Ron Gibian

Visalia, CA

Ron Gibian, art kite maker, creates kites evocative of nature, the modern world, whimsy, and architecture.

Ron Gibian has been making works of art that fly for over 30 years.

His creations have won hundreds of awards on five continents.

He’s been recognized by the American Kiteflier’s Association as their Grand Champion once and recipient of their People’s choice Award several times as well as a special lifetime achievement award.

His kites embrace highly stylistic themes drawn from nature, architecture, and childlike whimsy.

Aside from being a master kite builder Ron is an accomplished musician having made a living for years as a drummer and percussionist. He has played the Nevada circuit and the LA scene and has toured and been on stage with many musical legends of the 1970’s and early 80’s.

Ron Gibian has been making kites since 1985. Recognized around the world for his unique light weight super strong kites that are patterned after his interpretations of nature, childlike delights, techno, and architecture. To own a Gibian kite is to own one of the genuine masterpieces of tethered art. He has won hundreds of awards on five continents and been to 26 countries and 30 states to display his kites.

Ron very much credits all his success to his parents, his wife and the many friends he has made both in kiting and music. Not only is Ron a master kite builder but he is an accomplished professional drummer and percussionist having played the Nevada circuit and the LA scene and been on stage and toured with many musical legends of the 1970’s and early 80’s. Currently, he performs with Zzah, a band popular on the west coast and performs with many of the great names of jazz today.

Ron is the son of a famous Chilean artist, Gerardo Gibian, who emigrated from Austria to Chile in 1939. His father began with a photographic studio and soon had a publicity, graphic design and advertizing company. His clients included the government’s tourism board, and later Max Factor. Today students of advertizing and graphic design in Chile study Ron’s father’s work at the universities. It was there in Santiago that Ron grew up. His mom had a high fashion couture business. Ron can remember walking home from school and seeing his mom’s creations draped on the models in the windows of high end department stores. But most of all what Ron recalls is the constant world of art, music and creative life that pulsed through his childhood house. There was a serenity and security to it all. Young Ron was never far from his dad’s tilt top artist table with colored pencils at the ready. He liked to sketch and, in school, to drum with those pencils – constantly getting in trouble because of it.

His wife Sandy grew up in California where her dad had a sewing machine repair shop. She learned at an early age how to tinker with mechanical things and learned sewing along the way. “I couldn’t have done it without her,” says Ron. “Especially in the early days, I could have never gotten all those kites sewn in time to make the festivals that I did. She is my rock, my soul mate, the love of my life.” While Sandy still helps out from time to time she is more focused on her own real estate business.

Ron’s body of work runs the full gamut of kite design from figure kites to cellular box kites. Some of his major themes are:

- Colorful Graphics - including children’s themed kites and “kites of whimsy.” This would include his early Charlie Chaplin kites because, as a kid, Chaplin was the man who made him laugh.

- Nature – whether it be his Reef Series (“I put on my kites what I saw in the water when diving.”) or his insects, birds, or stylized three dimensional sculptures.

- Techno – “I kind of got into this whole highly stylized look with lines and dots. Someone said it looked like a circuit board.” These kites due to their use of minimum color and highly stylized parallel line and dot design invoke thoughts of Frank Lloyd Wright or give the impression of being a close up look at a circuit board magnified thousands of times.

- Archi-Rhythm – This work of Ron’s is a return to the techno look but updated both in design and construction. He was greatly influenced by what he saw in a visit to downtown Chicago, its architecture, including glass and pyramids and lines everywhere. His sense of rhythm from his percussion side seemed to play a part as well and hence the name. These kites use atonal coloring such as mango gold with subtle shades of white, gray, and black.

- Roundtuits – Ron’s most recent work involves a return modern abstract design. These circular kites called “roundtuits” as he “gets around to it.” They are based on a classic Japanese round kite design.

“I try to build the strongest, lightest frames and kite skins I can so that my creations will fly in the widest range of winds possible,” says Ron. “It is also important to understand the placement of cross spars to make the best aerodynamic shape and to give a lot of consideration as to how the bridles, the kite lines that attach to the kite, add support to the overall structure. One of my signature kite designs is called Astralglide. These kites can fly in very light air, even indoors, to strong sub-gale force winds.”

Ron has not only entertained and displayed his kites in the air and at festivals he has done numerous gallery installations as well. He has served on the Art Kite Committee of the American Kitefliers Association where he has helped select an individual artist to display their work at the association’s annual convention. He was flabbergasted and humbled, when after serving for five years and having stepped down from the committee, the Association bestowed him the highly coveted and prestigious Lee Toy Award for excellence in kite art. “That award is not for one kite but for all of them, the whole body of work. I was a great admirer of Lee and to be recognized by my fellow kitemakers in the same breath as Lee has been one of the highlights of my life.”

More than the awards and the acclimation he has won, what gives him the most satisfaction is helping other artists who are coming along behind him. He has given numerous workshops coast to coast and abroad, and tutoring sessions to up and coming hobbyists, artists, and fliers. “the progress that some of these students have made through the years is of great satisfaction to me.”

Ron Gibian has found inspiration for his kites and aerial sculptures in nature. Whether it be insects, birds or fish all have been sources of inspiration for his single surface kites as well as his more complicated three dimensional objects. "What I want to do in the sky is to create inspiring visual images" said Ron. "I want to inspire, excite, and provoke those who are looking at the works, to confront their own sensibilities so that they can see the sky and the world in a new more open way."

Ron Gibian has taught many, many workshops world-wide. His creations have won hundreds of awards on five continents. He’s been recognized by the American Kiteflier’s Association as their Grand Champion once and recipient of their People’s choice Award several times as well as a special lifetime achievement award, the Lee Toy Award.