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10 Questions With Ole Miss Grad Glennray Tutor

Tutor in his studio in Oxford.
Tutor in his studio in Oxford.

Glennray Tutor is a painter who has spent most of his life in Oxford. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1974 and completed his Master of Fine Arts degree in painting at Ole Miss in 1976. Tutor has experimented with many different styles of painting, including landscapes, book covers for authors such as Larry Brown and Barry Hannah, and he even did a poster series. But, what Tutor is most well known for and what he has been working on recently is photorealism. He takes a photo of a still life that he has arranged and creates his own version of the photo with oil paints. His finished products look incredibly similar to real photographs. Tutor is currently working on a piece to add to a series he started in the ’70s. The piece on his easel at the moment has been in the works for a couple of months and will be done soon. You can see Tutor’s work at the University Museum or check out his website. Tutor sat down with HottyToddy.com to answer a few questions about Ole Miss and his career.

Hotty Toddy:  What is your favorite memory of being a student at Ole Miss?

Tutor:  The last year I was in school, my job was to teach drawing and be a gallery coordinator. I learned a lot about packing artwork, and also I enjoyed teaching drawing class. But, It was before we were allowed to have nude models, unfortunately.

Hotty Toddy:  What would you tell your freshman self?

Tutor:  I would tell myself to go ahead and take my last Spanish course before my last summer of college. There was so much work. I remember thinking that I was going to lose part of my brain from overtaxing it. That class was the lowest grade I ever had, and it was a C.

Hotty Toddy:  What is your advice for a soon-to-be graduates?

Tutor:  If you’re in the creative arts, just go ahead and work on a grad degree. A regular art degree is not going to get you very far unless you’re in graphic art. But, nowadays, there are more opportunities than there used to be.

Hotty Toddy:  Why did you come to Ole Miss in the first place?

Tutor:  Both sides of my family are from this area. My parents moved to Missouri in the late ‘40s, but we visited Mississippi a few times a year. I wanted to explore my roots, but I never thought I would end up staying.

Hotty Toddy:  Why is Oxford a good place for an artist? Why do you still live here?

Tutor:  It has all of the opportunities that a city would have, but it takes up a small space so you can get around easy. And, now with the Internet, an artist can live anywhere he wants to.

Hotty Toddy:  What special character does Mississippi have to you?

Tutor:  It’s hard to say because I would have to compare it somewhere else. One of the bad things about Mississippi and anywhere else is that you have people that are not financed properly or given proper education. There is certainly something special about every place. You go to Memphis and there is something that you can feel. I think that people are nicer overall in Mississippi. They’re more polite and more concerned with pleasantness. It may be that old Southern etiquette that is still around. Our families teach us these things.

Hotty Toddy:  If you could make one change to the world that we live in what would it be?

Tutor:  Man is never going to be able to live in a fair society. I don’t want to give up hope, but we’ve had thousands of years to figure it out and build a fair society. The one thing I would change is to somehow instill in man an obligation to be fair to his fellow man.

Hotty Toddy:  If you could change one thing in your past, what would it be?

Tutor:  I should’ve joined the school band when I was younger. That would’ve made school worthwhile. Also, I should’ve had private music lessons and private art lessons. Then, those years would’ve been lucrative.

A painting that Tutor is currently working on.
A painting that Tutor is currently working on.

Hotty Toddy:  What does the term artist mean to you? Is it more than just hands on creativity?

Tutor:  An artist, to me, is something unlike any other person because everything that I do, every thought, every motion, every breath has to do with my creativity. It’s like a machine. Everything that constitutes what I am made of is turning and working to produce art. An artist is born as an artist. And, it’s not easy being an artist. The great mystery is why do I feel the desire to basically entertain society with my creations. That is the great mystery. There are two main pleasures. This first is the personal satisfaction of completing a painting. The second is when somebody looks at one of your paintings and is affected by it favorably.

Hotty Toddy:  What appeals to you most about photorealism art?

Tutor:  The visual manifestation of many components working successfully together. It’s not like a single instrument. It’s like an orchestra, and the orchestra is not making any wrong notes. It is almost something that is impossible for a human to achieve.

Story contributed by Hayden Phillips, Ole Miss journalism student, mhphill1@go.olemiss.edu.


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