"Julian Raven grew up in Marbella, Spain, and moved to the United States in 1996 with $200 to his name. Today, he is the owner of Lynchburg’s newest art gallery, Julian Raven Artist Gallery, which opened its doors on March 4, 2023. While growing up in Spain, Raven participated in artistic competitions and events, but never felt encouraged to pursue art until an encounter with a math teacher.
“I was sixteen years old and the math professor of this little school in southern Spain was watching me doodle on a page, and he had a can of Coke. I can’t remember whether he crushed it himself, or if it was already crushed, but he basically put it down in front of me and said, ‘draw that’,” says Raven.
When Raven was done drawing the can of Coke, the math professor walked him to the school’s art department and introduced him to the man who would become his artistic mentor for the next two years. Raven attended the Chelsea College of Arts, a prestigious art school in London. Throughout his career, Raven has practiced many kinds of artistic techniques and considers himself to be a mixed media artist.
“I have a very broad interest in art, and I have a very broad expression. I’m not tied into one thing. In here, there is a general expression of where my painting is, but I paint with brushes, I work in three dimensions in wood and metal and stone, whatever I’m trying to create needs,” explains Raven. His art is greatly influenced by his Christian faith and his deep love for nature. After suffering the loss of his father at ten years old, Raven became an atheist and recalls feeling extremely lost and confused for many years of his young adult life.
Despite his deep rooted faith, Raven explains, “I’m not trying to paint religious paintings, I’m trying to paint my experience with God.”
On the day of the gallery’s grand opening, Dr. Chris Jordan was the first person through the doors. Jordan came to the gallery with his 20 year old daughter, who is an artist and lover of art herself. When asked about his experience in the gallery, Jordan responded, “It just really drew me in, it was very peaceful, what I was seeing.”Jordan said he felt very moved and amazed with the art displayed in the gallery. “This is quite a gift to Lynchburg. A small community doesn’t typically have someone as talented and as accessible as he is. And so this puts Lynchburg on the map in the sense of having true beauty that could be displayed in museums all over the nation,” says Jordan.
The building in which the gallery is located required a lot of renovations, according to Raven.
“This was a little dingey bank. It wasn’t terrible, but it hadn’t been touched or loved in years,” he says. Because of his background as a contractor, Raven was able to complete all the necessary renovations himself, with the help of his son. Starting in April, Raven will offer painting classes and painting parties for up to twenty three people.
He hopes to give people an artistic experience they cannot find elsewhere.
For more information, visit Raven’s website or Facebook page, or visit his gallery at 2121 Wards Road." Jordan Abbott, Lynchburg’s Newest Art Gallery Brings Joy to the City, The Critograph - https://thecritograph.com/2023/04/05/lynchburgs-newest-art-gallery-brings-joy-to-the-city/