The following drawings were made by the outsider artist Ron Franciere. Most are self portraits. Each tells a small story. They were created between 1962 to 1988.
Over the upcoming months, I’ll be posting a new drawing each day.
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Ron Franciere was something of a mystery to me. Ran into many dead ends trying to find information on him. I posted some images on my website Bighappyfunhouse. I received emails that held a few stories of Ron and his life - but nothing ever lead me to contacting Ron Franciere. Then, I received an anonymous comment on my website.
"I do know the artist that drew these. He is in a senior care facility in MN where my Dad currently resides. He has quite a few additional drawings on his walls and in a portfolio case. He is a fascinating man with many incredible stories."
I asked the commenter to contact me - but he never did. My website system allows me to see the IP address of people who leave comments. I did a quick search of that anonymous commenter. It lead me to a small town in Minnesota. The next step was to Google all of the retirement homes in the area. The list was small.
I called each home and ask to speak with Ron Franciere. On the third call, the person who answered the phone said. (in a very Minnesota accent) “Oh ya want to speak with Ron? Hold on a sec and I’ll get him for you.”.
I really didn’t know how to start the conversation. But when he got on the phone it was like I had dialed up an old friend. We just started talking - and the words just flowed. Speaking to Ron, I felt as if he was reading directly from one of his drawings. He started to tell me the story of his life -and the story of his art.
We had many phone conversations over the next few weeks. I can’t even begin to explain how fascinating this man is. The stories he told were amazing…. most of it was the way he told them. He was an artist with his speech as well as with his drawings.
He asked me to come up to visit him. I made the trip up to Minnesota and spent the afternoon with Ron Franciere. Over lunch at a local restaurant, he talked about his art, his life, his adventures. We talked about setting up a site to let people see his art. He loved the idea.
I recently called to speak with Ron - and was told he had passed away.