Of all the brilliant and amazing people I have encountered here, none are as dear to me as Mr. Ron Turner of Last Gasp. He’s equal parts underground comic book publishing icon, art collector extraordinaire, genuine gentleman, and dirty old man.
[...] Ron, with his long white beard and rosy cheeks, is a man who has rubbed shoulders with Timothy Leary, received fan letters from Charles Manson, and discovered important artists like R. Crumb. Yet he still has the dignified character to make every person in the room feel just as interesting as the legends he shares his delightfully interesting past with.”
Truer and more accurate words were never spoken! Nadya and I had the pleasure of taking Mr. Turner out to a business lunch in SF early last year. Our valiant-but-inevitably-hopeless attempts at verbally “one-upping” this unflappable pervert, this wondrous wizard, this mischievous genius, over quivering bowls of Cafe Gratitude porridge, resulted in one of the most memorable, not to mention visceral, professional lunches Coilhouse will ever host.*
After our meal, Ron graciously invited us back to Last Gasp headquarters, which feels simultaneously like a publisher’s warehouse and a cozily vibrant museum, thanks to his astonishing personal collection of books, prints, original artwork, vintage magician posters, carny ephemera, taxidermy, etc. Another treasured memory. Be sure to check out Darling’s photographs of Ron’s office, as well as his and his wife Carol Sue’s wondrous home. So great. We adore this man. Art crush, for sure.
Photo of Ron Turner by Pilar Vree for artbusiness.com.
*I’m honestly not sure how it happened, but we ended up spending approximately 91% of our summit with this legendary gentleman gabbing about about strap-ons and breathatarians and fecal impaction and ejaculate –the Landmark hippie vegans were nonplussed, lemme tell ya– and perhaps 9% of it discussing business strategy. (Though, to be fair, it was very powerful and insightful 9%.) BEST BUSINESS LUNCH EVAR.