When Bob Pejman's mother decided
to open an art gallery in 1988, she enlisted her son's help,
and together the two built a gallery and framing business in
Short Hills that has proven to be quite successful. But Pejman's
own story took a decided and wonderfully ironic twist when,
at the same time that he was seeking new artists to exhibit,
he stumbled upon something else he hadn't expected to find:
his own artistry, and a talent for painting that had lain dormant
"I began drawing and painting
at the age of five and pursued art very seriously though my
high school years," Pejman says. When it came time to
choose a career and go to college, however, the young artist
decided to pursue a more financially secure route. "I
was afraid I would starve as an artist and my more immediate
goal should be to go into a business. Instead of art, I studied
computer science and music.
With a degree in computer science,
Pejman entered the corporate world. "While I was successful
in my work, I was not able to find a way to express myself
creatively," he explains. "During my last few years
in the corporate world I started to paint a bit just testing
the waters. Still, I had no plans to pursue painting full time."
It was at his own gallery that
the emerging artist had the good fortune to meet painter Anatoly
Ivanov, whose work was being exhibited. "I was inspired
by Ivanov's work--it was the type of painting I liked to do,
although my paintings were nothing close to his," Pejman
explains. "I showed him some of my paintings and asked
him to take me on as a pupil. To my delight he did."
It was at this point that Pejman
began painting in earnest, learning, he says, at a furious
pace, making up for lost time. "It was like discovering
new talents," the artist recalls. "I realized I had
potential. And I had a great teacher."
Pejman creates paintings in a genre
called Romantic Realism. "I've always loved traditional,
representational art, and have a fascination with architecture
and perspective. The work is not photo-realistic, but is a
mix of realism and imagination," says the artist, whose
oil paintings often represent Mediterranean or other exotic
scenes, with warm colors, bright sun, blue skies and oceans,
as well as meandering hallways and twisting paths that always
lead to mysterious destinations. "There are no people
in my paintings," he notes. "Instead, I invite the
viewer to place themselves in the scene."
His work now hangs in 20 or more
galleries across the country, and some have been woven into
tapestries in France, made into wall-size murals in Germany
and Sweden and published in England. Pejman offers limited
edition pieces, and closer to home, his art has been exhibited
in his own gallery.
"Had I gone to art school
directly out of high school, I'm sure I would not be painting
the kind of art I do now, but perhaps more abstract works that
many schooled artists now produce," Pejman notes. "But
abstract art is not my passion, and fortunately, for me as
an artist, many other people also enjoy the type of painting
that I enjoy."