Polly Norman Art
Born in Minneapolis, Polly Sandvik spent her early childhood on West Minnehaha Parkway. When she was 11 years old, her family moved to Edina. Throughout her childhood she took piano lessons, dance classes and various art courses including mixed media classes at The Walker Art Center and private oil painting classes.
Her family of origin included her father, a fiction and essay writer, her mom a seamstress, two musician brothers and a sister who became a pathologist. Her youngest brother is also a graphic and fine artist.
Norman says, “One of my fondest childhood memories was when dad would pack the car with canvas boards, brushes and paints and take the four of us out to the country to paint a landscape, usually a farm scene. He would set up easels for us an away we would go!
The five of us would paint the same scene with very different results. I had a shining moment during one of those sessions.
As a child, I felt I could never do anything as well as my older brother. When we were out painting one afternoon, he kept looking back-and-forth at my half-done painting and his. He finally asked me if I would trade paintings with him. I glowed!”
Sandvik graduated from Edina High School and Abbott-Northwestern School of Nursing. For three years she worked in Neonatal Intensive Care at Children’s Hospitals in Minneapolis and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis.
After marrying and starting a family, Norman stayed home to raise her children. She began her photography career as an outgrowth of her volunteering to do PR photography and writing for her boys’ schools. First at Our Lady of Grace School in Edina and then at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights.
When the OLG Community saw her photographs, they began to hire her to photograph their children and families. Norman began educating herself taking photography classes and seminars. Since then, she has run a residential studio for over twenty five years.
Her career expanded to include evidence photography and photo illustration for newspaper, magazines and advertising.
As her photography progressed, she started to hand color some of her black and white portraits and this led to experimenting with abstract painting. At this point she had a growing desire to receive formal training in drawing and painting so she enrolled in and spent six years studying those subjects at The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art in Minneapolis.
Her focused effort in her adult years of art making included an intensive period photographing classical dancers at Ballet Arts Minnesota, taking adult dance classes herself and finally stumbling upon the glass block that she uses in her signature work.
My work reflects my great passion for dance and the music it depends on. Figures, body parts and trails of movement are pictured in almost all of my work. Dance allows us to see music and I believe my artwork is another way to see it.
I try to create images that haven’t ever been seen before by pushing photography to a new realm. Discovering a unique filter in thick architectural glass block happened by accident. This led to my series of fantasy works. The block causes fascinating distortions of the objects placed behind it. I love distorting reality, it happens in my mind a lot.
Not only do I have a unique glass filter, but I also have a unique mental filter. Mood swings from deep depression to high mania and everything in between. This range, I think allows me to process thought at many levels giving me a keen ability to see abstractly.