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Paulís work does not fit tidily into any one box. His drawings and stories have been categorized as everything from art to comics to poetry. He considers this to be his greatest achievement: To have created a form that falls between genres.

Paul studied at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he entered as a painting major. By his sophomore year, he discovered his true love had always been drawing and writing. At that time, CMU was transitioning from a traditional education to post-modern. In the mornings he studied classical techniques, drawing the figure and still lifes, and in the afternoons had conceptual sculpture classes, where art did not have to be built, but only discussed.

Even within that broad curriculum, there was no place for merging text and images. While continuing to major in Fine Art, he pursued his desire to blend what he believed were the two of the fundamental mediums for creation by taking classes in the English, Drama, and Music departments, where he produced a range of multi-media works on his own, as well as with writers, actors, directors, and composers, all centered around storytelling.

Paul first began publishing as an adolescent in his middle-school newspaper. In highschool he edited a collection of student submitted artwork for a book he concepted and proposed to the school, and also saw his own drawings printed in the letters section of MAD Magazine. In college he published in both of Carnegie Mellonís newspapers, and began producing his own series of zines. In 1993 he was a founding member of Pittsburgh Theater Laboratories, an experimental performance space.

Upon graduation in 1994, Paul moved to San Francisco where he asked himself: How does one make a living as an artist? The answer, he realized, was that before one could make money, they first had to be known. So he focused on putting his work into the world. This was before the internet was in full force, before laptops, or smart phones. He printed and hand-folded hundreds of his books, and left stacks for free in cafes, bars, and bookstores. Any possible public place. He slid copies between the pages of best-selling books, and into newspapers in street corner boxes. People began to write to him and in time he had a small fan base. In 2000 his future wife wrote to him.

In 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle signed on his series All Over Coffee, and from there, Paul built his career. An adamant proponent of artists owning the rights to their work, he fought to keep all the rights to All Over Coffee. He was never an employee of the paper, but only licensed his work, which gave him the freedom to make editorial and commercial choices that would otherwise have been unavailable.

In December of 2015, Paul ended All Over Coffee to pursue working with words and images. In 2016 he completed Close Enough for the Angels, a five year project that he calls a ĎContemporary take on the classic illustrated novel.í A full-length, plot-driven novel with over 100 drawings from Thailand, China, and Japan, which puts forward a new method of pairing images and stories.

To date, Paulís work has been published internationally in numerous books, journals, and magazines, such as The Believer and ZYZZYVA, and exhibited in galleries and museums, including the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Oakland Museum of California. He has done a series of large-scale murals for Google, Tacolicious, and Starbucks, is the Comics Editor for TheRumpus.net, has taught drawing at the University of San Francisco, and frequently lectures on creative practice, even when not asked. He holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and was the first (ever!) Art Intern at MAD Magazine (1993-94), for which he proudly received no money.

Contact Paul at: studio AT paulmadonna DOT com

 






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