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Sebring’s multiple talents shine through multi-media

By Staff | Sep 2, 2009

Bonita Springs architect and 2 Islands Gallery contributer Ron Sebring is a man of many talents.

In addition to being an accomplished and award-winning artist, Sebring is the kind of artist who’s been intensely fascinated by his visual surroundings.

“I don’t even remember how long. I’ve always drawn and I’ve always been visually oriented. In fact, it was a problem in school with my learning process – learning A, B, C’s and reading and that sort of thing, I didn’t do well with. It was the visual things that I was easy with, like art class,” Sebring recalled.

Growing up in New Mexico, Sebring remembers developing an interest in architecture in middle school.

“I grew up in a time before we had art class – all we had was arts and crafts. The instructor, I think it was his first year out of college, had brought in some architectural projects,” Sebring said.

“Those architectural presentations were just really neat. I could draw and sculpt in arts and crafts, but I didn’t even know what an architect was then. That introduced me to architecture. From that point on, I didn’t know for sure if I wanted to be an artist or an architect,” he said.

But Sebring became both.

He met the love of his life and fellow artisan, Connie, while in high school, where he took drafting and metal-working classes – in addition to being recruited for several artistic projects in and around the school.

Sebring and his soon-to-be wife then went on to the local junior college where, the instructor who’d introduced him to the world of architecture was now a fixture in the school’s art department.

“I took everything I could possibly take that was related to the visual arts,” Sebring said, noting that, at the time, he had even begun dabbling in stop-action animation, well-before the technique became popular.

“I’ve always been intrigued and inspired by Walt Disney. The whole time we were at the junior college, my dream was to go work for Disney as an animator. I was working for an architect part-time, for a dollar an hour, and then Connie and I got married between our freshman and sophomore years,” Sebring said.

“At the end of the two years, I asked my art instructor, ‘Well, what do I do now?’ I wanted to pursue art and he said, ‘Well, go to the best art school,’ and I said, ‘Where’s that?'” Sebring recalled.

“I had no idea. No concept. We started researching art schools and it came down to Ringling College of Art and Design and Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles.”

During an opportunistic holiday visit with family in Nevada, Sebring took his portfolio and interviewed at Art Center College of Design.

“While we were there, we walked around the gallery and I thought ‘Oh, my goodness, there’s no way. These people are great. I’m not going to make it,” Sebring said.

“I think the same week I got my acceptance letter from Art Center, we found out that Connie was pregnant with our daughter,” Sebring said.

“It presented a whole new set of problems because Art Center didn’t want you to work while you were going to school, and with Connie being pregnant, she couldn’t work, so we both decided to go to Texas Tech. I went one semester as an art major. Our daughter Candace was born during finals week,” Sebring said, noting ironically that, after he failed a government class, thereby nullifying his draft deferment, he joined the National Guard for a few years.

While still maintaining a firm stance in the art world, Sebring pursued architecture, a career that eventually brought him and his family to Southwest Florida.

And, if you’re familiar with Sebring’s work, you’ll notice that a lot of his pieces draw heavily upon local wildlife. Around the same time that he was asked to join the Tower on Sanibel (2 Islands’ twin gallery) in 1994, Sebring was selected as the poster artist for the Island Reporter newspaper on Sanibel.

Sebring works in all forms of media – ink, pencil, paint, watercolor and metal being some of his favorites – but he is a chronic sketcher.

“The drawing is the basis of it all, so I do a lot of drawing.

“This pretty much sums it up,” Sebring said as he flipped through a sketch book brimming with doodles, plans and ideas.

“I draw and doodle a lot and something catches. The sketches are the first step. Once you put it on paper, you start reacting to it and then it starts to grow and take on a life of its own,” Sebring said, adding that he has the potential to be inspired by almost anything.

Sebring also takes hints from his dreams, often springing from bed, regardless of the hour, after having a particularly vivid artistic vision which he then draws out in a sketch pad.

“It’s like writing a story. You have your vocabulary, and that’s where the sketch book part of the process comes from, because when you sketch something, it becomes a part of your visual vocabulary,” he explained.

Sebring says he finds inspiration in even the most mundane occurrences, and, while most would agree that he has an incredible knack for realism, he cites reality as a source of inspiration, not style, noting that he always likes to leave a trace of the artist’s hands in his finished piece.

“I’m inspired by reality. I like to take what I see in reality – that being nature or whatever -and then imagining something different, creating something totally imagined.

“The other thing that I like, that I always want to express in my work, is the mark of the tool. When you look my work, you’ll see the pencil mark. The tool could be a brush or a pen or a pencil or a welder or a grinder. That’s a part of the expression,” Sebring said.

“I can take you a good picture. But if I can take a good picture, why should I draw it?” he smiled.

Ron Sebring’s metal sculptures, ink and pencil drawings and paintings are available at 2 Islands Gallery in Chadwick Square at South Seas Island Resort. 2 Islands Gallery is open to the public every day from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For more information about the gallery, call 472-5111 ext. 7633.

To learn more about Ron Sebring, go to www.ronsebring.com.