A few years ago, I returned to my artistic practice after stopping completely following the end of my undergraduate studies. At the time, my reality was not in line with my dreams which made me convinced that the art path was not for me. But, as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t ignore the absence of creating for long, seeing how it had been been a significant part of my life beginning with my childhood in Poland. Five years after college, I started to create again, this time black and white drawings on paper, largely different than my former enthusiastic and colorful paintings and illustrations.
My current pieces are assembled using many individually drawn illustrations on thick paper that are cut out using an x-acto knife and adhered together. The individual elements, some original and some printouts of the original, are layered at different depths using foamcore to create the detailed and complicated texture of the final piece. This way of making is a combination of my childhood creation of wycinanki (Polish paper cut outs), enthusiasm for stickers, and later in life, working in an advertising company’s mount room, where I would precisely cut out and assemble product packaging for presentations.
The pieces greatly vary in subject. I created one for the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. This piece illustrated the unintentional wildlife reserve created by the nuclear fallout and lack of human intervention. Most recently, I made a deeply personal piece whose subject is a memory of an interaction with a family member. This memory surfaced instantly as I learned of his recent passing: him catching pigeons for me in a square in Krakow to cheer me up.
I feel a deep need to focus my ideas. Over the next year, my family will be the focus of my work. My aim is to serve as the family record keeper, to translate and interpret our memories and experiences into tangible, visual pieces. Through interviews, I want to create a space for them to honestly reflect on being an immigrant Polish family, loss of language and traditions, as well as their interwoven, and occasionally turbulent relationships. This is an attempt to connect myself to my roots out of fear that the older generation will be gone without capturing who they had been and how that had shaped me.