About Rodean

Born in 1940 in Carrollton, Missouri, Ron moved with his family to the San Fernando Valley that same year. He is one of seven brothers, one being his Identical twin. An interest in art runs throughout the family. From early on Ron knew he wanted to be an artist. At the age of seven or eight he could always be found drawing or making heads and faces out of clay.

By the time he was ten years old, he knew he liked to create in both two and three-dimensions. He drew all the time. At the age of 14 he applied to a famous artist correspondence course and completed the work with top grades throughout. However, upon completion of the course, he received a letter that said he was very artistic, but unfortunately he was too young to pursue it.

During his high school years, Ron found that in the public schools no one taught the techniques of art. Students were put in a class and told to draw something and the work would simply be graded. Ron felt keenly the lack of direction and, accordingly he lacked the self-confidence to pursue his interest in art.

Upon graduating from High School he attended College courses in Woodland Hills, California where he took classes in art but found the same situation existing. There were no instructions in techniques - the very concepts that Ron was looking for.

Out of school, he began his full time job as a big rig brake mechanic. After 2 years of that he went to work for a major sprinkler manufacturer as a draftsman for a couple of years. In 1962 he began his construction career which would become his main stay work for the next 40 years.

He advanced from an apprentice position in an air conditioning job to a part ownership and their general sales manager within the first 3 years. In 1965, in association with his landscape architect brother, he began his own construction company called WoodScape. He specialized in out-door decorative woodwork along with tenant improvement projects in malls. In 1972 he secured a contract to complete the interior finish on 2400 apartment units for a California based apartment builder with a project in Alexandria, Virginia. He continued on with the interior finish for the next 15 years, then began specializing in stair building for the next 10 years.

At 28 years old, Ron decided to pursue vocal and guitar for an outlet for his artistic talents. He concentrated on folk and country-folk music for the next fifteen years during which time he wrote 12 country/folk songs and recorded them onto a CD album.

It was not until 1983, at the age of 43, when he enrolled in a class on color theory in order to gain a better understanding of his color blindness. The class turned out to be an introductory three-dimensional art class at Sierra College in Rockland, California.

Once again, there was no direction, he was just given some wax and told to make something. There, he made his first sculpture in nine hours. He finished it at home and brought it back the following Thursday. It was called "The Whittler", and modeled in wax because it was the material at hand.

The inspiration for the piece came to him while he was relaxing at his home in the High Sierra mountains in Auburn, California. The instructor was highly impressed and told him he could sell them for a great deal of money. He said "You can do them in bronze if you can figure that all out".

"The Whittler" sat on his desk for a year at which time he got an out-of-town contract job in construction. He took "The Whittler" to the motel he was staying at, and asked the manager if he could leave his wax in her refrigerator as it was so hot outside he was afraid it might melt.

The manager asked him what he was going to do with it. He answered he'd probably sell it when he figured out how to cast it in bronze. She asked, "How much" and he answered, "Six hundred dollars, I guess". She said, "I'll take one". Ron knew her quite well and was reluctant to agree to it because he was yet unsure just how to complete it. She insisted however that he accept her money and Ron promised that he would figure out how to cast the sculpture.

The following weekend he did his second piece, the "Singin' Cowboy". He wanted to challenge himself by seeing if he could accomplish a likeness and chose to create it in the form of a self-portrait. Again, he did it in nine hours time after which he took it back to the motel and the bar next door where he had a beer. There he set it on the bar and left to go to the men's room. When he returned, one of the patrons had broken the piece while looking at it. The man apologized saying he thought it was ebony and he had wanted a closer look. He asked how much Ron wanted for a copy because he liked it so much, he wanted to purchase one.

With the bartender encouraging Ron to sell it, The patron wrote a check for $550.00 and said. "Bring it to me when you are done." Ron was very encouraged with the fact that he had sold copies of his first two pieces. The man subsequently bought a total of 4 other pieces.

Ron's third piece, the "Gold Panner", came to him on a trip to Christian Brothers Foundry, near Sutter's Mill where gold was discovered. His fourth piece, "Jus' One More", depicted a drunk cowboy leaning against a light post searching his pockets for money for another drink. All of Ron's inspirations stemmed from his own imagination.

In 1989, he was diagnosed with major median nerve damage in both arms due to the constant heavy work of construction. After six surgeries that year, his doctor warned that he should cease any physical activity including his art or face the eminent possibility of losing the use of his hands.

Ron decided to study computers along with his art to enhance his work abilities. He successfully completed those efforts and earned an A+ certification in computer repair and a Certified Netware Administrator certificate.

It was at this point in time that Ron took on the pseudonym "RoDean". It came from a need to have a unique name on the internet. He chose to remove the "n" in Ron and put his first and last name together. It was short, easy to remember, and had a ring to it. All of his songs and art are now signed and copyrighted under that name.

In 1990 he decided he would continue on in night school classes with art. He attended life-drawing classes at Chabot College in Livermore California. There he finally found a teacher who would help him with techniques in his drawing. Learning light and shadows was helpful to him with his color blindness. Working mostly with charcoal. What he accomplished there inspired him to continue His studies.

He decided to take the sculpture pieces that he had to an art show at Wente Brothers Winery in Livermore California. At the show he met a man who wanted to commission Ron to create a sculpture piece of his father who was a printer. Ron met the father, accepted and completed his first commission. He entered it into the 1991 Alameda County Fair where he won "Best of Show" - and, at the same time, received a very large boost in his confidence.
It was his seventh piece and when he went to collect the prize, the woman at the counter complimented him on the win. She said it was most unusual to win best of show on his first ever entry. She said it qualified him to enter the "Best of Shows" show at the 1992 California State Fair in Sacramento where he won Second Place Best of show.

At that point He decided, he would study in ernst to be an artist. At the end of 1990 he began his pursuit to learn the sculpting and casting process start to finish. From then through 1994 he attended sculpture classes at Mission College in Santa Clara, California. During this period he conquered the art of mold making.

In 1995, after moving to the North San Diego area, he began studying in evening classes at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. He learned sculpture as he went along. His shift to relief art came from a desire to do a portrait of his aging parents. Working from his sketches he was able to translate the images into relief form. He found that he had a real inclination to relief - that he could work much faster in that direction - which was the inspiration for his subsequent relief wall art. He then completed two pieces in relief - "Sweatin Iron" and "A Catch at the Creek".

In 2002 He culminated his last 2 of 40 years in construction with a 300-house tract and finally a twin 25-story condominium project as the quality control administrator overseeing the work of 300 employees.

He did a medallion of Louis Armstrong, the size of a silver dollar and decided that it would look really fine on a wall and about fifteen inches tall. He then completed additional pieces of Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder. However, along with the success of his artwork came the problems associated with the business of art. The bureaucracy and the questions and answers make him impatient with trying to move ahead.

In the future Ron is hoping to conquer the legality aspects of marketing his work. He hopes to accomplish an historical value of what he is doing and hopes the subjects he chooses will realize their value and endorse his work. In creating these works he believes he is honoring their achievements and hopes to be able to continue offering longevity to their accomplishments for generations to come. He also hopes to portray that respect within his own work, and feels his abilities are a true gift that should be shared with the public.

He identifies with the artists and feels they are a piece of art themselves. The driving force behind the musician relief's was that he, also, was a musician playing for the public and performing in bars with his brother and a small group. They played country western and folk music every weekend in the early eighties.

Ron is extremely happy with what he has been able to accomplish with his relief work. He is confident that he can achieve any likeness. He says, "It is a wonderful feeling to be able, in my later life, to offer my artistic rendition of the nostalgic great musical artists of the past and present".

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