Ross Turner’s parents won him as the 2nd place prize in a watermelon-eating contest at the Yockanookany County Fair in 1986. He grew up in Chickenbone, Mississippi, subsisting on a heart-healthy diet of fried catfish, fried okra, and fried Dr Pepper. Ross spent his days chasing frogs in shallow creeks, wrestling with dogs, building forts, and drawing stuff; and his nights sleeping in the greatest tree house ever built. It’s a crying shame he had to grow up.
Ross’ current work is largely inspired by the rich tradition of folklore in the American South, where narration still holds strong social significance and is implemented to convey values, bring people together, and imbue life with art. Qualities of Old World folktales, such as the hero’s journey, enchanted objects, and terrifying creatures are still utilized in storytelling throughout. Paying homage to this age-old tradition, he invites the viewer to explore Mythossippi — a fictional locale fabricated from a light-hearted critique of the contemporary American South using traditional folklore and personal narratives to weave a humorous tall tale.
Mythossippi is shown through individual print works as well as environmental installations; utilizing a combination of sculptural forms, printmaking techniques, found objects, sound, smell, and light where the viewer can suspend disbelief and allow themselves to surrender to the whimsical, the comedic, the ominous, and the foreboding.
Currently working on the next chapter in Mythossippi, the Dirt Road of Trials.
I’m currently an Adjunct Professor at the Tulane University School of Professional Advancement in the Digital Design Department. Teaching History of Graphic Design, Digital Design Foundations, Foundations of Art, and helping to create new and update existing curriculum.
You can follow Ross on Instagram, @rossissippi_