San Jose artist Ron Appleby takes collage to a new level
Ron Appleby discovered collage during a unit on the art form from Nancy Buckingham, his art teacher at James Lick High School. He quickly discovered that it was a medium that allowed his creativity to flourish more than watercolor painting or pencil sketching.
“My drawings and paintings weren’t bold, and I was editing and blurring my photos,” Appleby, 73, said. “With collage, I could stick something on and if I didn’t like it, I could cover it up.”
The first piece he made in high school in 1964 is on display along with more than 60 other works at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Main Library in downtown San Jose. The show, “Unleashed,” will be on display at DiNapoli Gallery on the second floor through June 3.
The most amazing thing about Appleby’s artistic career is that he never had one. He earned a social science degree from San Jose State in 1971 and went on to have a 34-year career at Lucky stores, while teaching high school social science for 13 years. His artistic work remained a hobby – he produced nothing for 18 years as he worked and raised a family – but his output increased significantly after his retirement in 2014.
Appleby says he doesn’t do traditional collage, where artists arrange images from different sources to create a scene. Instead, he makes a rough sketch of what he wants to do and uses his materials – cut or torn pieces of magazines, cigarette cartons, stamps or playing cards – as his color palette for ” paint” a picture.
His piece, “Sailing,” for example, resembles from afar a calming scene of two sailboats at sea near a lighthouse. Come closer and you can see that all the blues, greens and other colors are made using chewing gum wrappers. Often his materials are things you’d find in a grocery store – walking down Lucky’s aisles gave him ideas all the time.
Some of his pieces are whimsical, like Lisa Simpson posing as the “Mona Lisa”, and others are more empowering like “What Richard Nixon Wasn’t Afraid of during Watergate”, an image of Richard Nixon surrounded by bottles of alcohol and cigarettes. cartoons – all taken from magazine advertisements in the early 1970s. And others are painstakingly detailed and took months or years to complete.
One of his greatest pieces recreates the scene of Dealey Plaza in Dallas, just before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He populates the scene with dozens of people, some who were there like Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald and others like J. Edgar Hoover and images depicting the CIA and the Mafia as a nod to all the conspiracy theories that surrounded the shooting. (He even depicted Abraham Zapruder, camera in hand.) Appleby also created a smaller piece depicting the scene of President Lincoln’s assassination, which is displayed alongside that of Kennedy.
Appleby joined East Valley Artists in 2014 and has demonstrated her technique at various art schools and clubs. He never sold a piece, though, rotating a few around the Berryessa home he shares with his wife, Nancy, and keeping the rest tidy. However, he always comes up with new ideas. “I don’t know how people can do the same thing over and over again,” he said.
REACH NEW HEIGHTS: It was another inspiring morning at the REACH Youth Scholarship Breakfast at the Marriott San Jose on Friday. It was the event’s 26th year, although it was the first time the San Jose Sports Authority could hold it in person since 2019.
Forty-six nominated students, along with parents and teachers, were invited to the breakfast, where they heard from co-chairs Ronnie Lott and Brandi Chastain and got to see some 49ers players, linebackers Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles and Azeez Al Shaair. . The students wrote essays about how their participation in high school sports helped them overcome adversity, and 10 of them received scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $7,500.
At the top of that list was Ella Rodriguez, a track and field athlete at Christopher High in Gilroy, whose right foot was amputated due to disability when she was 1 year old. That didn’t stop her from becoming a cheerleader, basketball player, and global player. -Rated Paralympian on track. Upon receiving her honor, Rodriguez said she was moved to hear the stories of other students.
Emcee Robert Braunstein – who, like me, has served on the program’s selection committee since its inception – said Rodriguez was “one of my all-time favorite people in 30 years of high school sports coverage. “.
There was another surprise in store. Braunstein announced that the 36 students who didn’t get the four-figure scholarships all received $500 scholarships to cover school expenses like books and lab fees. Since its launch, the program has offered more than $500,000 in scholarships, all funded by individual and corporate donations. You can find out more at www.sjsa.org.
TAIKO IN FRESCO: San Jose Taiko Executive Director Wisa Uemura and Artistic Director Franco Imperial are excited to bring back in-person performances with Rhythm Spirit Concerts next weekend at the School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza. Unlike previous years, performances will take place outdoors where patrons can enjoy the outdoors under the stars (and perhaps breathe a little easier due to COVID concerns).
In another first, the May 28-29 concert series will feature guest artists from UC Berkeley and UC Davis collegiate taiko groups on Saturday, as well as the Junior Taiko Performing Ensemble from San Jose Taiko and Stanford Taiko on Sunday. San Jose Taiko will take the stage for the second half of each 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are available for $20 at www.taiko.org/rs22.
“We’ve chosen taiko pieces that welcome our audiences in joyful ways while acknowledging what we’ve all been through to get to this point,” Imperial said. “We hope people will join us in this celebration of taiko and community.”
STORY HEROES: The Los Altos Historical Commission honors Dick Liewer and Anne Roberts – two of the longest serving members of the Los Altos Museum of History Education Committee – with its 2022 Historic Preservation Award on May 24. Liewer, former assistant superintendent of Los Altos Elementary School and District Principal, has served on the committee for about 35 years; Roberts retired from elementary school teaching in 2007 and joined the committee the same year.
Liewer and Roberts continued to provide education for third and fourth graders with interactive tours and history lessons.