rodd ambroson

A bio-vignette by a friend and collector

When you first meet Rodd Ambroson, he’s probably wearing his signature Tilley hat, blue jeans and plaid shirt. He looks like a man who loves the land and, in fact, he does.

He’ll look you straight in the eye. While a steady gaze from some people might make you uncomfortable, Rodd’s eyes twinkle and invite you in. You are interesting. You are a unique part of the world that he loves and celebrates in drawings, paintings, poetry, songs, instrumental compositions and sculptures.

He will easily engage in conversation and, if you tickle his fancy, you might detect a slight blush above his soup-strainer mustache. He takes time for friends and potential friends; yet he somehow finds the time to craft bronze figures so fine and expressive that you can see the soul inside.

From his broad shoulders and planted-on-the-earth stance, you will surmise that he is no stranger to hard work. You will be correct. But you might need to know him for quite a while, or take his friends aside for the inside scoop, before you understand even a bit of his depth of intellect and spirit.

His art, especially his sculpture that is now seeing a spectacular rate of acceptance, speaks for itself in beauty and intelligence. But it still leaves you wondering: how can he create such elegance in clay (just that Biblical “dust of the earth” that we’re all made of)? Simply looking at a piece can inspire the viewer with joy, serenity and gratitude for being human.

With time and the right circumstances, you may penetrate Rodd’s gentle modesty, a little at a time, drawing forth continually amazing revelations. Who can ever know all of Rodd’s secrets? Talent doesn’t lend itself to explanations. But his is no raw talent; it is shaped by the knowledge of the ages and the disciplines of art that Rodd actively pursues. For example:

His university studies include painting, drawing, illustration, sculpture, architecture, mathematics, medicine, physiology, chemistry and anatomy. He has a bachelor’s degree in fine art with a minor in pre-medicine as well as a master’s degree in medical illustration. The latter degree required him to achieve a deeper grasp of anatomy and physiology than is required of physicians. He twice won top national honors for his medical illustrations. He has helped top corporate executives and inventors to success through visual communication, as well as helping “lowly” college students to learn what art is, and how to make it. He once played music professionally, and he once worked as a carpenter in construction. He likes to create. He likes the feel of  “hands-on.” He enjoys his mastery in shaping materials to his good intentions.

He’s the all-American, rugged Westerner, married to his childhood friend, Mary, with kids in college and heading on to careers — just an ordinary guy who happens to have a tremendous intellect and vast reach of knowledge that he will not inflict on you unless you ask for it.

Rodd has no axe to grind. His work is the antithesis of the edgy, angst-ridden art that “holds up a mirror to society.” Society has enough “mirrors” for a funhouse on every street corner. Rodd’s art celebrates the good, the truth, the beauty that is there — there for us — if only we’ll pause to see it.

— Ed Pitts, just a friend and collector