Trained in fashion design and illustration, Detroit-born Gary was primarily a self-taught painter. He held a B.A. degree in liberal arts from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, and he first came to New York in the 1980s with an eye toward working in costume design. While he took classes at Fashion Institute of Technology, several galleries sold his work. He returned to Michigan and came back to New York in 2000. Gary's paint application technique give his acrylic paintings the texture of watercolor or oil, mediums in which he also worked. He was legally blind but continued to paint and was inspired by listening to music as he worked. Fountain Gallery featured Gary in his highly successful one-man show Feminine Wiles in September 2010.