PersonaCards in time for Valentines Day

By Melanie Greenberg
February 2, 2011

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, students and faculty got a jump-start getting cards for their loved ones. On Feb. 1, Jazzman’s cafe was crowded with students and faculty waiting for Personacards, a new and unique personalized way to express a person’s feelings via hand-crafted art.  Cartoonist Paul Kleba sat at a table scattered with cards for all occasions. Some were romantic, others were crude but most of them were a funny play on words.

Kleba talked to each individual he made a card for, asking which colors they’d prefer for the writing, all the way down to the color of their eyes to get the card as personal as possible.

Talking freely and easily, Kleba did not just personalize the cards but made connections with each person in line, even giving advice.

“We can’t be perfectionists. You’ll never be 100 percent ready to show your work. I don’t know how to be better at something I’m already trying very hard at,” Kleba said.

While Sadiyah Hicks, a worker at Jazzman’s, was getting a 21st birthday card for her sister, sophomore math major Sam Hallowell was having multiple cards made for his girlfriend.

“I’m a sap so I’m getting sappy cards. There are a ton of not very nice cards that my best friend would find funny though,” Hallowell said.

Kleba insists he did not have the natural talent of an artist when he started but instead practiced in the hopes of improving, which he eventually did.

Having started his greeting card business 18 years ago at Lafayette College, Kleba has been to Cabrini over 40 times since 1994. He mostly keeps his business on the East Coast but in March, he will be traveling to Arizona State University.

“The activity director remembered me from when I came to his college and hired me. They’re flying me out there and keeping me up in a hotel,” Kleba said.

Liam O’Dow, junior elementary education major, was getting a card for his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day.

“I looked for one that was kinda cutesy,” O’Dow said.

“It’s a point scoring classic,” Kleba said of O’Dow’s card choice.

Elisabeth Kelly, junior biology/pre-medical and chemistry major, looked forward to the free personalized cards as a returning customer.

“It brightens my day,” Kelly said.

Each event Kleba does, he makes about 50-60 cards in a four hour span. His real mission is to make people question rules.

“Why are things this way? It started with political cartoons but a play on words can make people question as well,” Kleba said.

A student asked him to make a card without any names on it. When Kleba questioned why she did not want a name he laughed.

“Oh you don’t have anyone to give it to, so you don’t have anyone to give it to. See what I did there?” Kleba said.

Kleba comes back from year to year and students regularly look forward to his visits to the campus.

Kleba left all his customers with smiles on their faces and a creative card that could not be found in any Hallmark store.

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Melanie Greenberg

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