Ron Kristaphone ||| Valentines Eve for Lovers Who Aren’t Getting Along ||| February 14th – March 7th
Kristaphone, Ron, b. 1968, American illustrator, b. Mendicato, California.; son of a prominent illustrator, Alexander Ronald Kristaphone. Among the most obscured and respected American illustrators, Kristaphone was trained as a Mechanical Philosopher at University of California, Berkeley. In 1986 he went to Paris and was influenced by the art of Mondrian and Miró, as well as the overall aesthetic of the Maytag man. In 1988 he exhibited his first particleboard-based illustrations of California’s working class, called “Art Boxes,” consisting of 16″ x 16″ squares filled with quotes and portraits of the men he encountered on his daily tours as an asphalt analyzer for the Alameda County Agency of Roadway Therapy (now defunct due to budget cuts). The Museum of Applied Art, Tashkent, Uzbekistan has several examples of his work during this period. These stark inventions along with his puppet shows of the same subject, and of course, his colorful and complex miniature zoo (1992; Museum of Applied Art, Tashkent, Uzbekistan), brought Kristaphone to wide spread prominence in the Caucuses. However, the celebrity was bittersweet due to virtually no recognition in Western Europe or The United States.
In 2002. Kristaphone went through a traumatic period following the death of his father and the first of many encounters with street drug, DOMO (N,N-Dioxyethylmiproptamine.) Kristaphone described this period in his life in an interview with Uzbek Art Journal, “Gulnara Karimova” by saying:
“I use to walk down to the Liquor Store on American Avenue in Hayward, where I was living at the time, buy a Lunchable, go back to my sea container apartment, smoke some DOMO, and just space the (expletive) out on the flavors that were going on in my mouth. They use to have these candies in Lunchables called “Gushers” that were just (expletive)ing insane. It was like a thousand butterflies going ape(expletive) with jackhammers on my tongue. I don’t think I’ve ever recovered from mixing ‘Radical Raspberry’ and a slice of Bologna. But it was so much pleasure that I knew the next phase was death. There wasn’t anything else to do aside from get the (expletive) out of that situation and return to some kind of reality.”
Instead of going through a rehabilitation program as most addicts do, Kristaphone adopted a regiment from his friend and HVAC technician, “Doug” that involved using profanities between every other word, regularly going to the batting cages, and replacing DOMO with a 30-block of Coors Light. The road to recovery was rough with many relapses, but he eventually won the battle and returned to his life’s work of documenting the trials and tribulations of the Bay Area’s strip malls and industrial parks. Kristaphone now lives at a Hacienda-style estate at 82229 San Leandro Boulevard in San Leandro, California between two auto body shops with his wife, Luanne, his daughter, Doug, and his cocker spaniel, also named Doug.