For this week’s interview, our guest is Agnieszka Nienartowicz a very special and talented painter from Poland with multiple scholarships, awards, distinctions, exhibitions, and publications! I am so pleased to have her here with us today 🙂
Anna (known here as Your Art Bud): Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your practices?
Agnieszka Nienartowicz: My main interest is humans and that what is around them. Attempting to penetrate their world, I try to catch the intimacy and self-mastery in simple situations, gestures, and glances. Intrigued by the moment of the boundary between the original and the reproduction. In realism, I find the way to explore perfectionism. Being in the process of learning myself through paintings all on my own, and contemplating in silence – detail after detail, going through the whole complexity each painting has to offer.
A: At what age have you started making art and what motivated you to keep going?
AN: Since my early childhood, I had the necessity to express my feelings. I liked drawing, painting, working with plasticine and doing any other hand-made activities, but I always treated them as playing. I was raised in a house of philologists: my father is a journalist, writer, and a poet; and my mom is a literature teacher. My parents were always paying attention to cultural life, literature, we were visiting cultural places like theaters and galleries. As a child I liked to sit in the corner when they had guests at home with whom often they were talking about adult things like literature, poetry, music and I was quietly listening to their conversations. I remember how excited I was when one of my uncles, who was my dad’s good friend from studies and one of most known Polish poets, used to give me his poetry books with special dedications like ‘to my small friend Agnieszka’. As a reply, I wrote him a few poems as well, as he was kind of my poet guru. My parents also cared about my cultural education a lot! We used to often visit theaters, cinemas, local Philharmonics; they were always reading for me. Later, when I was a teenager, they tossed to me some valuable literature. They also devoted a lot of time to long conversations with me – as a child I had a plethora of questions about ‘difficult’ things like about the meaning of life, God, ideals (and I have stayed this kind of person to this days – I am a kind of a restless being), so we were talking a lot. I recall all of these memories because I think all of them build me and my sensitivity and became the foundation of the person who I am today.
I started to write my first poems and short stories as a preschooler, then, as a teenager, I got some successes in it, I got some awards and small publications. Simultaneously I liked to draw and paint and I decided to go to a high school that focuses specifically on art – multiple drawing and painting classes. That is when I realized that painting does not have to be just for fun, and I can become a serious transmitter of my feelings and thoughts. In painting, I found a better relay of emotion for me. I can express them more literally and tangibly – so that others can feel the same feelings when looking at my painting. The expression of painting is less literal than in literature and poetry, but at the same time less intangible than music which is ethereal, and it proves to be the best language for me. And so it began.
A: Have you finished any art schools? How important do you think they are?
AN: For 2 years I studied at Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, Poland, and then I went and did another 3 years at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, Poland, from which I graduated. Before these studies, I finished the Art High School I mentioned before. In my opinion, an artist is not someone who has a ‘paper’ with a confirmation that they finished an art school. Rather it is someone, who wants to share something personal with the world. On the other hand, I think that studies help to understand more, look into yourself, clash with other pugnacious young souls and, as well as learn and develop your own technique. In my studies, I met several wonderful and masterful teachers who helped me to expand my horizons – and that is very precious.
In my opinion, an artist is not someone who has a ‘paper’ with a confirmation that they finished an art school. Rather it is someone, who wants to share something personal with the world. – Agnieszka Nienartowicz
A: Do you feel happy about your current style? How did you develop it?
AN: Yes, I am happy with what I do, and at the same time – no, not really. Yes, I like myself and who I am – and no because I unceasingly want more and more. I think following the “ideal vision” is a part of being an artist. And I am happy with it since it brings so much value by making me constantly think about what I do and how I can develop my technique even further.
I follow what I feel and I think it is the best way to go. My technique develops together with my age and my increasing perception, this way it develops naturally and it is impossible to skip any important steps. Also, I am very ambitious and I always try to do my best, often learning from achievements of my past and the ones of old masters.
A: How long does it take for you to finish one art piece? And how many hours per week do you draw on average?
AN: The time it takes me to finish one art piece depends on its level of complexity, my frame of mind and how comfortable I feel painting it. Some paintings take a lot of hard work and time, since the process is so resisting, while as others, seem to just flow easily. This happens when I ‘feel’ the painting. In general, finishing one piece takes me anywhere from two weeks to 1,5 months. I work a lot. Maybe I am kind of workaholic – but, being honest, that is what really attracts me in the painting process. The more I have done – the more I want to do. I am very ambitious.
