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Art Guild founder dabbles in palette that's both abstract, whimsical

By: Doug Snover

Jan 20, 2007

Ron Floyd takes art seriously, even academically. He has a master’s degree in art, teaches art at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, and founded the Chandler Art Guild. His home is decorated with his own works, both abstract and whimsical.

Floyd is the kind of man who can discuss fine art in terms of artistic technique, canvas and historical period.

But he has a lighter side, too, one populated with images of childlike, colorful caricatures that he began drawing for his grandson’s nursery. It wasn’t long before he realized that older people also enjoyed them.

The caricatures employ fanciful swirls, shapes and textures that the artist insists don’t represent anything, even if a viewer finds in them hints of waterfalls, seacoasts or who knows what.

Floyd’s abstracts carry price tags that may start low but can go as high as the $4,000-$5,000 range.

Art always was a part of Floyd’s life but it was not always the main source of income for the Tennessee native.

After earning his master’s in art from the University of Tennessee and dabbling with a career in corporate America, recounts Floyd, “I played graphic designer/starving artist and decided after a while to do something to make money.”

He came to Arizona in 1985 as director of marketing for the Square D Corp., makers of electronics. Floyd’s job was to sell the company’s line of computer automation control systems.

When the company asked him to transfer to Houston, Floyd declined. He used his knowledge of computers to begin teaching adult-education computer classes for the Kyrene School District and Remington College.

These days, Floyd’s regular job is as professor of art at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe where he handles classes in drawing, painting, design and art history.

The long-time resident of Buena Vista Ranchos in south Tempe recently moved a few miles east to Chandler with his wife Mary.

“When we moved here, I wanted to join an art group in the Chandler-Gilbert area but I couldn’t find anything,” he said.

So he and Mary, along with Sal and Desi Costanza, founded the Chandler Art Guild this summer. About 25 people showed up for the inaugural meeting in August, Floyd reported.

“I kind of got unintentionally pushed into leadership,” he said. “It’s going fabulous. Together, we have been developing the Art Guild and we’ve grown to close to 50 dues-paying members.”

Several Chandler businesses have agreed to display Guild members’ art on their walls while Floyd and other Guild leaders search for gallery space.

“We’ve been trying to find a gallery of our own, but rent’s high and we’re young,” he said. “So what we’re doing is finding businesses that have wall space” to display Guild members’ works.

“We have three businesses so far and three or four more that we’re talking to. We’re expecting 20-25 by Spring. It’s working out very well for an art guild that doesn’t have its own gallery.”

“The hardest thing for artists to do is find good places to display their art.”

Floyd found a place to display when he expanded his creativity into three-dimensional papier-mâché-ike creations.

The city of Phoenix commissioned him to display three of his larger creations in Encanto Park, where they delighted children for several months before being retired to the Floyd home.

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Photo by David Stone


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