Thursday, April 30, 2009

VisionMakers: Artist Interview with Ron du Bois

VisionMakers 2009 features 37 Oklahoma artists working in three-dimensional and high craft media.

Guest blogger romy owens has done mini-interviews with many of the featured artists. Check back here during the run of the VisionMakers exhibition for insights into the world of these artists.

VisionMakers 2009 is on exhibit at Six11 Creative, 611 N Broadway in Oklahoma City. Today is the last day of the exhibition! Tonight, from 6-7pm, several of the award-winning artists will give brief talks about their work. The artist talks are free and open to the public.

romy owens: How long have you been an artist?
Ron du Bois: Well, I'm 83 now. I knew I wanted to be an "artist" from about the age of five, so the answer to your question would be 78 years! Teachers knew very little about art education at that time. Children grew up without much emphasis on individual expression. I drew things around me as descriptively as I could. In WWll I was an army artist. My ability to draw descriptively probably saved my life.

ro: What is your preferred media for your artwork, and why?
RdB: My primary medium of expression is clay, but when I retired I no longer had access to the equipment and space necessary to work with clay. I decided to work with wood which could be formed with far simpler equipment and processes.

ro: Is this your first year in Vision Makers?
RdB: This is my first year in Vision Makers. I submitted once before but did not make it.

ro: How does an exhibition like Vision Makers affect your art and/or career?
RdB: Well, it's real encouragement. Regardless of how old an artist is continuing recognition is important. My wood sculptures are really prototypes for bronze. Recognition might encourage someone to pay the bill for transformation to bronze. Is this unrealistic?

ro: Who or what are your primary artistic influences?
RdB: African art, the cubists, expressionists, the leaders and researchers into in 20th century non objective pure form. While at OSU I introduced the first course in African art to be taught in Okahoma. When I retired in 1986, unfortunately, it was no longer taught.

ro: What challenges do you face in making art?
RdB: Ignorance. Hubris. Lack of extrinsic rewards. A culture that values the arts is essential to humanistic education, to the understanding of the arts and religions of the world, the promotion of exclusive rather than inclusive ideology, etc. I have tried with complete lack of success to convince the university to support a memorial gallery to hold the work of important deceased art faculty. Our culture with its devaluation of the arts is at odds with those of other nations.

ro: Where can people you don't know see more of your artwork?
RdB: Well, my house is full of art from Korea , India, and Nigeria, as well as my own work. I have been fortunate to have been awarded three Fulbright grants to those countries and to bring back good specimens. Perhaps I am best known for my educational documentaries of clay craftsmen and women from Korea, India, and Nigeria, "Potters of the World Film/ DVD Series". They can be found on-line. But my yard is full of both fence modules and free standing sculptures.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for including Ron duBois' sculptures! I am an admiring friend. His home is truly fascinating - like a trip to an East Indian or African village. Let's keep the visual arts alive in Oklahoma!

esta1923 said...

We are fortunate to have several of Ron's pieces. These have travelled with us from Oklahoma to California and are much admired by people who see them.