Ron Snodgrass works with mirrors, not glass. His work varies from the contemporary to the abstract. Snodgrass’ pieces are sometimes functional mirrors masquerading as art. He often uses colored mirrors for wall hangings, tables, pedestals, or partitions. Mirrors cover the walls in the bathroom inside his Evansville studio and gallery (1324 N. Fares Ave.). The ceiling, too, is an arrangement of mirrored pieces placed precisely. It is no funhouse. It is art.
Snodgrass, though, calls himself a craftsman. He began his work on a whim in 1973. The former traveling businessman now has perfected his work and transformed it into his passion. He draws a design, cuts mirrored pieces, smoothes the edges of each piece, and glues them together. The results appear in shows across the country from south Florida to Las Vegas. Currently, the 70-year-old’s work is in the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana’s Bower-Suhrheinrich Foundation Gallery Downtown.
My parents survived the Depression. It was “work to survive.” They didn’t have time for art.
I graduated college, and people say, “You’re doing this?”
I got my degree in business from Murray State (a university in Murray, Ky.). It’s one of those kinds of degrees that you don’t specifically need except to get your foot in the door. The degree is a prerequisite for an interview, and I’m not sure why.
I worked for a furniture company in Jasper, Ind. I traveled the whole state of Indiana, Kentucky, and half of Illinois. I would go to the big cities looking for contemporary furniture. I wanted a mirrored cube. I saw one I liked, and they wanted 60 bucks for it. This is the ’70s, so I said, “Sixty bucks? You kidding me?” I went and bought pre-made mirror squares. I got some glue and some sticks. It cost me four bucks.
I got some clay pots and started gluing (mirrored) pieces to them with nothing in particular in mind. Later, I stopped in Marion, Ind., and this gal had a contemporary shop. I brought my flower pots in. She sold those things for 60 bucks a piece. I thought people were nuts. Sixty dollars for a flower pot?
The first piece (of artwork) I ever made looks like Fred Flintstone did it. It was fine at the time, but I used the wrong glues. I used the wrong everything. I found out how to do (my art) by trial and error.
I don’t even hold a cutter like stained glass people do.
I went to a show in Las Vegas. I had (a piece depicting) an elephant. It was six feet tall and four feet wide. A potential buyer asked me how I did this, how many I was going to do, and how much it was. He was interested in the process and the exclusivity of it. I rely on people who really like unique.
A guy who does what I do never gets tired of the sale, the thrill. It’s an ego trip that any artist can never get over.
I’ll probably be over 90 years old, and someone will find me lying on the studio floor. That’s OK by me.