Expression has no boundaries, and in the case of homeless artist Ron, who is not bounded by a house, a family, or a job, his expression has found itself visible from the heavily trafficked 8 freeway in San Diego. While a home and job are things that many of us take for granted; without these core elements, Ron has found the freedom to express himself using items found alongside the San Diego River.
Ron has been creating natural art since he was a child he says. In the past few years during which Ron has called the fresh air his home, he has made 13 distinct structures, and he has plans for endless more. Past pieces included Stone Henge, Peace on Earth – Broken Hearts and Shattered Dreams, an X-Men Tribute, and others.
This featured piece, which he has titled Dark Castle, was influenced by the good vs. evil themes of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series. The nearly 6 foot tall, rigid, dark, symmetrical structure called the Dark Castle is guarded by legions of large, rigid rock soldiers that are planning an attack on the White Castle. The loosely gathered, asymmetrical, “fairy-patterned” good castle is much smaller, and is populated and surrounded by small, smooth, round pebbles. The good soldiers don’t form the structured ranks that the dark side approaches in. Instead, they are freely scattered upon the ground. The white rocks of the good castle are very hard to find, says Ron. He spends hours hunting out these beautiful and rare pieces. And, while vastly outnumbered, Ron shares that of course good will conquer evil with its greater wisdom.
Ron goes on to tell us of the struggles he has had with the San Diego police ticketing homeless people like himself for sleeping in public places like the San Diego riverbed. He goes into detail about his efforts to do the right thing, including paying $5 each way to ride the bus to court to plead not guilty, to which the case is usually dismissed. Maybe the rigid dark castle, with its rules and aggression, is an artistic demonstration of his feelings of oppression. Or maybe it is simply a way in which Ron keeps himself busy to distract himself from his current situation.
While he currently has no job, former construction worker Ron shares his hopes that one day someone will ride or drive by and appreciate his work and hire him to do work in their yard. In the meantime, he plans to continue sharing his rock art with passerby’s on the bike path and 8 freeway. His next piece, he says, will be Route 66 – an outline of the U.S. featuring landmarks along the historic cross country route. He hopes to make it an interactive experience for the viewers, asking people to put their initials on rocks and place them in the states they are from.