Ralph Calhoun, Class of 1947 Artist
Go! See! Do!
I have known Ralph since I was
in Junior High. In 1956, he became my brother-in-law ... one I
wanted to keep!! Recently my husband, Tommy Herrington and I
visited Ralph and his lovely wife, Pat, and I was in for one of
the delights of my life! Of course I knew he was an artist and
a talented one ... but when he took us in his studio, I was
incredulous at the diversity of his talent ... some beautiful
... some wistful, some comedic, some crafts ... truly he sees
art in everything he sees. Who but Ralph found find a flattened
fork on the highway ... create a painting of a road, place the
flattened fork on it and call it ...
"Fork In The Road"!!??
Here is a tour of our visit and
his incredible art! (Click to enlarge)
(click to expand)
Contact Ralph at
Ralph Calhoun of Winston Salem, NC, recently won third
place in a competition for a colorful collage on a five
foot square canvas, sponsored by the Hanes Family Corporation
for their new offices.
The corporation took
one of the manufacturing buildings, gutted it, and installed
cubicles down the middle, arranging the offices around the outer
part of the building and wound up with lots of wall space hence
the competition. There were 30 finalists.
traveled to St Croix, US Virgin Islands in February, for a two
week painting excursion with artists from Greensboro.
In addition, Ralph
been chosen to
decorate a cat form for the Humane Society's money making
project. His design is a grey cat with a mouse looking out of
each ear and other places.
out of the ordinary ...
27, 2006 3:59 pm
Lamp/Special to Go Triad
Tree collages are a specialty of
artist Ralph Calhoun. (see art above)
Ralph Calhoun is a
member of the Associated Artists of Winston-Salem and regularly
exhibits with the organization at 301 W. Fourth St. in
Winston-Salem. Call 722-0340 or visit
perception of his surroundings is comparable to standing behind a
giant magnifying glass. Regardless of the medium he's working in or
the subject matter, this Winston-Salem artist turns the ordinary
into the extraordinary.
For the past three-quarters of a century, Calhoun has created a body
of work so diverse, it would take volumes to catalog and categorize
everything he's done.
"Ask me anything, and the answer is probably going to be yes," he
said when asked what mediums he has worked with.
Calhoun thinks of himself primarily as a landscape artist, taking a
sketchbook along with him almost every time he leaves his house. He
has been to all 50 states as well as Canada, South America, Europe,
New Zealand and Australia, with his art supplies in tow.
The richly colorful pastel drawings that Calhoun makes on his
travels are all created on site, with the exception of occasionally
adding a minor finishing touch here and there when he returns home.
When he's working in his studio, Calhoun spends a lot of his time on
his enchanting "tree" collages inspired by his childhood
observations of the pecan trees that grew outside his kitchen
"When the wind blew, I'd always see things moving in them," Calhoun
said of his fascination with the trees.
His tree collages are definitely full of movement. They are
magnificently layered, deep forests of trees that are created from
paper, cloth, canvas and natural materials such as sticks. The
gnarled, organic shapes of the limbs and branches dance harmoniously
as they beckon the viewer into a magical wonderland of colorful
delight. Calhoun has made literally hundreds of tree collages in all
"I've done so many," he said, chuckling. "I use all kinds of
different materials, so it never gets dull."
Even though Calhoun's collages are created in his studio, he ensures
that they get to touch other parts of the world through his rock
"These are my working rocks," Calhoun said as he gestured toward a
basketful of rocks bathing in the sunlight on his windowsill. "I've
collected them from all over the world."
He calls them "working rocks" because he uses them as paperweights
to keep the layers of his collages flat as the glue dries.
Whether it's something as simple as a rock or a flattened fork found
in the middle of the road, Calhoun metaphorically and literally
shares his joyful daily observations through his enjoyable works of
"I look for things constantly," Calhoun said. In the back of his
studio, he pointed out a recently conceived series of pictures that
he is making from found objects.
His favorite one, he said, is a small Venus de Milo replica that he
made from a dog biscuit that he attached to a doll head and painted
"It doesn't have any arms, you know?" he said, laughing.
Calhoun recognizes beauty in everything he sees, adding an element
of surprise to just about anything that could be considered ordinary
-- even orange juice. His art is his life; he's always creating,
cooking, scheming or growing something.
"When you do art, everything comes back to it," he said.
For Calhoun, creating art is automatic. Like the persistent beat of
a heart, his creativity is always ticking.
Lamp is Go Triad's visual arts columnist. She lives in Greensboro
and is working toward a degree in fine art at GTCC. Contact her at
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