the grandson of a Cleveland bootlegger.