Contributors: Good Humor
December 1, 2011 |  by Kristen Intlekofer

What’s in a name?

Ron Walters

Ron Walters

Little-known fact: Ron Walters, professor and chair of the Department of History, has written more than 100 columns for Johns Hopkins Magazine. You might recognize him more readily as Guido Veloce, the wry voice that has graced the magazine for the past 21 years.

It was after some arm-twisting by then editor Elise Hancock that Walters agreed to write the column in 1990. “Guido was Elise’s idea, pitched over a lunch in Levering. I had no idea what the agenda was and the idea for a column came as a complete surprise,” he recalls. “My initial response was dismay.”

The decision to use a pseudonym was his own, Walters says, to give him the freedom to experiment with different voices and explore topics beyond academia. As for the name Guido Veloce, “That particular name is Italian slang for ‘fast driver,’ but it was also the nickname for my all-time favorite car, a 1977 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce.”

The mind of an artist

Illustrator Pol Turgeon’s creativity began in utero. According to his official bio, “It was while performing a pas de deux in the amniotic fluid that Pol Turgeon managed to wrap the umbilical cord around his neck several times. This traumatic episode has been identified as the psychological wellspring from which all these bizarre and unsettling images flow. It appears that there is no cure!”

The Montreal-based artist draws inspiration from many different sources and likes to experiment, which is evident in his striking illustrations of anthropomorphic half-men (or half-dog, or half-elephant), half-machines with visible joints and moving parts. It’s fitting that he uses a variety of media—ink, gouache, color crayons, transfer, multiple varnishes—to accomplish each distinctive illustration, including the one that accompanies “Forgetting of Things Past” in this issue. Turgeon’s art lends some whimsy to a sobering subject—losing memory. “Creating art has become a way of life,” Turgeon says. “I just could not imagine living without it.”