I gave myself a limit of minimum 30 hours per week of continuously painting, but I like raising a bar and work more. Sometimes it is hard because I need to get some rest and think about my future works, and sometimes I have to do my home responsibilities too. I also travel a lot. Often I feel weary and languorous by sitting the whole day in my studio, so I need to go out and stretch my body (I hike in the mountains) and just have fun as any other person. But, on average, I work between 4 and 10 hours per day. Working more than 10 hours is unfavorable because it makes my eyes and mind very tired.
A: What about the themes of your paintings? Can you tell us about sources of your inspiration?
AN: People hide in themselves and are the biggest mysteries. It always pulls me in. On the inside, so many different emotions and thoughts have clashed together, but only a small part of them are visible on the outside. Unfortunately, we can not simply look into someone’s head and soul, we are such complicated creatures. Also, I was always intrigued by the connection between a person and their motion in their surrounding. What I depict is a caught moment of the three things: someone’s secret emotion, their move in space, which together form and contain in itself a strong emotional strength. For example, when you are drinking a cup coffee with someone, sitting in a kitchen in an early morning light, absorbing the smell of dawn and the coffee mixed into one – all of these things combined together create a unique atmosphere. If I could explain my painting further, I am not concentrating on who the person is, with whom they are drinking that coffee and what they say, but rather on these ‘fillouts‘ (as I call them) between words. I specify it as the soul of the moment. Furthermore, I am greatly fascinated by God and His nature. I try to find Him and His presence in these special but at the same time ordinary moments.
What I depict is a caught moment of the three things: someone’s secret emotion, their move in space, which together form and contain in itself a strong emotional strength. – Agnieszka Nienartowicz
A: What does your working process look like? Where do you start?
AN: As I mentioned above, my paintings start from pausing a moment and looking at different points in it. Sometimes it is a thought, an idea or a symbol which flutters in my head and causes further continuation in associations. Then, the scene emerges and I start planning a painting, finding models and surroundings. I take photographs and design every detail. When I have all I need for the project and I ‘feel’ it – I start painting.
A: Who are your top favorite artists?
AN: I have some favorite artists and some favorite paintings – but they always change as the time passes. A few years ago, I had a period when I loved Lucian Freud, Edward Hopper, Gerhard Richter, Rene Magritte; before that, I liked Jenny Saville, Henri Rousseau, Neo Rauch, Jacek Malczewski. Now, I am so fascinated by works of Dino Valls, they just nested in my mind and refuse to leave. I love Carl Randall, too. I appreciate works of Alex Kanevsky, Nicola Samori. I also had a period of being fascinated by Gothic, Renaissance and early Renaissance artists: Giotto, Masaccio, Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Pierro Della Francesca, Matthias Grünewald, Albrecht Durer and many more… My newest paintings partially are a result of my fascination of those ages’ art styles.
I also had some paintings and artists who I really hated in the past and one day I remembered them and said to myself, ‘they are genius!’. It has happened with Tamara Lampicka and Paolo Uccello (especially with the painting ‘St. George and a dragon’ which I adore now).
A: Do you have any tips for newbie artists on how to start selling their art or how did you sell your first art piece?
AN: You need to be patient, ambitious and very hardworking. Try to do your best and don’t get discouraged. Selling works comes after following your own road and do not aim mainly into selling works – aim to be yourself and do what you love. Then, people who feel your authenticity will find you.
Thank you so much, Agnieszka for sharing your personal story with us!
Got inspired yet? 🙂 Hope you enjoyed reading her unique story!
Check out these posts for more Art Tips, Inspiration and Motivation:
* “ Artist Interview #1 – Featuring Kevin Hong ” where he shares his art story, tips, and inspirations with us 🙂
* ” Artist Interview #2 – Featuring B. Blue “ for her story and colorful paintings!
* ” How to Art – 7 Beginner Steps to Improve Your Drawings “ for some more tips on how to get started on Your Art Path!
* ” 15 Leonardo Da Vinci Quotes ” to learn from the master’s ideas!
* ” Art Inspiration Weekly #1 ” to get inspired by awesome contemporary artworks published every Thursday!
* ” Top Oil Painting Tutorials on YouTube or 8 Steps to Learning How To Paint in Olis ” to master oil painting in no time!
Good luck on Your Art Path,
– Your Art Bud! 😉