I’m originally from a very small town in south west Poland, it’s one of these places where everyone knows everything about everyone. As a fresh high school graduate I decided to move abroad and start living on my own. I have lived in London and Glasgow before settling in Manchester, where I now work and study Graphic Design at Manchester School of Art. I definitely didn’t grow up in a creative environment, it never occurred to me that I could pursue a career in the arts until I was around 20. I felt like my parents always wanted to see me working as a doctor or lawyer rather than an illustrator/designer. When I look back, I remember being very creative, I always found myself making something. I was spending my days drawing portraits of my family or tracing Disney characters. I used to take part in various creative competitions and I even have a history of being ‘a designer’ in the school newspaper. Instead of going to university straight after I graduated from school, I decided to move abroad and find something that I could devote myself to. Living in London at the age of 19 was a life changing experience, I grew as a person and developed as a designer.
In the beginning, it was very challenging for me to find my voice as a designer/illustrator. I started developing my creative practice relatively late, so I always felt like I was behind and I needed to catch up. This was really frustrating for me, however I’ve now realised that there’s no point in rushing and putting too much pressure on myself . In my opinion, the best way to develop your own style is to be patient and do what comes naturally. It’s very hard to stand out and be original these days, but the only way to do it is to be true to yourself and create work that you, as an artist, enjoy the most. Personally, I like to keep my work rather minimal. I love telling stories through colour, composition and simple shapes. I try to keep my work looking consistent, I think that the style itself is not as important as the overall attitude of the work. Most of my designs are concept-oriented but I also love creating things that are simply nice to look at. (PERSONALITY REFLECTED?) Yes, I believe so. I’m a very melancholic person which is something that I like exploring in my work, especially through colours or composition and as a subject matter. I like playing with ambiguity and contrast. I like to create characters and show situations that seem cheerful and positive at first, but when you look closer, the work is actually multi-faceted.
It depends on what I’m working on, whether it’s a brief or a personal project, the creative process isn’t always the same. Sometimes, I can spend hours trying to come up with something interesting or I can be flooded with ideas; generally, I try to keep my eyes open to everything. I realise how cliched it may sound, but I truly believe that if you look close enough, you can find an inspiration in everything. I always keep a diary where I doodle, write music lyrics or simply write my thoughts. If I like an idea or a sketch, I try to experiment with it before developing it digitally. At this point, I then play with colours and change the shapes until I’m satisfied with the piece. Most of my work has been created digitally but I’ve always viewed the computer as a tool, not as a restriction.
"I try to stay active and not spend my entire days looking at other design work on Instagram or Pinterest, it’s very easy to get caught up in trends. Instead, I go to the local galleries, libraries or designer’s shops to see things in person and feel them in my hands. As a print lover, I appreciate the texture and quality of the paper, paying attention to the printed details."
When I struggle to come up with an idea, I try not to force it. Usually, I tend to shift to another project or just simply have a break to organise my thoughts. I’m sharing my time between university, commissions and personal projects. I think managing this balance is the best way to keep my creative juices flowing. It’s really important for me to do what I enjoy, otherwise, I’d quickly end up being frustrated and uninspired. I try to stay active and not spend my entire days looking at other design work on Instagram or Pinterest, it’s very easy to get caught up in trends. Instead, I go to the local galleries, libraries or designer’s shops to see things in person and feel them in my hands. As a print lover, I appreciate the texture and quality of the paper, paying attention to the printed details. There is so much pattern and character to be found by keeping objects real, you can focus on the print or the imagery used and you can see and feel the variations of the natural print.
During the time in the capital I widely developed my interest in art and design. I think it’s a great place to gain a professional experience and it’s full of opportunities, but at the same time, it’s more difficult to stand out as there’re so many great artists trying to get noticed. I think it’s also worth mentioning that Glasgow, often overlooked, has an amazing art scene and it’s definitely one of the UK’s main art centres in the North! I haven’t been in Manchester long enough to form an opinion, but from what I have seen, the city has a lot to offer as well. There’re always some events happening and it’s relatively easy to set up an exhibition or run a print fair. We have places like the Whitworth Gallery, People’s History Museum or HOME that puts on great exhibitions and run different workshops and events regularly. I’m planning to stay here a couple of years and I’m hoping to meet more local artists and work on exciting collaborations. Lately, I had a chance to work with lovely guys from Cluny MCR Magazine, that promotes emerging local artists from Manchester. I think projects like that are important to the communities and I wish there were more such initiatives.
Lately I have actually been experimenting with canvas and paint, in particular gouache, exploring more of a fine art practice. I haven't worked with brushes in a while and I have really been missing the handmade quality of work. I have been learning more about animation and moving image and so to take my practice back to a more traditional approach is really refreshing, I’m not a very patient person though, so I don’t know how it is going to work out! However, I do to love see my characters coming into life! In the future, there are definitely more mediums I would love to explore, sculpture and 3D printing in particular, but more about that soon! There’re many artists that have a big influence on me and my work. I’m a huge fan of Fernand Leger and his unique style has been an inspiration for me since I can remember. Also, there was a time in my life when I was completely obsessed with Andy Warhol, at some point, I even started to dress up like him! Other designers include Paul Rand, Bradbury Thomson or Erik Kessels. Not to mention my lovely friends and amazing artists all over the world that I follow on Instagram and other social media. Out of all artists though, and if had to choose, I’d probably say David Shrigley. I just love his attitude and sharp sense of humour. I imagine it would be a fun collaboration!
(ART SCHOOL) I genuinely love it! The Graphic Design course is so much fun and I feel lucky to have amazing tutors that have taught so much about the subject. Being in the art school definitely changed my way of thinking and opened my eyes to a wider perspective. What I like about the course is how it allows me to take a much more personal approach and embrace my individuality. It’s a constant rollercoaster though — one day, you’re feeling proud of your work, the next day you can be questioning yourself. Even though it can get stressful sometimes, I feel like it’s nothing compared to ‘the real world’ that I’m going to have to face eventually. This is why I’m trying to take as much as I can out of the course, and simply enjoy the whole process. If not now, when? At the moment, I’m trying to focus on my studies and learn as much as I can before entering the professional world. I do actually have a specific plan in my head, but I’m not getting too much ahead of the time (frankly, I’m just too terrified). The ultimate goal for me is to keep doing what I love, collaborate with great people and keep getting better everyday.