I believe I was fortunate not to have attended art school in the 70s,

an era which favoured hard line and the airbrush, and which saw

many of my talented friends drop out of an art school environment

inimical to painting and drawing from life. I opted for a B.Sc.Econ

History degree at the LSE, but art and design continued to be

my passion. I meandered without great purpose or conviction

via the Admin Grade of the Civil Service into fashion marketing and

colour prediction for a multinational, and then, almost unbelievably,

6 horrible months running a plastics company in Neasden;

unsurprisingly, none of these jobs came close to satisfying my spirit -

enough was enough! I followed my heart and returned to school to

study interior design.

      

For several years I really enjoyed putting schemes together for clients

as a freelance. I often painted my presentation visuals in watercolour,

and this very spontaneous medium soon infiltrated my painting life

beyond the day job. I loved working out and about painting on the

spot from life both in England and abroad - cafe life, restaurants,

markets, factories, hospitals - you name it! Before long, I was offered

a solo exhibition by Catto, a leading London watercolour gallery, and

there soon followed another solo show at Chris Beetles' Gallery. I was

delighted when my work was included in the Royal Watercolourists'

Summer Exhibition.


It's a joy and delight - albeit sometimes disconcerting - to have a

career which is nourished by, and even depends on, engagement with

new interests and ideas. A visit to Granada and Seville in the 90s

completely changed the direction of my painting. I was struck with

deja vu, and a strong sense of an inherited memory. Years of academic

history studies had never managed to fire this sudden passionate,

imaginative engagement with my own possible heritage. The breathtaking sweep of sights and sounds which my own family might have encountered over their centuries of journeying from the biblical Middle East set me researching ancient languages, maps, motifs and symbols, wrought iron scrolls, mysterious windows and crumbling brick.

 

Almost immediately, I abandoned watercolour in favour of oils to explore

these rich resources jostling for position in a new and very different series

of work which I called 'Granada'. When I discovered that my own name, 'Poll', means 'bridge' in Persian, it seemed like a magical endorsement of

my new desire to make work with which I wanted to 'bridge' millenia in

the most personal way, and place me and mine firmly into a family chain

with my ancestors. By contrast, I love working with the purely abstract

pattern and design which I can see around me - water, trees and forest

have provided rich inspiration, and still do; but through many different series of my paintings, collages, photography or prints, this engagement with history has remained for me the deepest felt and most involving strand of my work.

       

 

   At my solo show 'Inside/Outside' with the 'Alaska' series