Interview: Ron Meick
Ron Meick is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design in sculpture and was the 2016 winner of the Delaware Division of the Arts Fellowship for works on paper. He has shown throughout the U.S. and is included in many private collections such as The Library of Congress.
In a world economy, cultural changes are communicated quickly and can be originated anywhere on the globe. They can also move slowly and almost undetected to emerge as obvious. Both can be personally relevant. I believe in a pluralistic and inclusive process of object making. My work contains residue from the visual environment such as world events, archeological, economic, scientific and social developments.
I have been using printmaking as a means for mark making because it has both an immediate and gradual means of developing image content. The print as a representation for leaving this evidence results in relationships with the process and final object. Recent work involves use of multiple shaped acrylic plates (matrix) to explore interests in fractured tensions, duration, spacial ambiguity, and making intangibles visible. Many incorporate the actual matrix used in printing.
Describe your background in art. Where and what did you study?
Although I have always made things since I was a child, my formal education in visual arts began in high school while living in Germany and visiting many of the great art museums of Europe. After returning to the states, I took courses in design, art history, and drawing at Northern Virginia Community College during my last year in high school. Then I attended Rhode Island School of Design where I obtained my BFA in sculpture but also took many painting and video classes.
Your degree is in sculpture, but you seem to focus more on works on paper and printmaking now. When did that transition occur? Why?
While at RISD, I took advantage of the metal fabrication equipment to make large-scale steel sculptures. After art school it was challenging to obtain funds and equipment to continue large projects, so I started making sculptures with paper. It allowed me to use more color and flexibility by using sheets of paper. These evolved over time and started to incorporate printmaking into my practice. I had taken a class in lithography at RISD and other printmaking methodologies are largely self taught.
Do you still create sculptures as well?
I look at most of my work now as a combination of sculpture and printmaking. There are no boundaries between the two. Many of my recent works incorporate the matrix (plate for printing) with the print, so become very sculptural. Also, many use sound which adds another layer of space.
What inspires your various bodies of works?
My work is developed from many sources. It is about following interests that lead to ways of communicating an idea or subject matter. Something that may question or project something meaningful. Curiosity and being a generalist is something that is very valuable; it allows me to explore many different topics and perspectives.
How long do you work on one series? When do you move on to the next?
When walking down a path there are many routes to follow. I work on various related works until it is exhausted or becomes too repetitive to continue. Usually I have many things going at once, so it can be many years or a very short time.
Your career spans a long period of time - in what ways has your worked changed or developed?
This is a good question and after making things a long time. the one thing you eventually get is perspective. It has always been a learning experience and is interesting to see how older work relates to what you are doing now. It boils down to the fact that all to work comes from a common source and it all has a relationship in some way. You also become a more skilled craftsman and less compromising over time.
Do you have a most memorable show that you have participated in thus far?
I cannot say that I have a most memorable show as they all are learning experience. You get both feedback and support. It is always interesting to see if your intentions are discovered by the viewer.
How do you prepare for an exhibition? Is it a consistent process or do you approach each one differently?
Preparation for a show is pretty much a process at this point. Group shows are very easy to prepare because you usually have very little control. Solo shows much more involved with knowing how your work fits in the space and working with the venue to ensure a great presentation. The most important aspect is completing the work. The promotion, advertising, and installation then become the focus. That is the tedious part.
What do you feel has been one of your greatest accomplishments as an artist?
It is great to finally be able to work full time as an artist which has taken many years of outside work to accomplish. Also to be able to show my work consistently which motivates me to continue making things.
Is there one piece of creative advice you wish you could give to your younger self?
Follow your instincts, work consistently, and always look at the big picture.