Artist Statement: Working with the concept of "animal containers" began for me in 1978, when I enrolled in a ceramics class, taught by Art Nelson, at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. Our first assignment in the course was to make a coffee cup having animal features. I made a "Fish Cup", and have been making "animal containers" ever since. Most of my work fits into one of these themes: African Safari Series, Rocky Mountain Series, Predator/Prey Cups, Man is an Animal Series, and Imaginary Creatures.
When I begin a new work, I don't know how it will look. An animal image, such as a photo or drawing, will serve as a point of departure. Proportions are then freely altered, and body parts are often stretched and twisted, even relocated or conspicuously omitted, in unexpected and incongruous ways. I'm fascinated by the challenge of converting animal and human forms into useful pottery shapes as I strive to achieve a visually satisfying balance between expressive and functional qualities. Trial and error is an important part of the process as I seek both practical and aesthetically pleasing solutions. Whimsy and humor often occur naturally out of this process, and even though they are not always deliberately intentional, I don't mind at all when they do happen, as I believe that we all need a good laugh now and then. The clay itself sets limits and influences the form the work will take, and I enjoy pushing those limits. The firing transforms each piece, often in surprising and unpredictable ways, and beyond anything I could possibly have imagined. Each work is an exciting new adventure into the unknown!
Education & Professional Experience: Born and raised in California, Ron attended Fresno State College, where he earned a BA Degree and a General Secondary Teaching Credential. He went on to receive his MA Degree, with a Specialty in Painting, from the University of California at Berkeley. Additional studies were undertaken at the University of California at Los Angeles, the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and overseas at the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg, Austria.
After moving to Colorado in 1995, Ron worked for 4 years as a Studio Artist at the Business of Art Center in Manitou Springs. Now he enjoys working in his own studio at home, while teaching part-time at Pikes Peak Community College. Prior to 1995, Ron spent 29 years overseas as a secondary art teacher with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Germany and Belgium. Extensive travel experiences, including photo safaris in East Africa as well as scuba diving trips to the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean Sea, and Hawaii, have all been rich sources of inspiration and ideas for Ron's art.
Exhibits & Awards: • One-man show at the Fig Tree Gallery, Fresno, California, 1965. • Purchase Prize for Sculpture at the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg, Austria, 1971. • National juried exhibition, "An Affinity for the Cup", Exploding Head Gallery, Sacramento, California, 2003. • National juried ceramic exhibition, "Starbrick Clay National 2004", at Starbrick Clay, Nelsonville, Ohio, 2004. • National juried exhibition, "Two by Two: small-scale ceramic sculpture biennial", Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington, 2005. • Invitational exhibit: "National Teapot Show VI, Cedar Creek Gallery, Creedmoor, North Carolina, 2005. • National juried exhibition of contemporary ceramics, "Starbrick Clay National 2006", at Starbrick Clay, Nelsonville, Ohio, 2006. Received Ron and Calista Strickmaker Award of Distinction.