Ron Roundy

"I live and work in a small town on the Central Coast of California. I received a Bachelor's Degree in Sculpture followed by a Master's Degree in Fine Arts Drawing from California State University at Long Beach in 1969. While this information is important, it doesn't give you a clear picture of who I am and what I do. I am fundamentally a storyteller, so let me start at the very beginning with a brief history of the life and times of Ron Roundy.

 

I was born in May of 1943, at Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles, and for the first five years lived with my parents on Stoner Ave. in Santa Monica. My clearest memory of this period is of our neighbors, the Russe's. She had bleached blonde hair, and he was a guitar player in one of the big bands of the era. They drove a red convertible, bet on the horses, and sat around the pool in butterfly chairs drinking tall glasses of ice tea while chain-smoking cigarettes.

 

In 1948, we followed my father's job and moved north of San Francisco, just outside Mill Valley. Here I had complete freedom to wander and play outdoors. Everywhere were hills with big rock outcroppings perfect for climbing, and magical oak forests carpeted with shooting star columbines.

 

This idyllic time ended when I was nine and we moved to La Habra in southern California. We were one of the first families to move into tracks of houses that were rapidly replacing the orange groves in the early 1950's. One of the clearest images of this era of my life is the scene that took place every weekday at 5:15 p.m. All the fathers, driving their company cars-cheap model Fords and Chevys-pulled into their driveways. They entered the houses, each in a suit, with a tie cinched tight. Within moments, they stepped back out through the front door, highball in hand, jacket off, tie loosened, and shirtsleeves rolled once or twice. The men stood in the parkways and talked while the wives prepared dinner in the kitchen. Even then, it seemed like a strange movie to me, but this was my world through my high school years. Girls had pointy bras and carefully flipped hair, and if I was lucky I got to "scrunch" with one of them on the dance floor at the Boys Club. I played football, pole vaulted on a bamboo pole, and was voted Fling King my senior year. Each year in high school, I would say I wanted to take an art class and each year my counselor would say, "A boy like you should take wood shop, or auto shop." I got a "D" in both. Finally, by some fluke I found myself in a theater class. My bad attitude got me transferred into an art class. For the first time in my life, I became the class star.

 

After graduation, I moved on to junior college, where my main course of study was lifting weights and playing football, well, more accurately, sitting on the bench watching others play football. Theoretically, I was studying architecture. In my first major class, I designed the professor's entryway to his house, did everyone's renderings, and never finished the footings for my own drawings. Then I took my first college art class, and that was the end of architecture. It took some time for my father to realize his only son had become an art major. He made me promise to tell anyone who found out I was majoring in art I could also bench-press over 300 lbs. After graduation from junior college, conflicts with my father intensified. One day, when I was setting up to sell my paintings at a local art show, I found myself next to Ron Young, who in later years became a renowned patina maker and kiln builder. Ron told me he was leaving in five days on a boat for Europe. The cost was $206. I had $195, he loaned me $11, and I bought the ticket. The next seven months changed my life.

 

The typhoon on the way to Europe was the first sign my life would never be the same . . ." 

Ron's story is colorful (and lengthy). To read the rest of his story, go here

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