Old Town Pocatello is rife with personality, and Paige Weber’s Gumption is no exception.
On the third floor of the historic Kane building, Weber’s illustrative design studio is an eclectic pocket full of her art, whether that be its Idaho-shaped stickers of Idaho State University’s Red Hill, watercolor postcards of English cows or posters of the many neon signs that light up the streets of Old Town Pocatello.
“For me, I love to paint, I love to design, and I love digital illustrations,” Weber said. “The variety is what keeps me going.”
Weber moved from Boise in 2015, and in August quit her full-time job and dedicated her efforts toward creating art for her clients and the community. Her mom, who’d been a fine artist in Weber’s early years, helped cultivate her daughter’s love of art, and was one of the inspirations that gave Weber the final push to open up a studio.
“In 2013, (my mom) was diagnosed with terminal cancer and in the last couple months of her life she started to paint again,” Weber said. “And for me, it was a real poignant moment because it took her till the end of her life to pick this up again, and she loved it, and so for myself … I’m going to really make art my business.”
At the start of 2015, she took on a year-long goal to whip out one painting a day and in 2016, leaped headfirst into a project that emphasized the small yet powerful icons that make Pocatello distinct.
In 2017, she created the Gumption Works Zine, a miniature magazine that highlights eateries, hot spots, and events of Old Town, with a flair of the Gumption’s stylized personality coming through the illustrated artwork. Weber distributed these in shops and businesses around the area and would like to launch a new, updated one in the future.
“It was a guerrilla art effort just to get it out to the community,” she said. “I wanted people to know what was great about Pocatello. … I did (a First Friday Art Walk) over at Deckadence, and a lady took a bunch (of zines) to take to her class reunion. It was interesting where it wound up.”
Another project she’s working on is the Neon Lights Collection, where she draws and digitally designs Pocatello’s historical neon lights that are making a welcome and colorful return back to the streets. Among just a few that she’s captured onto paper are the signs of the Chief Theatre, Red’s Key Cycles, Tough Guy Lanes and Buddy’s Italian Restaurant, with more on their way.
“I’m really into neon sign art right now, and that’s all thanks to Pocatello because we are a unique area, and we have a unique situation where we have all these neon signs,” she said.
One of her year-end goals is to create a calendar of the neon signs, but for now she shares her current collection at the Portneuf Valley Farmer’s Market and intends to participate in it this upcoming year.