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Art & Life with Paula Ogier

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paula Ogier.

Paula, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I took a curvy route to my current life as an artist. I have been a freelance writer, waitress, yacht club concierge, beer tap assembler, proofreader, lecture series producer, health food store cashier, hotel switchboard operator, dogwalker, you name it! As a kid I was obsessive about taking photos and throughout my life I played with a variety of art mediums. Up until a few decades ago, however, my medium hadn’t yet been invented!

I got a certificate in Production Art in the 80s, when computers weren’t yet being used for that purpose. We learned to make art into separate color layers in preparation for printing. I also learned to make packaging art, so I’d sometimes be up at night taking apart Kleenex boxes or CD packages to study the placement of art and text.
After a 7-year detour through the hotel industry, I went to work for an adult education center where I became part of a catalog production team. My Mac at work had Photoshop, used mainly to resize photos. When I discovered the paint tools, I got Photoshop on my home computer and took up digital painting. Classes I took in Photoshop were fruitless, as they didn’t teach painting with it. So, I just dove in and experimented, and now, almost 20 years later, I consider digital paint to be my medium.

In the beginning, it was a clunky process; I used a mouse to apply color. It was so imprecise. Later I moved to a laptop track pad, and then to a Wacom pen and tablet that I’d draw on while watching my marks materialize on a computer screen. There’s an eye-hand disconnect to that process, but it was a big improvement over earlier method. When I finally coughed up the money for Wacom’s Cintiq model, it was so much fun to be able to draw with a pen directly on a monitor screen! At long last, I could have a natural drawing experience when applying digital paint.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I call myself a digital and mixed media artist. I apply digital paint to my photography, paper collages, carved impressions, colored pencil drawings, and more. And sometimes I just apply it to a blank screen. I save the final images as digital files and have them professionally printed on paper. I’ve worked with the same printer (local photographer Mark Peterson) for eight years now because he does such a fine job.

My art is inspired by city life, architecture, and the juxtaposition of historic and modern elements in Boston, as well as by animals and humor. I express my own romanticized view of city life by highlighting and transforming architectural elements and street scenes with color and imagination. I am one of those “not afraid of color” artists. Color is key for setting the mood in my work. I love when people find something to laugh about or be surprised by in my art. I also love when they say looking at the art makes them feel happy.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
Artists’ backgrounds and circumstances vary widely, so I can only speak for myself and the artists I know. I think making a living as an artist is extremely challenging, and something you have to really love to keep at it over time. Some artists, myself included, don’t necessarily subscribe to the traditional gallery-focused model as the primary way to sell art anymore. Artists can act more independently now if they prefer, relying on their own ideas and innovation to promote and sell their work. As for what cities can do to encourage art, I think The Greenway in Boston is a good example of a public setting accommodating rotating art installations that people can spontaneously enjoy and interact with. One way to help artists themselves thrive is to make room for affordable work or work/live spaces and communities.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My art is in the British Airways’ lounge at Boston Logan International Airport, at Boston Children’s Hospital, and at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. I also open my studio in the SoWa Art + Design district to the public. It’s my workspace, but it’s set up like a gallery, making it easy to view the works en masse. I am always there on Sundays, and on other days more randomly. Visitors to SoWa’s Sunday Open Market will find my studio building right in the midst of it all! Visit my website for info and directions.

My images are made into giclée prints, which is a fancy French way of saying they are high quality inkjet prints made with archival inks on archival paper. I always have prints on hand that people can buy directly in my studio. Buying directly from an artist provides the added benefit of being able to ask questions and to learn more about the art, inspiration, or process.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Paula Ogier
Liz Linder – Personal Photo

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