Artist Ron Greene creates a window into his ongoing exploration of the world through abstract drawings and photographs. By capturing fragile moments, Ron’s drawings offer his viewer the potential to gaze inside their own subconscious. His art forges a link between observation and reality, demonstrating the ways in which technology expands the human capability for perception. Passionate about drawing and building ever since his youth in New York City, Greene further developed his artistic interests as a teenager through painting classes at the Manhattan Arts Students League. An undergraduate base in sculpture, drawing, and painting gave Greene the ability to pursue a degree in industrial design at Pratt Institute, after which he attended architecture school, where he earned his second design degree. His multi-faceted background emerges in the underlying architectonic that ties his work together
TAO: What is the process behind your photographs?
Ron Greene (RG): German architect Mies van der Rohe once said, “God is in the details.” I often focus on the detail of a building because, in my opinion, it can either be the best part of an otherwise nondescript structure, or the well-articulated vocabulary of an architect’s inspired creation. My photographs record experiences, moments, and a variety of other things I’ve seen. I’m particularly interested in shooting the stages of architecture, i.e., images that record structures going up or coming down. I like that fragile moment in which that specific image exists, since my opinion on a building may change depending on the stage of construction. Capturing that moment gives me the opportunity to make a personal statement about what I see.
TAO: What is the technological process behind your drawings?
RG: The drawings start out as analog ideas. I then input them into a 3D drawing program in which the drawing is constructed layer by layer; it is detailed and colored in 2D and then textured, conceptualized, and assembled in 3D. The layers are repeatedly moved back and forth between these 2 graphic constructs, a process that results in as many as 250 layers and often requires over 100 hours. It is definitely not a simple process of pushing a button and letting the computer do the work, and is very different than drawing with a pencil and paper. I constantly have to be a couple of steps ahead and think about the direction in which I want to go. It’s all about the process, since I don’t know how the piece will turn out until I’m well into the project. In fact, at any point I can either stop or modify it to completely change the result.
TAO: How does technology bring a dreamlike or nightmarish quality to your drawings and photographs?
RG: Technology definitely has a dark side, since there’s something insidious about the true potential of computers. Therefore, there’s this architectonic, bio-mechanic dark side to what I do, influenced and then informed by movies that I watch. I use the same software that is used in the creation of special effects. I can’t really blame it on the computer, but the nightmarish quality is more easily expressed by the use of technology.
TAO: Your drawings are supposed to be seductive but without conclusion or resolutions. How does this help them be perceived as limitless?
RG: My drawings open up a portal into the subconscious of the onlooker. So they are, in fact, limitless. They are not intended to give the viewer a result or make a single statement. I begin the process by examining a particular notion, and then explore it up until the point at which I think the work is done.
TAO: What inspired your interest in the idea of the “other space?”
RG: I started to see the possibility when I captured some images on a trip to Europe. I realized that I could capture spaces within reflections. Drawing and painting in the 3D paradigm are based on the laws of physics. I exploit this reality in order to change the way that objects and surfaces are perceived in my drawings. I control color by giving transparent, refractive, and reflective characteristics to materials. I can also invent new materials like transparent chromed concrete, resulting in a surreal effect.
TAO: How does color give you creative advantages in your drawings?
RG: I’m starting to integrate an acrylic pouring process and bring it into my digital drawings. I’m very interested in the complexity of color that a computer can develop. The computer allows me to build up transparency that I can’t do by hand, especially in drawings that have as many as 250 layers. It’s an ever-changing process; I see new possibilities.
TAO: Is there something you’re currently working on that you’re excited about?
RG: I’m excited about combining analog liquid acrylic pour painting with photographic projection, and 3D sculpture and texture mapping. I’m currently working on combinations of four to five different processes at once to produce something new. I’ve also been exploring the “art of the art,” creating an actual sculptural piece and then developing artwork around it. I’m very excited about all this potential.