Tony Spolar was artistic from a very young age and, when it was time to decide how he would continue his post-secondary education, he felt pretty passionately about studying art. He spent one year at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside to take liberal art and fine art courses to help build up his portfolio so he could apply to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. He was accepted into this prestigious program, studied graphic design and fine art and obtained his degree in five years.
“That design background was a good move for me. Although I didn’t end up working as a graphic designer per se, we use graphic design compositionally in our works all the time,” Spolar explains.
While going to school, Spolar started painting homes to earn extra money. He became so good at it, he gained a reputation for painting high-end exteriors in the Milwaukee-Chicago area.
“That lead me into the interior design world and, eventually, an architectural/interior design based business,” Spolar explains. “What propelled everything was meeting with architectural firms and interior designers and showing them our skills as interior artists,” he says.
After graduating in 1987, he founded Spolar Studio which, at the time, specialized in decorative finishes, painted murals and historical restorations. As the digital world evolved, Spolar Studio invested in new technology that would allow them to create large format digital printing like murals and wallpaper and other three-dimensional solutions for clients. In fact, they were one of the first in their area to have access to this type of technology.
“The Milwaukee Brewers were building a new stadium and one of the designers called us and asked if we’d be interested in creating large format murals for the new suite level of the stadium. We did all the digital photography and all the digital art,” Spolar recalls. “We were the first people in the area using that equipment to work that big.”
The purchase of their large format printer helped the corporate side of their business explode. Soon they were doing work for hospitals, restaurants, libraries and stores just to name a few. Today, Spolar Studio is considered a well-respected custom art resource for interior designers, architects and private clients. Not only do they create artwork, they also fabricate it and install it, which saves clients time and money.
“We’re busy all the time and mostly through word of mouth business,” Spolar explains. “I’m constantly having to reinvent the business. Trends change, generations change and design changes and you have to be flexible. I was glad to get out of the historic world because I’m more of a modernist – more interested in contemporary art and design,” he says.
After having worked with other epoxies on the market and having problems with it bubbling and yellowing, Spolar Studio tried EcoPoxy’s UVPoxy and they have been using it ever since.
“The resin is like an optical illusions. It’s so gorgeous with what we’re able to do with it. We’ve developed ways to work with the resin that are very unique,” he says. “EcoPoxy suits itself really well to the interior world and it can be really corporate too.”
Along with the aesthetic advantages they get when using UVPoxy, the team at Spolar Studio also appreciates its workability.
“My son and I work together and he’s a resin crazy guy,” he laughs. “We like UVPoxy because there are no fumes and you just mix the two parts together. It’s pretty basic,” Spolar says.
When working with any epoxies, a stable environment without drafts and an average temperature of 65°F to 70°F is ideal. Spolar explains why they sometimes have to “babysit” a project as it cures. It really “bugs” them!
“The problem in the summer here, because it’s an open concept studio, is that something as simple as a fly can really slow down a project,” he laughs.
At the end of the day, Spolar has become a diversified artist and he knows what mediums he prefers to use. EcoPoxy is high on the list.
“As a person who works with a lot of different materials, EcoPoxy is really fun to work with. It’s kind of a beautiful process,” he explains. “You blend this crystal clear resin and you tint it and colour it. You can make shapes out of it and grind those shapes down and pour over them with more resin. It’s just a lot of fun!”
We’re also very excited to announce that Spolar Studios will be one of our retailers in the near future. Who better to promote our product and share it with more artists and designers than one of our best customers?
If you’d like to learn more about Spolar Studios, you can visit their website. We look forward to seeing what new and innovative ways they use EcoPoxy in their upcoming work.