145: Chronic Illness, Caregiving and Intentional Leaps Forward with Jean Gray Mohs

Artist/Mother Podcast
Artist/Mother Podcast
145: Chronic Illness, Caregiving and Intentional Leaps Forward with Jean Gray Mohs

In today’s episode I speak with a friend who has been along the ride with me since the beginning of my artist community building journey. Born and raised in North Carolina, Jean Gray Mohs is an incredible artist and member of her community with an inspiring story. Jean Gray has a BFA in Painting and Masters of Arts in Teaching both from Georgia Southern University. She has exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, the North Carolina Museum of Art, Greenhill Gallery, and Meredith College.

We discuss how Jean Gray’s work transformed from traditional painting to wall-mounted wooden forms after facing years of chronic illness and ultimately a double lung transplant. She has always been an artist, from amazing creative output as a young child to boarding school in an arts-focused high school. We talk about how she shifted her work toward watercolor to fit nicely in with early motherhood to twins and how after she received her transplant she felt a tremendous freedom after having faced her own mortality and coming out the other side.

I love Jean Gray’s work and how even though it’s 2D it feels so sculptural! The pieces are collaged wooden shapes forming striking compositions. She shares how much her newfound wellbeing post-transplant led to feeling she could do anything and she was not confined by traditional painting norms, even the traditional rectilinear shape of a canvas. I think operating in this type of freedom is what brings her to her own definition of success: being content.

I really admire Jean Gray’s ongoing commitment to both community building and a serious commitment to the work of building her own practice in a focused and disciplined way. She’s always been there as I’ve built the Artist/Mother Community and more recently the Thrive Together Network. In her own work running collectives and curating shows, I know she really gets the importance of the push and pull between operating in community and then doing the work to build your own practice. I’m excited she will be joining the Thrive Together Network’s upcoming Virtual Art Residency with me this fall, where we do just that! The residency is designed to meet you where you are to help you carve out time to focus on your practice through TTN’s guided structure and weekly check-ins!

Want to join Jean Gray and I on the artist residency this season? We start August 21st!
Learn more here and access our special Artist/Mother discount for a Thrive Together Network Membership!
WATCH THIS for full residency information!

Final Five: 
Biggest Art Crush: Andrea Zittel and CJ Hendry
Dream Trip: New York – finally flying after 6 years for a group show and Japan is the dream
Film or book: No Mud, No Lotus by Thích Nhất Hạnh 
Favorite meal: Any Indian food
Shoutout: Grandmother Blackford, parents, all communities throughout the years

To see more of Jean Gray’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @jg.fourdots

The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

Leave a Reply