Ketchum was born July 10, 1930, in Binghamton, New York. His artistic development began at age 6 or 7, when he showed interest in his mother’s bird drawings.
During high school, Ketchum won scholarships to a private fine arts school for weekend lessons. One of his instructors encouraged him to enter the National Scholarship Art contest. Ketchum not only won a scholarship to the Rochester Institute of Technology, but also won a national award and 7 gold medals locally. His primary subject matter was landscapes done in oil and watercolor.
After graduating from RIT, he met Jerry Kilborn at Hutchins Advertising, where both were staff artists. In 1956, Ketchum and Kilborn, along with Dick Lubey, decided to create Kilborn Studios, which eventually became Ron Ketchum Associates, one of the largest commercial art studios in upstate New York. R.T. French, Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb, IBM, Finger Lakes Chemical, Corning Glass, and Unisys all commissioned work from the group. Ketchum won several awards in the graphic arts industry.
In 1979, Ketchum moved his studio to 10 Prince Street. There he established Graphic Careers, a commercial arts school with a one-year program that would be affordable to students with talent and the desire to get into the commercial art business. Housing the studio and the school in the same building gave students hands-on training with professionals.
In 1987, Ketchum limited his commercial artwork and began painting in a variety of techniques and subject matter. Currently, his work can be seen at the Lower Mill Gallery in Honeoye Falls and his personal gallery in Honeoye Falls.