Written by Andi Agnew and Sophie McNeil Wolf | Photographed by Tate Nations
Born and raised in south and west Jackson, 45 year-old Ron Chane – “Chane” to just about everyone who knows him – has been a fixture in Fondren for over a decade. He is known for his successful businesses, Studio Chane, Swell-o-phonic and Wilai, and he recently opened The Wonder Lab, an art incubator space. In the last two years, he has also become known as the “FFT guy,” responsible for throwing Fondren’s biggest party every first Thursday of the month (returning March 2016). Not one to sit still for very long, Chane took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk life and inspiration.
Katie Jo and I eloped on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York a one year ago on December 12. Married life let me know that, in any relationship there must be an adult, and that’s not me. I still have the creative need to be back and forth between here and New York, but it has given me a new priority for the amount of time I’m willing to dedicate to FFT next year. She never balks when I bring work home every night.
In the morning, you’d see me bolt out of my home on my fixie, rushing to work like it’s on fire. I’m an annoying morning person. The first three hours, I’ll be in the Studio Chane space working on FFT before the doors unlock. When the doors unlock, I’m in Studio Chane mode. Morning is centered around retail and the boutiques, looking at marketing, meeting with managers, being in front of customers, “nitpicking” displays in the store. The Wonderlab is from 12:00-1:00, and then everything miscellaneous happens in the afternoon – deliveries, promotion, meetings, lunch… the goal is that between 4:00 and 5:00 the phone cuts off and it’s time for dreaming in the Wonderlab – then barreling out of Fondren back home.
My creative icon is Jean-Michel Basquiat. A well known New York artist – he had a great sense of street art – his work was childlike. A few weeks ago I took my paintbrush back out (in his own space in the Wonderlab) and he was a big factor in my inspiration. I got inspired and took off back to New York. I’m supposed to be a street artist and gallery artist. The event and businesses are good and successful, but I need to go back to where the spirit is. I thought it would be quite hypocritical to tell everyone to go take a leap when I didn’t take one, so I’ve done it, and I completed my first two pieces. Brooklyn Industries has inspired me on the business side. I’ve seen them start as this T-shirt line in New York City and blossom into this group of really smart but different stores all over the city.
It’s hard to choose around here. Anytime Derek Emerson does anything with shrimp it’s kind of hard not to notice that. La Brioche used to have a blueberry tart that was very notable and out of this world. Rooster’s kills it with hamburger steak. That crack sauce and fried green tomatoes at Pig & Pint is hard to fight. Then some nights you’ve just got to go to Sal & Mookies for the Turkey Lurkey burger with fries. There’s not just one good one – Fondren is what it is – people know it for the food for a reason.
Hole in the wall restaurants where no one knows my name. Gulf Shores, Alabama – I know I can get in my eight foot john boat and fish on the back bay. It’s good to fish, eat and unplug for a few days, come back recharged and inspired. Gulf Shores inspires me because it’s one of the places I lived before I came back to Jackson.