Whether depicting a city skyline or a dense forest, American artist, Ron Turner uses a precise sense of line and composition to structure each work. Working primarily with oil paints and a distinctive, deep color palette, he aims to translate the beauty of city life onto his canvas and convey the same to his viewers.
Also, a talented musician, Turner incorporates his sense of rhythm into his captivating skylines and cityscapes. “The similarities between music and art are many, the top two being creativity and style,” he says.
Can you talk a bit about yourself – where did you grow up, how did you discover your love for the arts, and what are your ambitions at the moment?
I grew up in Los Angeles area which is a world of its own. Being raised in such a lively environment definitely played a role in influencing my creative side. I started with chalk drawings, many years ago. However, I never really pursued it seriously. It was nothing more than a hobby for me – just making pictures for family and friends.
Growing up, I always admired the oil painting works in the galleries and museums I visited but I always considered oil paints a difficult medium. However, a few years ago, I decided to give it a try and found that it actually came very naturally to me.
In my art, I focus on perception and dimensions. I aim to continue working with oils. I truly believe the medium is my calling as an artist. I hope to continue to show at galleries and gain more followers and supporters over the years. I want to convey my art to those who appreciate it, and in doing so hope that it will enhance the lives of those who view it.
You sketched for a long time before picking up an oil brush – why the change?
As I mentioned before, I never pursued my chalk drawings seriously. But over the years, I realized that I wanted to make a change with my art. I wanted it to be more impactful. This is the reason I switched to oil paints and quickly discovered that I was much better at painting than sketching.
My only regret is not starting to work in oils sooner. Now, I try to make up for lost time by painting as often as possible. Oil painting is by far the most enjoyable thing I do.
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All your artwork has a sense of mystery – buildings with no windows, unidentifiable skylines and a dark palette. Is this intentional or intuitive? What do these skylines symbolize?
The dark palette stems from my favorite colors being blue, silver and black. The decision to leave out the details on the building is intentional. Most of the skylines I paint are at a significant distance and I only rarely use glitter paint to depict windows on individual buildings. I like to leave out the details in order to stimulate imagination in my viewers.
My professional background in construction has also affected my art. I have always been very fond of architecture, big city buildings, and concrete jungles. For me, it exhibits a sense of immense power and the real world most of us inhabit. There is a story, or even an entire separate world within those cities. People from every walk of life, diverse cultures, workplaces, commercial agencies, the poor and the rich, all co-exist in that world.
The main focus in my paintings is not the skyline so much but the oceanic colors, the misty fog, and the beautiful, mysterious skies. The skyline give my paintings dimension, whether identifiable or otherwise. I only title the identifiable cityscapes with the name of the city depicted, not the ones that are not unidentifiable, like Big City or City Reflections. I like to leave things for my viewers to find or see on their own. These skylines symbolize the beauty that exists despite and within the everyday hustle-bustle of the cities. You just have to look at it from outside.
You also take a keen interest in music. Can you talk a bit about the instruments and the type of music you play as well as how has it influenced your art?
I play an unconventional specialty instrument called the pedal steel guitar. The music I play ranges from country to R&B and rock. I have found that there are a lot of similarities between art and music that you can incorporate into the learning as well as production processes of both.
What do you want to convey to your audience with your art?
I want to convey my unique style and color scheme to my audience. I hope that through my cityscapes my viewers, from every walk of life, country, and culture, can view the beauty in our world and be encouraged to make it a better place for all of us to live in. I want my audiences to look at things from an outer perspective and to broaden their horizons, not confine themselves to their little circle of life. I want to portray a sense of peace, calm and beauty through my cityscapes which unfortunately is not the reality for most of us.
Do you have a favorite among your works?
I actually have two favorite works – Enchanted and San Francisco 415.
Enchanted has a dense black background with beautiful silver trees, shaded blue leaves and a lightly shaded pathway. The picture speaks of serenity and beauty. I can spend hours looking at it. San Francisco 415, on the other hand, is a more recent favorite. The colors of the buildings, the way the blue blends into the ocean, the accented colors of the bridge and the dim white clouds on the silver background, make it both unusually intriguing and beautiful at the same time.
What are you working on now and what’s next for you?
I am currently working on two cityscapes – the Brooklyn Bridge with speckles of shiny black and silver and a special order unidentifiable cityscape in a burgundy and black color scheme with a bridge over the ocean that crosses over to the city. The project I am undertaking after these is a custom order oil painting of an old-fashioned ship cutting through the wild ocean while the sun sets in the background.
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Feeling inspired? Read more interviews with our talented artists on Center Stage.