ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Ron York

This month, ALIAS is thrilled to spotlight Ron York, a heavyweight in the Nashville arts community. Ron is a friend of ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, and he has a key role in Arts & Flowers becoming a premier Nashville arts event. Not only is Ron helping recruit artists for this unique art show, but he is himself an artist, and he will present his painting, Musical Chairs, at the 2011 Arts & Flowers, on July 23 at the W.O. Smith Music School.

Q: Ron, your name is a familiar one to local artists and art lovers. Will you tell us a bit about yourself?
A: I’ve had retail businesses for more than 30 years and practiced interior design for 20. It was my love of art – and my desire to create a source for my clients – that inspired me to open Local Color Gallery in 1990. A year later, I picked up a paintbrush and never put it down. After 15 years, I sold my gallery to pursue my own art, but had so many artists/friends still wanting my help that I became an artist representative and began renting spaces inside of existing businesses to display their work. Eventually, the opportunity came for me to open another gallery and I did so this past January. York & Friends Fine Art represents more than 40 local and regional artists.

Q: How would you characterize your style of painting?
A: I’m a self-taught artist and would describe my work as whimsical, colorful and fun. I want people to smile when they see something I’ve painted.

Q: What inspires you and – ultimately – your work?
A: I’m in awe of all of the very talented artists I work with or have worked with and consider friends. They are not only talented, but also incredibly giving and supportive of me, which makes me want to do all I can to help promote their work. I’m truly happy with my life right now and I think it reflects in my paintings.

Q: What do you like most about Nashville’s art scene?
A: Nashville is very supportive of their artists and galleries. I’m not aware of any other city that has as many weekend art events/fundraisers, and they all seem to do so well. I find many Nashville folks wanting to support and collect works from local artists. The premise of my first gallery was to showcase the talent of Tennessee artists.

Q: You participated in last year’s inaugural Arts & Flowers. Will you tell us about your experience?
A: When Jim Robert came to me with his idea of pairing an artist with a floral designer, I thought it was brilliant. As I mentioned previously, there are many art fundraisers in this city, but Jim’s approach was so unique. I loved recruiting friends to help with the inaugural event. Not only was the concept different, but the venue was one-of-a-kind. As we spread out through the assorted penthouses of Terrazzo, each with their own unique view, it became a magical night. A beautiful setting for beautiful art and flowers, wonderful food and drink, and two lovely performances by ALIAS musicians. I don’t know anyone who didn’t enjoy that evening.

Q: You’ve played a significant role in recruiting artists for the 2nd Annual Arts & Flowers on July 23. What wonderful things can guests look forward to at this year’s event?
A: There are 26 very talented and diverse artists participating. Although I represent more than enough artists to fill the spots, I wanted to make sure there was a good variety, so I chose artists/friends from eight of the leading galleries in town…various creative styles and different price points from both emerging artists and well-established artists. About half of the artists are returning artists, while the other half are new to this event and excited about the opportunity to participate. All of the artists will be in attendance, so event guests will have the opportunity to meet and talk with them about their work.

Learn more about Ron York at www.ronyorkart.com or on facebook at Ron York Art