ArtQuench Introduces “Featured Artist”
Paul Petersen A True Inspiration!
He studied, worked very hard and found his artistic destiny.
“I call it Spherical Art and I believe it is what I was born to do.”
With six brothers and two sisters, finding an unspoiled coloring book was really difficult
when I was five! So when I finally got one, I was afraid to color in it. I wanted it to be
pristine. It occurred to me that I could make tracings of my favorite pages and color
them! I got my Mom’s onionskin typing paper and traced over the outlines on the “E is
for Eagle” page. While I was doing it I wondered if the coloring book artist had traced
his line work, too.
By third grade I realized I wanted to be an artist. My teachers discouraged tracing, which made me want to do it even more. When I wasn’t copying pictures of ships and hot rods, I was making money – literally.
3rd grade artwork
In the Compton, CA library, I checked out every art book, and discovered a lot of
artists. I liked Gaugin’s colors, Kandinsky’s whimsy, and Escher’s precision.
When I studied painting at UCLA, Richard Deibenkorn and William Brice were my
professors. They tried to steer me away from commercial art, but I wanted to make
money right away. I took every art related job I could find working through school. I
painted addresses on street curbs, operated a silk screen press making black light
posters, and painted signs on truck doors.
After graduation I got a job drawing the products in Thrifty Drug Store’s newspaper ads.
But I realized I needed some more training to make a living at art, so I went to the Art
Center College of Design in the evenings to study architectural rendering and
advertising design. I really liked the ad design class and focused on that. Sixteen
months later I moved to New York City with my wife and baby son, and found my first
art director job.
On my day job, I hired photographer’s and illustrators for ad assignments, but at night I
moonlighted as a sketch artist for other art directors, doing storyboards for
commercials. I liked the artwork more than the politics of ad agencies, so I quit my job
to do it full time.
After a few years, we left New York for San Diego. I wanted to pursue a career as a
water colorist. Many new friends there owned horses and my artwork was
dominated by equine subjects.
Cardio guidewire illustration in Dali-style
My watercolors didn’t bring in he money I was used to, so I started doing ad
illustrations for an agency in Newport Beach with a lot of medical accounts. Slowly but
surely I became a medical illustrator, first with the airbrush and later with Photoshop. It
became a full time job and I worked for many agencies.
I learned to use 3D modeling applications along the way and was hired by Toshiba to
create 3D models of all their electronic consumer products. I was working on their 3D
laptop models in 2014 when I learned about the technique of using the geometry of 3D
spheres to create intricate visuals. I call it Spherical Art and I believe it is what I was born to do.
I am awestruck by the beauty that exists, but is hidden, inside of these polyhedral spheres. The more I explore and tweak them, the more interesting compositions I find. I use their inherent internal geometric rhythms to create my art. These spheres are made of cold math, but they are capable of producing emotion-provoking scenes. My collaboration with them results in evocative images composed with Escher-like precision, Gaugin-worthy colors, and a bit of whimsy I think Kandinsky would like.