Hard times fuel local artist's creativity

Andy Collins, left, and Carol Wade in front of the backdrop they are donating for Santa-and-Pet pictures to benefit the Humane Society.
Photo courtesy of Howard Swerland.

commercial artist by Anne Schefter
Woodinville resident Carol Wade is in the business of art. An artist and photographer who trained at the Seattle Art Institute, Wade has created for herself a special niche in the field of commercial art.
    As the owners of Photo-Graphics, she and partner-daughter Andy Collins design and paint murals and backdrops for commercial photographers.
    Their work has been attracting some attention in the trade, and will be getting even more exposure when one of their scenes serves as a backdrop for photographs of Santa and pets benefiting The Humane Society.
    The photos, taken by professional photographer Howard Swerland, will be available at Bosley's Pet Food Marts at various locations this month.
    It was Collins who painted the snowscape that Wade calls "a classic Snoqualmie Pass scene." Photo-Graphics is donating the backdrop to the event. It's their way of saying thanks to the Humane Society.
    "We got our dog 18 years ago at the Humane Society, and he died just six months ago," Wade explained. "The Humane Society does good work; they're taking care of a real need in the community."
    Bosley's Pet Mart in Canyon Park, 22627 Bothell-Everett Highway, has scheduled photos of Santa and pets for Sunday, Nov. 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Wade credits Woodinville photographer Bob Crandall with launching her into her business five years ago. Crandall asked Wade to paint a backdrop for his photo sessions with youth soccer players.
    "If you have pictures of your young soccer stars from about that time, they were photographed in front of my backdrop," Wade said. Her business began to grow from that point.
    But it was not an easy road to her present success. A divorce, financial hardship and naysayers often tempted Wade to abandon her plans.
    "Everyone told me to give it up, but I stuck to my dream," she said.
    Now, not only is Wade's business earning a profit, her art is gaining widespread attention. Along with her work for photography studios, Wade has painted backdrops and murals for television commercials, the Seattle Puppet Theater, Children's Hospital, and the Northwest Brainchild Foundation.
    She created the CBS "Eye on 11" logo for KSTW Channel 11 News and the package design of a kitchen for Starbuck's new espresso machine. And she watched while cameras filmed a Ford truck breaking through a barrier she was commissioned to paint.
    To promote her work nationwide, Wade has invented an innovative plastic tube with sample backdrops that can be mailed to photographers.
    Wade is currently painting a mural for the Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Club. Some of her work will be auctioned off at the club's fundraiser next April.
    "So many wonderful things are happening to me now," said Wade. "The business is going strong. We have so many projects to keep us going."
    Photo-Graphics' telephone number is 481-0355.