Alumni Feature: Dave Pollot, 1998 grad


Alternatively, you view the behind the scenes video of Dave's gallery here


APRIL 29, 2022—  When you step into 1998 Pal-Mac grad Dave Pollot’s gallery space along Main Street in Canandaigua, you’re instantly greeted by near wall-to-wall coverage of prints.


As you continue to walk through, you may meet him and his wife, Rebecca’s two little dogs. The gallery sits on the first floor of a three-story, 200-year-old building.  The building headlines as a studio and workspace, but also serves as the Pollot’s home.


“It’s quite old,” Pollot said.


Another look at Pollot's gallery



Old, but with some new charm to it, largely due in part to the renovation work he and Rebecca put in over the last year and a half since they bought the place. Pollot said they’ve committed time to restore the building to its “former glow.”


Old, but with new charm to it, that’s kind of how you could describe Pollot’s artwork. Or is it?


For instance, he has a scenic portrait of a lighthouse on the coastline, and seated in the foreground are “The Simpsons” all seated on their iconic couch. Another print features a classic-looking scene with what appears to be a young child playing a violin with another looking on. All of the figures have a red bar above their head in the style of an Instagram notification, complete with a comment, like and new follow symbol.



Simpson portrait




A look at some art


“It’s really the idea that you could take something from contemporary life and add it to something from a different time period and make it where it’s relevant again,” Pollot said. “It’s really all of the stuff I grew up with or that I always loved or things that I have grown to love over the years.”






Pollot grew up in Palmyra with three siblings, and said he spent a bunch of time playing basketball and ping pong at the Palmyra Community Center. He also remembers good conversations with his since-retired biology teacher, Ray Jenkins, who he described as a great, funny guy.


“Palmyra was just kind of the perfect size,” Pollot said. “It wasn’t too big; it wasn’t too small, it was just a great place to grow up.”


Art was always at Pollot’s core, though he says it was mostly a hobby at first. He said it was his father, a fellow painter, who helped him grow his interest in the arts. As he went through the district, he said he always enjoyed drawing and painting, but he never saw it as being his true career calling.


Pollot recalled conversations he had with retired Pal-Mac art teacher, Vicki Stoops, who helped him realize diving headfirst into the art field may not be the best move for him.


He ultimately decided to take the sciences and math route, as he headed to the State University of New York at Geneseo to study computer science, graduating the school in 2005.


While he may have been focused on developing software, Pollot said he never stopped painting, as he would continue to dabble in the arts from time to time.


“For me, I knew that I was not comfortable jumping straight into the risk of making a living off of my art,” Pollot said. “It was something I knew that I could do as a hobby and build slowly if I ever wanted to, which I never imagined I would, but it wound up happening.”





So, what changed? He said Rebecca had something to do with it. He met her in 2010.

“She kind of just convinced me to keep painting, and do it a bit more seriously,” Pollot said.


The suggestion may have been serious, but one of the turning point moments that stuck out for Pollot was actually more on the funny side. He says Rebecca came across a piece of artwork at a thrift store and thought it’d be funny if Dave were to paint something silly on top of it.


Pollot agreed, and the rest, they say, is history.


Pollot's gallery



He ramped up his painting around 2012, but didn’t take it on full-time until 2018, when he left his job writing software. Since then, Rebecca has managed the business side of things, while Dave focuses solely on the art. The system they have in place has helped Pollot transition from what he calls “a leap of faith.”


“Every artist probably has the little bit of worry where, especially if they are doing this full time, it's kind of like maybe this is the last painting I'll ever sell,” Pollot said.


Before moving into their space in Canandaigua, Pollot worked out of a spot in the City of Rochester. He says it was Rebecca’s love for older buildings that helped them find their new home.


He says it has been a great experience working out of a place they both love.


Remember we mentioned the wall filled with prints? Since leaving for art full-time, Pollot says he’s printed about 450 paintings and counting.


“It’s a lot,” he said.


Dave with portrait


Since then, his work has been featured in media outlets like Business Insider, Instagram and the SyFy Channel. He has also worked with corporations like SONY, Instagram, and McDonalds, among others.


He also won a Shorty Award for his art in 2020.


“We’ve gotten to do so much and see so much because of it,” Pollot said. “It’s just great.”


Success and all, there are at two prints Pollot’s painted that he says will never see a sales line. One is a portrait of Iron Clawfoot bathtub with an old cork stopper, just like he had in his childhood home. Pollot did not get much into the details of the other piece, only saying he loved the aesthetic of it, and that it took an insane amount of time to finish.


Looking back on his career, and the risks he took to this point, we asked Pollot if he had any advice for Pal-Mac students.


“I guess I would just say really kind of understand and know yourself well enough to know how comfortable with that risk you are,” Pollot said. “If you are, then I would say just go for it, because you’ll find a way to make it happen. And if you’re not, then be patient and just do the things you love, and eventually maybe it’ll happen the same way it did for me.”



You can find more about Dave Pollot’s art by visiting his website. He says his gallery is open mainly on Saturdays, with a more open schedule likely in the summer.









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