Anthony was born in Long Beach, California, in 1959, and from an early age showed a distinct interest in the arts. Throughout his formal education years Anthony would demonstrate his artistic talents, often entering student shows and contests, culminating in the coveted Long Beach Art Association student artist grand prize award in 1978.
Over the next twenty years, Anthony continued his artistic pursuits through graphic design and art direction, working for such companies as Lawrence Advertising Family Living Publications.
In 1996 Anthony decided to pursue his dream of becoming a fine artist and entered the Fine Art program at California State University at Fullerton. It was there he completed is Bachelor of Fine Art undergraduate work and earned his degree in drawing and painting with high honors.
While working on his bachelors degree Anthony was busy as a founding member of Legacy Arts, a co-op studio/gallery, located in the then new Artists Village, in Santa Ana, California.
After graduating Anthony moved his studio from his studio/garage at home to a new studio in the historic Santora Building of the Arts, in the Artists Village. In 2004 Anthony outgrew the Santora Studio and moved to Anaheim Hills.
Anthony and his wife--and co-artist--Nancci, now live in beautiful Mariposa, California, the home of Yosemite.
His work is on display daily at his studio/gallery as well at various galleries and art festivals across the country.
About the Work
“This series is about the iconography of the American roadscape as a defining example of our car culture.”
Anthony Ross - 2003
My work has two components: the road, the means we use to “get there” and signs, the visual attractions that beckons us to eat, sleep, or play. I hope to achieve a memory trigger in the viewer that brings back a happy time of a long ago vacation, a brief stop at a hamburger stand in the middle of nowhere, or an air conditioned theater as a rest from a long trip.
I am fascinated by the duality of the communicative need that road signs have to convey; they need to be both functional during the day, and at night. The form and function aspect of neon creates an unintentional process that occurs as you look closely at these images. If the sun is in the right position, shadows form to create an unintentional visual dialog all their own. The neon also develops an abstractive quality that goes beyond their intended functionality. The shapes that compose the images, squares, rectangles, triangles, and arrows, all create complexity from simplicity.
Some of the images I’ve captured are lost to history. “Star” and “Kona Lanes” have been demolished. Others, such as “West” and “Orpheum” are in danger of becoming a distant memory. Most of the images in my work still exist, a tribute to the past and, with some images, a hope for the future. The great period of neon signage, from the thirties to the sixties, was an explosion of creativity and an era of imaginative mixtures of light and steel and a marriage of design and construction.
While researching possible imagery I’m beginning to notice a resurrection of the glory days of road images and, in spite of many municipalities obsession with conformity, insisting on creating “tombstone” style signage (a metaphorical death message?), there is hope that we could be looking at a renaissance that will create new memories for future generations.
About the Process
I begin the creation process by researching possible subject matter, either by remembering interesting locations I’ve passed during my travels: buildings, signage, roads, or by researching locations through books, periodicals, or over the internet. Sometimes a commission project subject matter will be suggested by the collector, however it must fit with the theme of the series. Sometimes serendipity happens and I pass by an interesting subject, or I’ll be waiting at a light and notice interesting lines and shapes forming in the view around me and I’ll take a quick “Hypersketch” with a camera.
I carry two cameras with me at all times–a digital camera, which is my main photographic tool, and a film camera. The digital is used most since it allows several advantages: 1) The images have a greater color saturation without having to manipulate the result, 2) The speed from taking the images to printing it for painting,, 3) expense is kept to a minimum which allows me to take more shots than I would with a film camera. I don’t have to worry about bad shots since there is no developing and printing fee.
I shoot the subject anywhere from 5 to 20 times from varying angles and distances. This allows me room to not only choose an appropriate and creative final image, but since most of my subjects are nowhere near my studio I can paint several versions of the same subject without having to revisit the location.
Most of the road images are taken from the driver’s seat, while I travel. I then transfer the images to my computer and select the image that I want to create. I vary the angles, crop, rotate the image in the computer to create the image that reflects the intention of the series. ‘Once the image is finalized I print out the end result and transfer the image to canvas using either a grid transfer process or utilize an opaque projector.
My canvas is purchased either direct from Stretch-Art, a manufacturer of canvas for retail stores nationwide, or from local retailers. When a project requires a specific size I utilize a local carpenter who specializes in creating canvases (carpentry is not my specialty.) The canvas style I use, called gallery wrap or museum wrap, is my main choice due to two factors: 1) it lends a more contemporary look to a historical subject matter and 2) framing is not necessary which I believe in some cases detracts from the image.
My paintings are created using both brush and airbrush. My main airbrush is a pasche VL for general use and an Iwata HP-C for detail. I use acrylic paints from a variety of manufactures. I generally work from back to front, overlaying the image based on distance. Once in a while I will lay down large blocks of color and then do detail work, but I vary my work style based on the painting subject. Most images take anywhere from 40 hours to 200 or more hours and I work on several works at one time.