Ralph Calhoun



  Ralph Calhoun, Class of 1947 Artist

Deceased 2017


Go! See! Do!

(and he does!)

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)

We enter the Calhoun Studio ...

Ralph sees art in everything ... no matter it might seem like just junk - well no! ... it is art laying in waiting for Ralph's touch!

In every nook and cranny

A few pieces are not his ... very few!

Must be a goony bird!

His mother, 4th grade elementary school teacher, Sallie Mae Calhoun, might be shocked at this mess!!!

Tommy is trying to count the artwork ...

Ralph gives us a lesson in layering one of his favorite art forms ...

... and some of the results ...

This one hangs in his favorite restaurant ... see more below ...

Even portraits ...

Whimsical ...

Everywhere he goes ... he paints

He even creates art in his surroundings ...



and new friend Onyx approves!!!



(click to expand)

Contact Ralph at rpc2278@alltel.net


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. 

He traveled to St Croix, US Virgin Islands in February, for a two week painting excursion with artists from Greensboro.

In addition, Ralph has 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. 

Branching out of the ordinary ...

Published July 27, 2006   3:59 pm   
Credit: Kat 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 www.associatedartists.org.

Ralph Calhoun's 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 window.

"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 different sizes.

"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 collection.

"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 art.

"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 white.

"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.


**Kat 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 kat.lamp@yahoo.com.




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