May 30, 1952 ~ November 23, 2019

Born in: Denver, CO
Resided in: Denver, CO

“The integrity of my name and
My reputation as a visual artist
Is what drives me to perfection.
It is what truly defines me.”
Edward Clay Wright JR. was born on May 30, 1952 in Denver, Colorado to Edward Clay Wright Sr. and Frances Wright. He was the third child of seven children to this union, two girls and five boys. As a child Edward loved to draw and carried a sketch pad everywhere. He would take a pad and sketch, little stick men at the bottom of the page, placed in a strategic manner; it created an awesome movement of the stick men. When the pages were flipped, it made the stick men appear, as if they were running along the bottom, and running right off the page, that’s the kind of creativity that was his purpose.
Edward was educated in Denver, Colorado in the Denver Public School System where he attended Whittier Elementary School, Cole Jr, High School, and Manual High School, graduating in 1971,” The Home of the Mighty Thunderbolts.” After High school Edward attended University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, as a student and art instructor, he knew that his God given talent was in the art field, and he embraced that to the fullest, hence “CLAY” the master artist was born.
Clay loved sports, an avid Bronco and Nuggets fan; he loved all of the home town teams. He was very competitive, aggressive and talented, quite the athlete. He enjoyed weightlifting; basketball and football, there were many days spent playing B-ball at Whittier’s courts, Glenarm, 20th St recreation centers. He also enjoyed taking his children to the YMCA.
In 1980, Clay met Shadadah James (Rita) in 1980, from this marriage; two children were born Dante R. Wright, Raina S. Wright, and two wonderful grandchildren, Cyrus and Micah. In 1989 another Daughter Brianna Milam was born.
Clay’s longtime companion Sharon Viglione has been his rock, and as Clay put it“His angel and Muse” has been there till the end.

As a self taught African American visual artist from Denver Colorado, Clay, has created numerous fine art prints for several publishers across the country, including in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, New York and California. He was chosen as “The Official Artist,” for “World Youth Day 1993, held in Denver, “The Mile High City”. He painted themes which depicted various images of the late Pope John Paul ll, which the Pope himself, was in attendance. Clay has received a variety of commissions, including murals, official tourism posters, and many other projects. He has created many published works of art, the majorities are still in print, and are sold nationally. He has had the good fortune to have painted numerous portraits, notably one of the late African American Actor, Paul Winfield.

His artistic themes span many genres, from the historic, inspirational, spiritual, romantic and cultural. He has had the good fortune to be able to exercise his artistic talents in other key ways, such as editorial and product illustration, corporate identification design, but most notably, his successful venture into fine art portraiture. Clay also designed Manual’s High School class of 1973 reunion logo (T-shirt ),of which his brother Melvyn is a alumni of, along with a great deal of other projects in and around the city of Denver.
After having painted his first major portrait of the honorable Alexander Williams Jr., Clay went on to paint other judicial portraits. These include those of The Honorable William Quarles Jr., and The honorable W. Louis Sands. The success of these led to the commission to paint the official portrait of The Honorable Herbert E. Phipps, Chief Judge of Georgia Court of Appeals. He has just completed the official portrait of The Honorable Judge William G. Connelly, Chief Magistrate Judge for the District of Baltimore, Greenbelt Division, Judge Patrice E. Campbell-Smith former Chief Special Master of the United States court of Federal Claims and currently working on portrait of The Honorable Richard D. Bennett, Judge for the District of Baltimore.

For the last few years, Clay has been involved in the creation of a major comprehensive art mural project called, “Journey,” A Pictorial History and Celebration of African Americans,” which depicts over 190 African Americans greats. Having completed the first phase of the composition, he was currently seeking funding to create this grand pictorial narrative on African American History. Additionally, based on the Journey design, he wanted to create educational products, such as art prints, calendars, puzzles, etc., to be distributed to public schools and public libraries throughout the country.

A man of abundant energy, versatility and vision, he is also was involved in writing a novel called, “The Legend of John Henry,” With his “God-given talent” and “abundance of drive and ambition”, Clay is always quick to point out that his success would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of his family, friends and colleagues. He treasures sharing his artistic accomplishments with those who have understood what his art means to him.

Clay is preceded in death by his parents, Frances Wright, and Edward Clay Wright Sr, and brother Ernest Wright.

Edward Clay Wright Jr. (Clay) departed this life on November 23, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.

Those left to cherish his memory and mourn his loss include Daughters, Riana S. Wright, Brianna Milam and Son Dante R. Wright, Denver, Colorado, his devoted companion Sharon Viglione, Denver, Colorado, Sisters, Jeraldine Reedy and Charlotte Gatson-Butler Maywood, Il; Brothers, Richard Wright Austin, Texas, Melvyn Wright Denver, Colorado and Glenn Wright Maywood, Ill, 2 grandchildren Cyrus Wright and Micah S. Wright, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives, and friends.


Visitation: December 7, 2019 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Pipkin Braswell Chapel of Peace
6601 Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80220

(303) 996-0869

Celebration of Life: December 7, 2019 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Pipkin Braswell Chapel of Peace
6601 Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80220

(303) 996-0869

Reception: December 7, 2019 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Pipkin Braswell
6601 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80220

Private Cremation:

Pipkin Braswell
6601 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80220

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  1. Please family except my 💔 heartfelt condolences & prayers. I’ve been knowing this family a long time & it hurts me to hear about Ed’s passing but if it’s any consolation to know that he is out of pain. So family try to stay strong. Much love. I’ll halla

  2. On behalf of the Hawkins family, please accept our sincere condolences. Please know we shall keep you all lifted up in prayer during this most difficult time. God Bless!

  3. Clay was a kind gentleman and gifted artist. He created a magnificient painting of Martin Luther King for my family that I will treasure always.

    Sharing heartfelt condolences to Clay’s family and loved ones.

  4. Melvyn, Let the memories fill your mind, and warm your heart, and lead you through. We are praying for you and your family.

  5. I extend my most sincere heartfelt condolences to you and your family!
    May GOD bless you, keep you and give you peace!

  6. I never actually met this man. It seems to me he left this world too soon. Having read the many wonderful memories written by people who did know him, I feel I missed out.
    I share an office with Sharon, one of his close friends. There is a photo of the two of them on her desk. His eyes show kindness, his posture and smile show pride, grace and greatness.
    I know he will be missed. My heart goes out to his family, his friends and everyone who knew him so much better than I did. He will stay in your hearts forever. Take care.

  7. Our family grew up with the Wright family at New Hope Baptist Church. May the Spirit of our Lord God comfort and bring peace to your family at this time.

  8. I am praying for your family as we all are; growing up from kindergarten (Whittier) to the C.U. Buffalo’s! Always had something in his hands to draw on! My heart goes out to you and your family!

  9. Melvyn, we send our deepest condolences to you and your family during this difficult time. This city has loss a great artist, a great man. God bless.

  10. It’s hard to find the words to express the flurry of emotions we feel when we are faced with an inevitable truth (that someone who is very dear to our hearts is no longer physically with us). We have our memories, stories and photos to help sustain during those dark moments. But, I feel it is the promise of seeing our loved ones again that gives us most hope. So, although our hearts ache with grief and as these tear-stained words fall onto the page, we can take comfort in knowing that we all were privileged to see and know one of God’s greatest creations and that the beauty of our Heavenly Father showed brightly through Clay. I am thankful for the honor of knowing Clay and for the privilege of calling him friend.

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