2023 The John Sims Legacy Award Recipient
For over fifty years Gale Fulton Ross has made an impression on the world with her expansive skills as an artist. Her work reflects themes of the world she has grown up in: events, emotions, a broad and diverse mix of cultural experiences; she is a passionate voice of the Black experience in America.As she has evolved from apprentice to modern master, she has produced a prolific body of work spanning styles of figurative and abstract, sculpture and portraiture. Today, her creativity knows no bounds.
Her career ambitions developed at an early age under the influence of her father, whose nickname for her, “baby artist”, later became the title of a PBS documentary. Herman Ross was himself a creative pioneer in the nascent days of industrial design who piqued his daughter’s imagination with his concept of the Cadillac “fin”.
“My father worked as a body and fender man for a small Cadillac and Oldsmobile dealership in Malden, Massachusetts,” Fulton Ross writes. “His job was to knock the dents out of people’s vehicles and repair the damage. He was not a designer for the company but he was a frustrated artist. I was seven when he brought home a beat-up Oldsmobile and an equally beat-up Cadillac. He combined them into one car, a white Cadillac convertible with the grille from the Oldsmobile and fitted it with outrageously deliberate pointed fins in the back.”
Her innate artistic talent won awards in high school and placement in art college. Afterwards she embarked on a career path that took her throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States, during which she developed her skills under the mentorship of established artists such as Pierre Parsus of France and Cleveland Bellow of California. Along the way she established studios in New York, Florida and, most recently, California.
Back at home, her renown quietly but steadily expanded. Her works can now be seen in museums, universities, and private collections around America. As she evolved into a master, she also became an active supporter of the arts, an art educator, the creator of an art foundation dedicated to developing young artists, and the recipient of a major public art commission for her work in sculpture.
She currently works from a studio in Camarillo, California where, inspired by the racial justice movement resulting from the tumultuous events of 2020, she is creating an exhibition in homage to the activist Black artists and thinkers of the 60s.