Flagler Artists: Ron Wallace came to art later in life, by James Moore

Flagler County is becoming a home to many artists, and happily includes Ron Wallace in its ranks. Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Ron spent a 35 year career running a hair salon with his wife. They spent the first phase of their retirement traveling in a motor home, looking for a new place to plant their roots. An old friend of Ron’s had been living in Florida and had suggested a quiet, little place called Palm Coast.
Art was not something new Ron started upon retirement. In his 20s, he had attended a welding class where he learned principles he continues to utilize in his sculpting today. For example, on his website, the piece “First Flight” was made with copper and steel material to look like the Wright Brothers’ biplane.
Ron is a mixed media artist, meaning he does not limit himself to one art medium. Shortly after moving to Palm Coast, he attended a painting class with the Flagler County Art League. Some attend the class to learn the art style. Ron attended it to see if he had any talent with it. As it happens, he did, and has spent the last 4 years painting acrylics.
Painting was a perfect companion for another long-time hobby of his: scuba diving. Embracing the freedom of movement below the surface offers Ron the chance to swim alongside the subjects of his paintings. In his piece “Eating Lunch”, Ron mixes the various shades of blue and green one would find when swimming with a turtle and a school of jellyfish under the surface.
As the Flagler Art League continued to offer classes, Ron eagerly attended what he could.
Constant interaction within the community helped guide and develop his personal style. This same style led him to win awards for best in show within the Flagler Art League. It was from this new attention that one of his pieces was bought by the city of Palm Coast. “Gotta Feed the Kids” is a sculpture made from driftwood, rubber, and clay. It is an eagle, perched on a wooden beam, with a snake between its talons. Readers have likely walked past it. It is on display in the city office building, near the licensing and permit office.
“I do it for fun and the relaxation,” Ron says. “I think it’s interesting to go to shows and sell these pieces.” All proceeds go to purchasing more art supplies. “It feeds my supplies and keeps me going.”
Ron acquires his material from a myriad of places. He has used junk people have thrown away, discarded pieces from auto repair shops, and galvanized steel sheets at hardware stores, to name a few. Anything can inspire an idea, which can grow into something wonderful. Some hotels also display his pieces as garden sculptures.
He remains active with the Flagler Art League. “It’s good for the local artist,” he says, discussing the classes and opportunities. “I think art can help the community to some degree.” Ron’s hope is having his eagle at the County Clerk, and other pieces at different hotels in the area, so that artists can get better exposure, and inspire that next generation of artists.
Readers can find Ron’s exhibits in various locations. For the last few years, he displayed his work in art shows in St. Augustine and Daytona. Anytime you might visit expos at the Palm Coast Town Center, or Flagler Beach, among the trail of 10×10 tents you will spot Ron there as well smiling and happy to chat. “I hope I make someone’s life a little nicer by owning a piece I’ve made.”