The People Behind Our Products: Ken & Ruth Vonderberg

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Ken and Ruth Vonderberg Art Olson House
“Actually, design drew us together! We met when Ruth was an executive at the HQ of a local savings and loan and hired Ken to redesign her department’s space. Family and work were a priority before retirement. Ruth retired before Ken and started to experiment with art as an avocation. When Ken retired we decided to lease studio space in the Marshall Building in the Third Ward where we lived and pursued art together on a more formal basis.” -Ken Vonderberg
Ken and Ruth Vonderberg Olson House
Olson House (OH): Ken & Ruth Vonderberg, what a dynamic duo! We love having both of your work side-by-side in our store. Have you always created art together? Is art something that drew you together at the beginning of your relationship? Where did you meet?
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Vonderbergs (V): Ruth didn’t take up art as a separate pursuit until she retired whereas Ken has been an artist since childhood. Ruth’s education and then practice for 20 years as a graphic designer influenced her later in life when she decided to do abstract art. Ken had intended to become an illustrator in college but became interested in industrial design and switched majors. He then practiced contract (commercial) interior design for 25 years and taught it for19 years until he retired at which time he too decided to pursue fine art again.
Actually, design drew us together! We met when Ruth was an executive at the HQ of a local savings and loan and hired Ken to redesign her department’s space.
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OH: Have you always made time for your personal work throughout your career before retiring?
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V: Family and work were a priority before retirement. Ruth retired before Ken and started to experiment with art as an avocation. When Ken retired we decided to lease studio space in the Marshall Building in the Third Ward where we lived and pursued art together on a more formal basis.
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OH: What inspires you? And does it differ based on which medium you are drawn to with a specific image in mind?
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V: Ruth is inspired by the materials and media themselves. As she experiments with them images and compositions develop which she can then further revise and layer as she finds visual interest emerging. She may start with a specific thought or subject which morphs in unexpected ways.
Ken is a representational artist who is inspired by the human face and figure, wild landscapes, humorous images and design.
Both Ruth and Ken work in various media and do find that the medium has a definite bearing on what each may want to represent or in what style the finished work might develop.
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Ruth Vonderberg Art Olson House
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Ken Vonderberg Art Olson House
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OH: Do you have a routine before beginning a new piece or sitting down to create (i.e. music, coffee, sunny/rainy day) or do you just jump right in?
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V: We don’t have a specific routine and Ruth is more inclined to jump right in but Ken tends to research images and subjects or take photos which can be used for reference.
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Ken and Ruth Vonderberg Olson House

Shop the Vonderberg's Artwork at Olson House

RUTH VONDERBERG "CARIBBEAN"

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KEN VONDERBERG “EVERGREEN FALLS”

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RUTH VONDERBERG "OCEAN"

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KEN VONDERBERG “BIRCH STAND”

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