story & photo
by Christopher Annino
“It is amazing having him here,” said Chris Rose, Art Director, Lighthouse Voc-ed Center. “Each person has a different view on the pieces, but each person can’t deny that his pieces tell a story.”
Ralph grew up in a rough neighborhood in Bridgeport. Eventually, his parents moved and Ralph and his brother made the huge transition to Choate Rosemary Hall, a prep school in Wallingford, where actor Michael Douglas also attended.
In school, Ralph was very productive and had a keen interest in working with muscle cars. He went on to earn a Bachelors of Fine Art and a Masters of Science, from the University of Bridgeport.
Feeling like an artist stuck in an engineers body, Ralph stuck to what was true to his heart and focused his life on developing his skill as an artist. “When you look at a project that I just recently finished, that piece is actually 40-years-old because it took that long to hone and fine tune it as something real,” said Ralph.
Ralph’s teaching career spans for more than 25 years. For 19 years he taught and was head of the art department at the Children’s Center, Hamden, for disadvantaged kids. “Many of the kids weren’t going to be able to live normal lives because of the torment that they went through prior to them coming to the center. But they are some of the most creative and inspirational people that I have ever met,” said Ralph.
Being a Zen Buddhist, Ralph views people for who they are not what they are and enjoys life and people. “Artists act as a medium in society; they have acceptance by the rich and poor,” said Ralph. “I remember going to a car show and bringing some of my art with me, and the Hells Angels approached me all of a sudden. I had an amazing conversation with them. One of them was actually an art enthusiast and hired me to paint a picture of an Egyptian pharaoh riding a chopper motorcycle.”
For more information about the display at the Lighthouse Voc-ed Center call 860.445.7626 x 108.