In The Press

Essex Magazine, April 2003

"Discovering Hidden Talents"

By: Kathy Gilligan

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 for years.

"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."