Writer Finds New Life in his Hands- Potter Ron Arias (Peru 1963-65)
Ron’s first book was The Road to Tamazunchale, published by Bilingual Press in 1992. He then wrote Five Against the Sea, which grew out of an article that he wrote for People. He co-authored, Healing from the Heartwith the famous Dr. Mehmet Oz, published by Dutton in 1998. With Paul D. White Ron wrote White’s Rules: Saving Our Youth One Kid at a Time, a story of a Canoga Park teacher’s response to killing of a student , published in 2007 by Random House. His memoir of his father, published by Bilingual Review Press, was entitled, Moving Target. It came out in 2002.
By then, he had left People and returned to his home in Southern California. Rob’s brother, Bob, also was an early PCV, served in Colombia, later was on the Peace Corps staff overseas and in D.C., and today is a Crisis Corps (Response) Peace Corps Volunteer, back in Colombia.
This article on Ron is from Easy Reader News the largest news and information site dedicated to covering Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.]
Ron Arias shows one of his beach scenes drawn from a photograph of the strand behind him. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan
Ron Arias, a 71-year-old L.A native and world traveler, has his own Wikipedia page. A former People magazine journalist, Arias spent most of his life chasing heavy-hitting stories of struggle, celebrity and triumph. He is most famous for his stories of survival and for traversing many of the most dangerous areas of the world. He has turned many of his adventures, including his time in the Peace Corps, into novels.
These days Arias can often be found in his home workshop in Hermosa Beach molding clay and drawing calm South Bay beach scenes.
“It’s a different world,” said Arias. “To me this is more contemplative. Journalism is go-go-go.”
As a full-time writer, Arias never had time to sit down and work with his hand and only thought he could draw stick figures.
“I never knew I could draw. I couldn’t even draw a face, just a smiley face,” said Arias.
When he retired he automatically thought he would continue writing, because, “A writer writes.” But after teaching biography writing classes Arias wasn’t feeling the usual inspiration and knew it was time to make a change. Years before, he had taken a pottery class, but his hands wouldn’t mold what he wanted and he moved on. While Arias was adjusting to retired life, his wife Joan was taking a class at El Camino College, and just to fill-in the hours he started a ceramics class and realized that unlike before, his hands knew what to do.
“I didn’t know I had the ability to work with my hands, not just my brain,” Arias said. “I saw someone cleaning up a tub of clay and fell in love with it when I first touched it.”
He finds throwing pots and painting scenes calming and even while on vacation seeks out local potters and sculptures to learn about their different styles and processes.
He began painting beach scenes, and Bryce Toney, owner of the local store “Curious…”, recognized his skill and asked him to create a few pieces for his shop. Now, Arias spends much of his time creating new pieces and finding inspiration in the colors and scenes of local beaches, street scenes and his most famous drawing, a whale tail diving into the bay.
“To me the white [of the clay] is a canvas,” said Arias. “I’m gonna paint something that inspires me. I live here, I like the place; I’m part of the community. In a way I’m creating something to give back.”
Arias’ pieces range from $20 – $50 and can be found at “Curious…” at 128 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach. He also does custom scenes.
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Thanks John…my brother Ron is very special to me and my other brother Armand…Ron has talent that is off the chart, and his wife Joan is a big part of his life and the direction he is going. Our family was always proud of Ronnie! We are a Peace Corps family!
Peace Corps Response Volunteer/Colombia