Picture & Text by: Arturo “Tito” Onesto
Eugene, Ore – His house is hard to miss painted purple with green trim. Aside from the color the house the huge murals that surround his home give insight of the man who did them and the inside of his home is no different the neon room is the first thing visitors seen and the rest of his home is full or art painted onto the walls, and hanging from them.
Ron LaFond, 69, has been an artist his entire life it started when he was just a child with a pencil and paper. He moved around a lot and didn’t have many friends growing up so the only way he kept himself entertained was through art and creating. He continues to use art as a means to stay entertained and the wall adjacent to his home shows that. He didn’t attend college and is proud to say he self-taught himself.
His biggest influence is Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali. “I was a freshman when I discovered Dali, Salvador Dali. I saw his stuff, his melting clocks, and I went ‘Oh My God I want to do something like this!’ so that got me going.” It shows especially in his murals, which surround on side of his home. The first mural came from being sick of seeing a grey wall while washing dishes everyday. “ I house painted for several years, and I accumulated a lot of paint, blues, whites, whatever and I decided to paint this grey wall. Then I retired so I continue painting the rest of the 350 foot long wall.”
A man of many skills, he has experience working with watercolor, oil, acrylic, airbrush, and most recently digital 3D art. Although he posses many skills LaFond struggles to make ends meet. He lives off his social security checks and food stamps. Commission pieces don’t come around as often as he’d like. In order to make some money he joined The New Zone Artist Collective, which has its own art gallery. He also designs and sells t-shits, stickers, and prints of his own art.
Why does he do it? “ I do it for the magic, the magic of it all.” LaFond’s work can be seen in The New Zone Gallery on Broadway and on a quick stroll through 3rd street in Whiteaker, where LaFond greets visitor which a smile and a look at one small piece of his extensive works of art, his famous mural.