Born in Los Angeles in 1952 and raised near the beach in Venice, CA, Ralph was influenced by his parents’ artistic hobbies. His mother painted with oils and made jewelry, his father enjoyed both woodcarving and charcoal drawing.  As a child Ralph liked drawing and putting plastic model cars together, adding details like black thread for spark plug wires and shock absorbers from ballpoint pen springs.  In 1972 he was accepted to the apprentice prop makers program for the Motion Picture Industry.  During the seasonal lay-off in 1975 he was offered a job working on boats in Marina del Rey.  His boss asked if he could paint and put a brush in his hand. He painted the hull of a 30-foot sport fishing boat with nowhere to stop except the opposite end from which he started and managed to keep a wet edge the length of the boat hull with no dry spots and barely a brush mark. He enjoyed marine painting and the challenges he encountered in marine woodworking which required working with unusual angles and shapes. He moved to Sonoma County in 1981 and has lived in Sebastopol since 1991.

In 1982, entry of a pair of carved walnut candle holders in the annual Sonoma County Woodworkers Show Artistry in Wood led to a chance meeting with local architect Larry Simons, who commissioned Ralph to hand carve a design on the outside entry wall of his home. The 8’ by 36’ profile of a horse’s head with flowing mane was adapted from a sketch by artist Nancy Chien-Ericksen. Employed for several years by Simons and his partner James Brecht, Ralph’s works can be seen in many of the buildings they designed and constructed around Santa Rosa.

Ralph works with wood, metal, and fiberglass, and makes molds and castings in various mediums.  He spent several years making abstract fiberglass sculptures influenced by the works of mathematician David Hoffman and others in the area of ‘minimal surfaces’, and Berkeley based Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) awards generous supporters a small bronze sculpture of a ‘Chen-Gackstatter’ minimal surface designed by Ralph. In the mid 90’s, his 4’ diameter fiberglass representation of a ‘Costa’ minimal surface traveled the country with the Maryland Science Center and George Washington University collaborative tour Beyond Numbers.

Returning to the challenge of working with wood in designs that incorporate unusual angles and shapes, Ralph’s current passion is creating bowls and containers, using a stave style construction technique.