By Bob Winberry
I first met long-time Belmont Heights residents Ron and his wife, Betty, when they came by my studio for information on how to advertise their art for an upcoming art show. As we spoke, Betty mentioned that Ron, now retired, had worked on his craft for over 40 years. He had never tried to sell his work, so how to sell was new to them. Ron worked in metal figures and as he spoke, I imagined him doing what I had done as a kid: clothes hanger statues, phone wire figurines with a bit of solder here and there. Did I mention they were the sweetest couple?
So, I told them how I went about advertising: hand out give-a-ways as a means of self-promotion; small prints of your work, postcards, pins, whatever fits. I mentioned what you want most is that your visitors remember you and your work and, who knows, they might come back.
A few weeks later, I found myself on a tour of Ron’s backyard studio, and OMG! I cannot express what I saw: huge, incredible metal sculptures filled the entire room. Wall to wall, floor to ceiling. Some sculptures towering over me, some on pedestals, some small enough to fit into my hand. Women’s torsos made from the universe. Priests and Fish and I don’t know what. All a mix of fantasy and realism made from 22-gauge sheet metal, welding rods, piano wire, and an oxyacetylene torch. No phone wire figurines to be seen.
Since then, I’ve bragged about his work to everyone who came to my studio and encouraged them to visit his studio the next time he opened his doors stressing that Ron wasn’t interested in SELLING, he was interested in DOING. The heart of a true artist! It is the Journey not the Destination.
Sadly, Ron passed away on December 1, 2020, and is now on another journey. But, thankfully, he’s left behind a lifetime of inspiration, joy, and beauty for all who have had the honor to meet him and experience his work in person. His art can be viewed at RonLeiterart.com.