Dying to Survive #3, #6, & #9
(North Ave., near 1600 N. DuSable Lake Shore Drive)
Interview from VoyageChicago
’September 18, 2018
Today we’d like to introduce you to Ron Gard.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’m a guy who makes things. All sorts. I’m a sculptor. Primarily in Wood and Metal, but also work in Styrofoam, fiberglass, whatever suits a project best.
I’m a furniture maker, from practical pieces for someone’s home to corporate offices on to what could be considered art furniture.
I have built recording studios. Large music rooms big enough for orchestra and smaller production rooms for voice-over or insert work.
I am a set designer and builder of all things 3-dimensional for the film business, both for films and TV as well as for commercials and print photography. All the things you think are real but only have to last long enough to get on film.
I design and install art exhibitions and have worked in private galleries and public museums.
Every day I have my hands in or on something that is on its way to becoming something else. I have 3 Ash trees at the junction of the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park in Chicago that were scheduled to be cut down because they were done in by the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle. I spent several months carving with a chainsaw to give them some extended time on this side of the dirt. I just love to make cool stuff. That’s really all it is.
Please tell us about your art.
My art has a lot to do with observation. Looking closely at the world around me, at the things around me. I respond to forms in nature, forms in industry…things graceful and things abrupt. I am fascinated with the process of making. Having an idea or seeing an opportunity, often that is what it is, seeing an opportunity to assemble things in a particular way or strip away the excess to get to something that excites me or more often that seems like a natural. Like it always belonged that way. Just needed me to intervene for a moment to set it right. It can start with a big idea or a couple of scraps on the studio floor.
Necessity is another motivator. To figure out the perfect jig, pattern, hanger, tool or accessory. Nothing is as satisfying as getting it right and having it work. From a practical, physical aspect (functionality), to simply being visually successful. You know when you’ve done it right. By gut though, not by bottom line. In Math, the mathematician knows when he has the answer. It is so obvious to me when I have found the right solution.
There are plenty of examples when my work is purely about shapes in space, and tension in negative space. that tends to always hang true. There are times though when I am motivated by a specific message or emotion I want to get across. More often than not, my work is animated, either subtly or sometimes boldly, but generally there’s a character in there somewhere.
We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
My number one piece of advice is to keep at it, whether you pursue it full time or as a weekend warrior. I was the latter with my careers in full swing. I found a livelihood in areas where I could use my skills, my talents and my resourcefulness and all the professional experiences only added to my tool kit and sources of inspiration.
Also, when I was younger I had colleagues say that one had to pick a style and stick with it. That’s crap. Perhaps we know a lot of artists for one thing they pursued and maybe they continued to make what sold, but I will let my sparks and nudges take me in any number of directions, perhaps following trains of thought with variations on a theme, always happy to see a fork in the road to take me off somewhere else…its simple growth.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Here’s the thing. I’ve yet to get a web site built, Until I do (it’s on the list) people can google me, call or email me and I can send images. I belong to Chicago Sculpture International, a local chapter of the International Sculpture Center in New Jersey and people can top to CSI’s website as well as the Chicago Tree Project to some of my work and the latter for my trees. I currently have work around Chicago including in the Art on Clark exhibit. I have exhibited in the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit (CSE) for several years and my work is permanently place in Chicago, Oak Park, Skokie, St. Joseph, MI, Raleigh, NC at Elon University, Denver, CO and more.