Artist » Interview



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1. Tell me a little bit about your works.

     Once, as every aspiring artist, I tried to force my own, easily recognizable, unique style. After years of trials, I found that such a process does not make sense, because I would always need to adhere to a rigid framework. Painting would be a torture. Therefore I started to paint in harmony with myself, effortlessly. I naturally turned to depicting humans. In my paintings, I try to save from oblivion Polish traditions, rituals and customs that are slowly dying out. They are the only timeless and supranational values that give life a meaning.

2. In order to understand the impact of a painting on a viewer as well as different ways of perception, you took an interest in biology, psychology, physiology, neurology of vision, philosophy and mysticism. What did you find out?

      It is a broad subject, for several articles. To put it simply, I discovered how a man can see, how he processes visual stimuli, puts an image together and how he reacts to it. Man sees only the image produced by his own brain, it is never a reflection of reality. The final image is affected by many factors, starting from the organ of sight to the evolution-developed functioning of the brain and ending with the cultural conditions. To me, the most important in the visual arts is the direct impression of the painting on a viewer.

3. It is said your are a perfectionist, you destroyed many of your paintings.

      Yes. I am able to destroy a big painting and start from scratch if I know what the problem is and how to solve it. But it is not always the case, we are not always able to predict everything. Such paintings do not leave my studio and land in the oven.

4. Your favorite form is a portrait. What is the most interesting element of it?

      In general, figurative art. A portrait is only a part of it, the most difficult one. By means of a portrait, you have to convey something more than a visual form. You need to refer to the mystery the world would not exist without. I like to watch people standing in front of my portraits. They feel something magical, interact with the painting. I often hear that my portraits are more real than reality, however, after a detailed analysis, it may seem strange. They do not include any details and the closer we approach, the greater impressionism and abstraction we can observe. But this is exactly how I intensify the visual stimulus. Through evolution, we have been conditioned to simplify the things we can see in order to respond to symbols quickly and survive. This is how abstract shapes become more important than reality and evoke emotions. Therefore, a good abstraction can evoke emotions through a combination of color, a play of light and shadows, shapes, texture, various optical illusions, etc. But if that happens, it automatically denies its existence. Every abstract painting imitates reality at some level, which contradicts its theoretical abstraction. To me, the aim is to use this tool and put into a complete painting and, as I am trying to paint universal beauty, limit the symbolism in my work to the archetype rooted in the collective consciousness. 

5. What is creative work to you and how are you motivated to it?

      The most powerful of all the forces lying dormant in us, is our inner child. Unrestricted. Man loses the ability of original perception through the conditioned mind that filters and keeps the viewer in a dream. My goal is to interrupt this dream, at least temporarily, by reaching the observer, or, as they Eastern mystics say, self, which is hidden deep in the heart. I am showing the beauty of this world, the perfect world. Therefore, I do not recreate what is visible to the naked eye. I rather make it visible. To me, the aim of art should not be a diluted intellectual distillate, but life itself - an intense, dazzling life. It is much more difficult than shocking with ugliness and scandal, but I take up this unequal battle, because the human soul desires beauty, which is its balm.

6. What helps you during creative work? Are you stimulated by the environment, music, memory or something else?

      I am not an artist who creates a painting as a result of an expressive outbreak. My studio looks a bit like a cloister cell. Nothing distracts me. It helps me to calm down and focus on the process. If the mind is too active, it seems it is not there. The design of the studio has a technical reason as well. Gray and black walls do not affect the colors which I mix and eliminate highlights caused by brushstrokes.

7. Where do you get your ideas from? What inspires you to create such paintings and not different ones?

      Ideas come from observing life itself. The man in today's world runs through life too fast, ignoring not only beautiful views, which he is not able to admire, but also being unaware of where he is going and why. Using all my knowledge, I am trying to show the observer what he can see every day and what he does not discern. Oscar Wilde said: “The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”

8. Is the creative work a kind of struggle or does it come to you easily?

      To me, the process of painting is a form of meditation. There are two ways of painting. The first is ‘to paint ’ and the second is ‘painting’. The difference does not appear to be large, but it is essential, as the second becomes a form of a presence. You need to be here and now, aware of each an every move. Each brushstroke counts.

9. A few more questions about the skills and creative process:

- Do you do preliminary drawings or paint without any preparation?

      It depends on a number of factors. Starting from the size and ending with the complexity of the painting. With big paintings, I devote a lot of time to preliminary drawings and proper arrangement of individual elements. With smaller ones, the underpainting with diluted paint is enough to outline the arrangement of individual blocks.

- What kind of canvas you use how does it impact the picture visually?

      I prepare the canvas myself, for two reasons: I have influence on the canvas and the way it is strained. I use the canvas of a Belgian company. This is a so-called life-like weave. It gives the whole piece an organic look. It is handmade and has absorption and grip which help me work best.

- What tools and paints do you use to create a painting?

      I use Winsor & Newton paints. Strong and pure pigments. I try to keep my studio the least toxic I can, therefore I limit the solvents. I use Liquin only in the early stages and darker parts of an painting. Then I use paint straight from the tubes. When it comes to brushes, I have a very wide range to choose from. The glass palette, painted gray on the underside, makes it easier to assess the value of color while mixing.

- What affects the final shape of a painting and when do you feel it is finished?

      As someone has already said, the painting is never finished, it simply stops at an interesting moment. It can be tricky to feel this moment and it is easy to overdo. The final shape of a painting is determined by everything. All elements need to form a harmonious combination.

- How long does the process of creating last?

      Every painting is different. The average-sized needs two or three weeks to be finished. I do not hurry at work, it is not my aim to finish the painting in two or three days. The only purpose is to delight and enchant the viewer.