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Meet Paola Gracey of PaolaStudios in Southwest Broward

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paola Gracey.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
At an early age, I was exposed to art by both grandmothers. They inspired me which then sparked an appreciation towards it. In high school is when I had an epiphany. It was my first ever student exhibition at Florida International University. There, I won the jurors award and acquired my first fan who was not my mother… she left her contact information since she was interested in purchasing the piece. That note made all the difference for me, it made me realize I might have something going for me. I still carry that note.

While I was at Florida International University, I took several Chemistry and Physics classes since my major was Chemistry, it stressed me out so I took painting classes to ease the stress. There is where I had an accident, which changed my approach to my painting technique. I worked with oils but was always felt lightheaded and had too many headaches in the studio space. So, I started to switch to water-based acrylics. That’s when one day, in the studio on my pallet, I was mixing the acrylics; I stepped out of the studio for lunch and when I came back the next day found the most beautiful swirl of dried acrylic paint. I then started to mess with this technique and create pieces in 2005. My professor was very supportive of it and told me,“If this was the route I chose, I would have to master it, where only I knew how to recreate it.” Till this day, I remind myself to never stop practicing and continue to evolve the technique. Since that day, my paintings have morphed into something unique, which I think has caught the eye of the art community.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been interesting but seems like an eternity. I chose to take the slow route focusing my career in Chemistry and practicing art as a hobby. I tend to be very conservative and I believe my conservative style has limited my career as an artist. I have been an artist for over 13 years. Getting your name out is a lifelong struggle. I started exhibiting at the outdoor weekend festivals which is a lot of work especially when you have little kids trying to manage at the shows. On top of parenting, I am also a full-time chemist so juggling a 9-5 job to make the art dream come true has been a struggle but definitely worth it! The exposure from the art shows has played a great factor in getting my name out there. I have met so many interesting artist and art enthusiasts and I am especially thankful for them. They have helped support my art and allow me to continue getting the word out.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am an artist/chemist who incorporates my two passions. What stands out about the artwork it is a different unique form of painting while adding the appreciation of the science behind it. I keep a detailed sketchbook just as I would in the laboratory. With a purpose for each painting, materials used and observations, so that I can refer back to and use towards future paintings.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was very hyper loved being colorful. Punky Brewster was my idol. I considered myself athletic play softball, was a gymnast, ran cross country and track & field.

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