Say Hello to Gabriel Polonsky
February 4, 2020
To label Gabriel Polonsky an artist and illustrator is an understatement (as you’ll discover as you read on!) According to the Facebook book page for his company, GP Studio Arts, Gabriel “was born at a very young age into a family of artists. His father made etchings in the bathtub with nitric acid. He taught himself to draw by copying Leonardo DaVinci and MAD Magazine. His Super-8 films and artwork was winning national awards while I was getting thrown out of school for drawing caricatures of teachers on the desk in permanent marker. It all kind of took off from there…”
We’re thrilled that Gabriel has recently joined the FC Marketplace (https://filmmakerscollab.org/marketplace/) and we recently caught up with Gabriel to ask him about the origins of his artistic pursuits and the nature of his work.
What kind of service do you offer the filmmaking community?
GP Studio Arts in Belmont, MA, is an animation, mixed media, film, and illustration studio that I started in 1993. I am an Emmy nominated freelance animation director, designer, producer, and an accomplished illustrator, storyboard artist, fine artist, and sculptor. I work with everyone from local indie filmmakers and individuals to large companies like Arnold Worldwide, PBS, and Cartoon Network.
What areas of creativity bring you the most joy and why?
I enjoy working in many different genres and techniques, but what brings me the most joy is simply drawing pictures. I would draw all day and night if I could (actually I do sometimes). I am not sure why I feel this way, maybe it’s genetic. Art runs in my family and I’ve been drawing since I was three. All of my projects start with a drawing, whether it is an animated cartoon, realistic portrait, storyboard, or sculpture. It is where creative solutions are worked out and the project comes to life. I also enjoy sketching out ideas for my clients in brainstorming sessions. As they say ‘a picture is worth 1000 words.’
Can you name any creative role models that influenced you to pursue this vocation?
Instead of hiring a babysitter my mother used to bring me to her life drawing classes when I was little, and I would draw the model. Robert Crumb, Leonardo DaVinci, MC Escher, and MAD Magazine were also early role models. After seeing their work I decided to become an illustrator, and taught myself to draw by copying them. When I was five my father gave me and my brother Plasteline clay and an 8mm movie camera. Our first clay animation was called ‘Blob Day.” We made many other films, and some of them won awards and got into festivals. That led to my professional animation career at Olive Jar Animation. It was a really cool animation studio in Brookline. I learned so much by working there with amazingly talented people. All of these experiences solidified my decision to pursue a multiple career path as an illustrator, fine artist, animator, filmmaker, and teacher.
What exciting projects are you currently working on?
I am always working on something new, whether it’s my own artwork or a project for a client. I am currently working on a documentary feature film called “Release from Reason,” About the life, times, and work of my father Arthur Polonsky (www.releasefromreason.com). He was regarded as one of the most important Boston painters of the 20th century. The film tells the story of his amazing artwork, immense influence, eccentric genius, and significant role in creating Boston Expressionism, a major American art movement.
What else would you like FC members to know about you and your work?
All of my life I’ve enjoyed the challenge of working in a variety of styles and mediums. It keeps me moving forward and excited about my work. It is an on-going evolution. I am grateful that working this way has allowed me to collaborate with so many talented people from high profile companies to independent filmmakers and individuals.