I’ve known Gray Counts since the mid ’70s. We became good friends and used to car pool together. One of my favorite Gray Counts stories has to do with coffee. There was a coffee maker in every studio, and someone would usually make a fresh pot after lunch. There often weren’t a lot of coffee drinkers in the afternoon, so the pot would still be half full by 3:00. This is the kind of commercial style drip coffee maker where the coffee was kept warm in round glass pots. As the hours drifted by the water would slowly evaporate. The coffee would get strong, bitter, and burnt. By quitting time the contents in the pot had transmogrified into a think, tar-like substance with several crusted rings around the inside of the glass. The resulting barnacles were hard to remove.
Someone in the studio was usually responsible enough to throw out any left over coffee and to shut off the coffee maker at quitting time. What was left in the bottom of the pot was pretty manly. For some reason he’d holler out, “Anybody want the rest of this coffee?” From somewhere in the studio you’d hear, “I’ll take it.” That would be Gray. He’d walk out to the car with a styrofoam cup in his hand with this stinky black stuff in it. Somehow the styrofoam cup could resist the corrosive nature of its contents. Gray spent several years in the Navy and I always assumed he had learned to tolerate anything that remotely resembled coffee.
Gray developed a reputation for his renderings and was often asked to create artwork for some special project. He painted a rendering of the Dave Holl’s Bugatti design that is the subject of the post entitled, Ron Kellogg’s Bugatti Type 57/59 Roadster Special.
A Gallery of Gray’s Paintings
1928 Packard Dual Cowl Phaeton, oil on canvas
1929 Auburn, oil on canvas
1956 Mercedes 500SL Gullwing, oil on canvas
1931 Rolls Royce, oil on canvas; 1932 Glaser Right Hand Drive Cadiallac, acrylic on masonite
1933 Lincoln, oil on canvas
1937 Cord 810 Speedster, watercolor
1930s Marschal Headlamp, and 1929 Bentley, acrylic on masonite
1939 Ford Model A, oil in canvas
1929 Weyman Bodied Bentley, acrylic on masonite
1937 540 with 1928 SSK Mercedes, and 1932 Murphy bodied Lincoln, acrylic on masonite
1928 Packard, acrylic on masonite
1912 Stutz, acrylic on masonite
1930 Packard Sedan, oil in canvas
1932 Lincoln, acrylic on masonite
1931 Cadillac with Ferrari P4, and Bugatti Royale, acrylic on masonite
Gray’s rendering of Dave Holls’ Bugatti design. See the post about how the car finally got finished.
Gray has Giclée prints available of his artwork. Please contact Gray Counts by email or phone (248-620-2693) to order a print.
Gray’s work shows a great fascination for the reflection of light on glass and metal as well as an appreciation for the automobile as an object of beauty and rolling sculpture. His award-winning work resides in private collections all over the country.
Gray has been married to Kay for 49 years and is the father of 3 grown daughters and grandfather of six grandsons and one granddaughter. He was born in a rural area of Virginia where he lived for 4 years before his parents moved the family to Michigan during WWII. Gray with his wife Kay live in a log home in Davisburg, Michigan, about half way between Detroit and Flint.
Gray has loved all things mechanical and has been blessed by God with the ability to draw and paint. These two compatible things have motivated him from youth to draw and paint anything that flies, hums, runs or floats. With those interests and that background, Gray decided to study engineering. After a few years of study, the desire to draw and design as well as paint were too strong to resist so he transferred into the field of industrial design, and graduated with a BFA degree.
After a 5 years stint in Uncle Sam’s Navy, Gray attended the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles to pursue further study in the field of Automotive Design. Gray is now retired from General Motors Design Staff where he worked as a Senior Creative Designer.