Four years ago today, Sonya Paz opened her art gallery in downtown Campbell.
"It’s bittersweet," Paz says. "I designed the space from the colors on the floor to the slated walls. That in itself is a successful art piece that I’m extremely proud of and representative that I’ve done it and succeeded. Now its time to play."
After spending five and a half years in downtown Campbell, Paz has decided to it's time to move on (her online store will still be available) and although her lease is up, she says the real reason she decided to close the doors to her gallery is time.
"I need to have time for myself," Paz say. "Life is too short to not pursue the reasons that fill you."
The store closes Dec. 31.
"I’m going to miss her terribly," says Chrystie De Soto, owner of The Olive Bar.
De Soto first met Paz five years ago when she and her husband Eduardo opened their olive oil store downtown.
"I thought she was a go-getter, a smart business woman," De Soto says of Paz. "I’ve grown to respect her more and more. The more I know her, the more that respect grows and I value her opinion. She has a great product and is a fabulous artist. She is the glue that keeps the downtown together."
Rocket Fizz Campbell Owner Chris Dunn agrees. He met Paz 12 years ago when the two were working at Adobe.
"She is one of the main reasons we chose to come to downtown Campbell," Dunn says. "We wanted to follow in her footsteps and success. It’s always nice to move in where there’s a friendly face."
Tan Le, owner of Kaleido Lamps says that since he first moved to Campbell Avenue, Paz was there for him.
"There's a really a sadness seeing her leave," Le says. "She's a sweet neighbor. She's helped me a lot. If I have questions, I go to her. I was in total shock when I heard (of her plans to close) but hope she does well in her future projects."
Paz grew up in Santa Clara, attended St. Claire School, then Queen of the Apostles, then Cupertino High School.
"I’m as home grown as it gets and old enough to see this area evolve as it has," Paz says. "Since there were orchards on Stevens Creek. I’m as home grown as it gets."
Paz has always dabbled with creative ventures and was a cake decorator and a florist. She then spent the next 25 years working for various high tech companies including Apple, Mitsubishi and Adobe. But, she says, she was always part of some kind of creative team.
In 1996, she had her first solo exhibit: a Lucile Ball exhibit at Gordon Bierch for eight weeks. It was self-promoted and a tribute to Lucile Ball: “One woman, Many Faces.”
In 1999, after failing to find artwork to go up in her home, Paz began painting again, combining Picasso cubism and American Pop Art.
In 2002, she left Adobe to pursue her art full time.
"That was a start of a very, very fast and furious highway," she says with a smile.
She opened her first studio in 2006 on Lafayette Street in Santa Clara, concurrently with one at Santana Row. In 2007, she moved the studio to The Courtyard in downtown Campbell.
"For that period of time, it allowed me to see what the community is all about and how the then Downtown Campbell Business Association, headed by Neil Collins at the time, was like," Paz says. "When I made the decision to expand, I looked at seven other cities besides Campbell. I did a lot of homework on traffic and community. It’s just the kind of person I am. I realized that the DCBA was a really active group and had a good feeling about it."
On Dec. 4, 2008 Paz opened the doors to her gallery at 195 E Campbell Ave.
"What I’ll miss most? My community," Paz says. "In high tech, I was always in a group and we worked on projects. DCBA has been my group."
On Saturday, Dec. 8 Paz is hosting a Handmakers Holiday Boutique at her gallery, showcasing the art of several fine artists including, Renee Berglund, Ellen Brook, Julee Moore, Grace Santos, Joy Munshower, Jelveh Jaferian, Mary Bravo and Sonya Paz.
The event goes from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and includes theses goods:
- glass beads,
- table runners,
- wearable art,
- ornaments and more.