by eric staniford
Jacksonville’s own Ronnie Land (RLand) returns for a showcase of new works at the Gallery at Screen Arts in St. Augustine. Starting with band flyers, t-shirts, his distinctive Little Bunny Foo-Foo character and cover art for EU, Ronnie has become more than just a local celebrity. His work is instantly recognizable, with a strong, rough line quality, bright colors, cartoonish text and characters morphing between reality and fantasy. His eccentric figures could be mistaken for cute were it not for their melting, oozing bodies, big bug eyes and the blatant sarcastic humor that accompanies them.
The RLand exhibit will be available for your enjoyment December 5 – January 31. The opening party is December 5 from 6 pm to midnight at The Gallery at Screen Arts (228 W. King Street, St. Augustine).
RLand is part of EU’s contributing family and his creations have graced our cover, so even though he’s a distant cousin (now in Atlanta), we like to keep track and caught up with Ronnie to get the latest on what he’s bringing home to show us.
EU: What is the key to getting art noticed in Jacksonville?
RL: As much as Jacksonville seemed to be a fairly limited place for an artist 20 years ago, I always remained optimistic and even imagined it to be much more than it actually was. What I was doing back then didn’t really fit in with what was going on in world of the art establishment in town, so I would figure out ways to “infiltrate” other parts of the community outside of the sacred galleries. House parties, new wave bars, hair salons, restaurants, local publications and the like were the kinds of places I could find acceptance and a larger and more varied audience. To this day that approach still works very well and has expanded to include just about any approach imaginable.
EU: How did Jacksonville shape your art?
RL: I’m from a long line of “Jacksonvillans” and I think growing up in Jax and all that First Coast living entails, i.e. the religious environment, the natural topography, small town attitude and the charm of the historic neighborhoods etcetera, have all factored into my process in profound ways. The longer I stay away, the more I realize that.
EU: Without giving too much away, what kind of new work are you showing at the Gallery at Screen Arts in December?
RL: Most of it will be stuff I did when I was a baby, the rest was made when I was ON somthin’, you know, when I was messed up.
EU: How do you explain the omnipresence of the Loss Cat fliers?
RL: The flier itself started out one night as a little goof that was meant just to amuse myself and my immediate neighborhood. Within six months it had spread far and wide. Seven years later, I am amazed at how it has become the foamy gift that just keeps on giving.
EU: Has there been any new Cartoon Network projects in the works after the Aqua Teen Hunger Force collection?
RL: Since then I’ve worked on various other projects for the network and for the last six months. I’ve been designing characters for a new show on Adult Swim.
EU: Are there any other issues you would like to take on (or are currently taking on) in the way you did the “Yuppie Ghetto” project?
RL: That kind of “campaigning” is what I do in the wee, wee hours when I need to take a break from the studio. Part of the appeal for me in the process is the anonymity of it all. So to call out the particulars would undermine the integrity of current and future projects but, that sort of activity really helps keep things fresh.
EU: What’s next?
RL: I’ll just try to figure out what role an artist has to play in these last days before Christ returns and whether any of it really matters.
Life After Loss Cat
by eric staniford