We had the good fortune of connecting with Terry Romero Paul and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Terry, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Years ago I had a teacher/mentor that gave me excellent advice and direction when I was trying to find my voice as an artist. He told me to find something that I loved to paint and not to expect success until I painted hundreds of canvases and also to figure out a way to stand out from the pack. I love food and love to cook. He pointed out that subject could be my niche. I felt dessert paintings were ideal for me because of the gorgeous colors and textures and also because of what they represent. They are nostalgic taking people to happy times. Whether it is a memory of a childhood birthday, an important holiday or just to celebrate being together.
At this time, I became interested in the painting the ever popular donut. I had just returned from a trip to Ireland where I learned about ancient symbols. One of those symbols that spoke to me was the circle. It represents infinity as it has no beginning and no end. I used my happy colorful donuts to signify the sweetness of life. I took one bite out of every one and placed the bites in different places on the donut representing time passing like the hands of a clock. In my first Donut Show, “Cheaper by The Dozen”, I used the tag line “Life is Sweet: Take a Bite”. I want my viewers to take full advantage of life, as we know it. I call them Donut Portraits because they were alone on the canvas in all their sprinkled, icing glory.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I went back to college after my two sons were in school to get my degree in Two-Dimensional Art from California State Northridge. It was hard to balance a family, a dog and a household with school but I loved it. From there I studied background painting for animation at Associates in Art and I continue to take classes and workshops artists that I admire.
Early on I wanted to pursue a career in animation. When the industry went from hand painting to the computer I took courses to learn computer background painting. But I found that I missed the tactile feeling of holding a brush, mixing real paint and applying it to the canvas. So I turned to fine art and started studying oil painting. I found that I adored this medium and have never looked back.
When I first started painting my donuts and desserts there weren’t many people painting these types of images and so I stood out. I was referred to as the “Donut Painter”!
In my most current series, my paintings are a mix of fact and fantasy. It is the irrational juxtaposition of images that intrigues me and in this grouping my imagination is not limited to reality. It also lets me blend my different genres of landscapes and big skies with my donuts. They are whimsical and have layers of meaning to them. For example, “There Will Be an Answer” is a fantasy nod to saving the environment. The Elephant, in mythology is a cosmic animal that represents the structure of the universe with focused power, endurance and change. Her sidekick, the butterfly, represents hope, mystical rebirth and the transcendent soul. The small tree symbolizes regenerating the world. In my piece, “Waiting For This Moment To Be Free”, I was inspired after I heard a sexual assault survivor talk about her years of pain and then her relief in telling her story and helping others. The butterflies in this piece represent her pain flying away.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in the San Fernando Valley. Yes, a Valley Girl, so the one place that is a must to go is Casa Vega Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks. You might recognize the name from the Movie “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. It has been around since 1956 with this family owned restaurant starting at the historic Olvera St. downtown Los Angeles in the 1930’s. It is a classic with dynamite Margaritas.
I would also love to take my guest east to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. It has wonderful collections and a lovely sculpture garden with a pond reflecting the beautiful blue skies. And, while in Pasadena I would take a short ride to San Marino to the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. Make sure you have a full day because it has so much to offer even a charming tearoom with excellent petit fours.
A must experience while visiting is to see our beaches by driving up Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica to Malibu. When you get to Malibu I would choose to have an unforgettable oceanside lunch at Geoffrey’s Restaurant.
On the way back to the Valley a stop at the Getty Museum is a treat. You take a tram from the parking lot up the side of a mountain to incredible architecture, art, gardens and a magnificent view overlooking Los Angeles.
And to top it off I would have a barbeque in my backyard and hang out with my family and meet my new puppy Cooper
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I mentioned earlier a teacher/mentor that really helped to support art my beginnings. He was a very talented Disney artist and instructor. He taught background painting classes and later fine art. Both of those two paths have influenced my work today. I will forever be grateful to his guidance. I also have to say that my family deserves a big shout out as well for going to all of my shows and allowing me a great deal of time away from them to continue my art journey. To be supported by the ones you love is very important to me.
Facebook: Terry Romero Paul