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His work has been described as both joyous and playful. So who better to illustrate the animated spirit of the season than San Francisco artist Rex Ray, whose vintage-riffing piece adorns the covers of The Christmas Book and our Holiday issue of the book?

Ray's distinctive oeuvre may elicit an I know I've seen that somewhere response. Perhaps it was a painting in a museum or gallery, a wall covering commissioned for the dining room of New York's Strand Hotel, or one of Ray's many design collaborations with Sony and DreamWorks. Or maybe you're thinking of one of the tour posters he's created for the Rolling Stones, U2, or punk poet Patti Smith. Perhaps you've even gazed upon Ray's Untitled, 2012, a piece from the permanent NM art collection that currently hangs in our Walnut Creek store.

For the holiday collaboration, Ray's energetic swoops and swirls form a fanciful interpretation of NM's house symbol, the butterfly. It began as a painting/collage, with digital flourishes and color-play added later. "This type of hybrid allows me to mix a wide variety of mediums--painting, block-printing, silk screening, as well as digitally augmented coloring and textures," explains Ray. "In this way, the work references nature, ornament, technology, and modernism."

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