Paul Polson Fine Art Studio
100 10th Street
Paul Polson, Artist/Owner
Where are you from? What is your background?
In 1948, I was born in Laramie, Wyoming. Following my birth, my family had moved to a small town in Bridger Valley at the base of the Uinta Mountains. This is where I first began to dabble in the world of oil painting and had completed my first piece by the age of 12. As a teenager, I attended Granger High School in the very small town of Granger, Wyoming. By this time, I was painting every day.
I began attending the University of Wyoming where I received a bachelor’s degree in art education, with a focus on painting and sculpture, in 1970.
I was a member of the Army National Guard from 1969 to 1975.
My focus has always been to be a painter. I understood the importance of moving to a larger city with significant opportunities and chose to relocate to San Diego. I immediately moved into a 6,000 square foot ballroom in the Gaslamp Quarter and began my career as a studio artist sacrificing home, family and materialism. To support this lifestyle, I worked in a renowned art gallery and frame shop.
I did post graduate work at San Diego State University and the University of California San Diego.
From 1972 to 1988 I lived and worked primarily in studios. During this period, I created many drawings, paintings (some as large as 14 feet X 10 feet) and sculpture in a variety of mediums. This included life-sized figurative work.
As a member of the San Diego Art Institute, I was involved in many groups, such as the Artists Cooperative Gallery, and also one-man shows in Southern California.
TO SUPPORT MY STUDIO WORK – 1972 to 1988
I taught an adult figure drawing class through ACCESS (an adult alternative school). I worked in galleries, framing and hanging pieces for shows. These were high-end galleries that insisted on using preservation and acid free materials. I also designed and fabricated inflatable sculptures for sports events (including 2 Super Bowls), world fairs and expos, advertisements, movies, music tours, etc.
AFTER SAN DIEGO – 1988 TO THE PRESENT
Beginning in March of 1988, I began traveling throughout Europe. I had traveled for 3 months (10 countries with 10 days in each major city). I visited major art museums, and carried two watercolor blocks to paint as I explored each city. I also took many photographs that I personally developed when I returned to the states.
When I had returned from Europe, I continued my studio work in Seattle at Pioneer Square, and provided figure-drawing workshops.
In 1992, I moved to a large studio in Kitsap to continue my painting and to design and create inflatable sculptures. I had a shop for wood and metal work, another for sewing, design and fabrication, and another for painting and sculpting. I began getting inflatable sculpture commissions for major clients such as Disney, Cirque du Soleil, Radio City, SONY Playstation Entertainment, and MACY’S. In 2004, I fabricated a theater set for the traveling production of “CATS.”
In 2001, I transformed my barn into a painting studio and continued my studio work. I volunteered as an art docent for 9 years while my daughters attended Suquamish Elementary. At the University of Washington, I gave lectures at seminars in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 regarding the significance of mathematics in my artistic career.
I have my work exhibited at Roby King Gallery on Bainbridge Island, the Northwind Art Center in Port Townsend, and I have had two shows at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. I have also given lectures about my philosophy of art, my procedures and the importance of art in society at the museum as well as a demonstration of my techniques.
Throughout my career, I have produced thousands of drawings and paintings. Since 1966, I have continued to paint “on site” landscapes and attend figure-drawing workshops.
How did your business begin? Why Astoria?
I have an extreme interest in pursuing the arts and have pursued that direction my whole life. This includes many years of working in galleries and high-end frame shops.
I had visited Astoria a few times in the past. When I retired, I wanted to move here to continue my studio work and be close enough to Portland to show in galleries. Astoria ignited my creative juices because of the new and astonishing environment and history.
My intent was to get a studio where I could continue painting, and I found this amazing space with a gallery potential. I also realized that there is a thriving and growing art community in Astoria.
Who is your ideal customer?
Most importantly, I want to create new artwork. I am also interested in showing and selling my work. I would like to present quality artwork and present other artists in the Astoria area. My gallery will give the artists in the area another venue to display their work.
What makes your studio stand out?
I believe that my experience will add to the growing Astoria art community. The experiences I have had helped me develop a unique style, and I want to not only be part of the art community, but to also be a factor in its growth and development. My love of education and desire to share my experiences will add to the community and help me grow and learn from others.
What is your dream for Downtown Astoria?
My lifetime experience of working in galleries and showing my work – I hope – will be a positive addition to the art community and identity of Astoria.