Medically speaking, Jason Braly shouldn’t even be able to walk. But walk he does, and so much more. The former elementary school art teacher from Athens, Alabama relocated to Fairhope in 2014 for the warmer weather. That’s right, someone actually appreciates our hot humidity. Jason has been diagnosed with the rare neuromuscular disease, Charcot Marie Tooth, which makes him extremely sensitive to cold.
I met Jason through our sons who are great friends and was so impressed with Jason’s story and his fabulous artwork that I thought you’d like to get to know him. With master’s degrees in both Elementary Education Art and Theatre, Jason lived and worked for a while in Los Angeles before returning to teach art in Athens.
After his diagnosis, Jason was no longer able to teach, and retired to pursue his own art which consists of painting, collage, and assemblages of found materials. The heavy ironwork pieces have proven to be popular. The day I met with Jason was an early autumn day, yet still in the low 90° range, and Jason was wearing his heavy welding coat and seemed comfortable. You would think this would be discouraging, but Jason has an attitude of thankfulness for the opportunity to be able to do what he loves and gives God credit for sustaining him this far and allowing him to continue to work.
No matter what a person does, when they have a passion and joy for their job, it shows in the finished product and that’s exactly what you sense in looking at Jason’s art. Don’t you love it when good people succeed?
A work in progress. Wouldn’t it be fun to take something old from your grandparent’s house – like their tools, and let Jason make something out of it? I bet he’d be up for the task!
Jason and I found common ground in our experiences in the classroom and agreed that children should be encouraged to be unique and find their own way to express creativity. Coloring book identical pages are a big no-no with us! Jason has taught a class at the Eastern Shore Art Center recently, and I’m sure his students were amazed at both his creative thought process and skill. Jason has also taught as an adjunct professor at Athens State University.
Jason’s work can be found locally at The Fairhope Artists Gallery on Section Street. This large piece is actually mounted to the table base with rebar for safety and is quite stunning in person.
This reindeer was difficult to photograph because it was featured in the window of the gallery, but wouldn’t this be awesome to display at Christmas? Actually, year-round! Perfect for the nature lover. Wait . . . here’s a better photo —
Ta-da! The magic trick of pestering the artist until he gives you a real photo of his work. Much better than my attempts which I was terrified were going to knock the deer over (although it was quite heavy, but I was quite klutzy).
Jason also has work displayed at Dragonfly Restaurant and Flybar. While the horses and polo players are in big demand from his clients, Jason also looks to other natural elements for inspiration. Stacks of materials are neatly organized in his workshop waiting to find a new home in a sculpture or collage.
Along with his wife and two children, Jason has made the needed adjustments to enjoy life and use his gift of art to bring beauty to the world. With or without a disability, that’s an admirable way to live.
Follow and get updates on Jason Braly’s art by clicking to join his facebook page HERE, or visit his new website HERE or call him at 256-777-2527. You can visit the Fairhope Artists Gallery (HERE) or at 18 South Section Street, Fairhope, AL or call them at: 251-721-3742.