CADC Lauds Renowned Artist with Prestigious Honor for Lifetime Works

Paul Zelanski, CADC 2005 Hall-of-Famer

Paul Zelanski has been involved with art from his earliest years. By the time he was 12 he knew he wanted to be an artist and make a living by teaching others about art. He was steadfast in his journey—he did become an artist and a teacher. In the process, he also became a husband and devoted father of three; a writer of art textbooks; the driving force of the computer graphics program at the University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts; an exchange professor in Poland and Holland; recipient of many awards for his artwork; an art button maker of international renown; and the proud grandfather of three.

His advanced education began at Cooper Union, but was interrupted by a two-year service in the army during the Korean conflict, where he was an illustrator and photographer. He then returned to earn his certificate at Cooper, and attended Yale to obtain his BFA. Being a student of Joseph Albers at Yale profoundly affected his understanding of color, and Albers’s approach to color has remained at the core of Paul’s teaching and artwork.

Paul taught classes while working on his MFA at Bowling Green State University; and taught four years at North Texas State University before his arrival at UConn in 1962. He taught the first graphic design class, and the first color class at UConn. Long before computers were to play an essential role in the world of art, he explored ways to introduce them to the students. Paul coordinated with Apple to donate enough computers to the art department to open their own lab. In the years to come, the computer lab would continue to be on the cutting edge in New England, thanks to the vision that Paul promoted tirelessly with colleagues and staff.

For well over 50 years, Paul has been showing in international, national, and local shows; his artwork is in numerous museums, corporate spaces and private collections. Since his retirement in 1995, Paul has taught master classes at the University of Hartford Art School and for the Tolland Art Association. He has given his famous color lecture to many art groups and schools, gives critiques to various art associations, and remains an active member of several art groups in the state. Paul is also currently writing new editions for his four art textbooks.

Life continues to be a richly rewarding experience, something he translates into collages every day in his studio. For someone who has much to say about art, Paul is still most happy when working in a nonverbal way, manipulating color and shape, making new visual statements directly from his soul.