I interviewed Kasia Pawlak, a Polish artist living in Singapore, while chatting on Facebook. A short exchange of a few words, and I knew right away there’ll be one hell of editing, because, well, how to make a conversation resembling rather a casual talk over a beer between two old friends look like a decent interview and, to make matters worse, post it to the blog?
It all started when Kasia asked me whether I am a musician (indeed I am…), and whether we have mutual friends. Here I have to mention the name Pilichowski. For people not in the know: Wojciech Pilichowski is one of the most interesting Polish artists who does magic with his bass guitar (check it out here).
I don’t know Pilichowski personally but it’s nice to hear that the one you are talking with does, and does know him very well. Next was the discussion over the advantages of going to New York – especially when you are childless…
Kasia: Go there if you don’t have kids! Or maybe you do?
Neso Art: (laugh) I don’t, and it’s rather unlikely at the moment. I guess I don’t take life seriously enough to have children.
Kasia: I used to be the same :) But that has changed… Or maybe not…
Nesoart: You’ve mentioned that you have two children.
Neso Art: Do you teach them how to paint?
Kasia: I don’t, but I let them do it.
NA: And what’s their attitude?
Kasia: They get absorbed as quickly as they get bored – typical of children.
Neso Art: Recently I’ve bought my niece a huge painting set, and she got the hang of painting immediately. I enjoyed watching the whole “creative process”, if that’s what you can call it.
Kasia: Mine tend to compare themselves with me and want to paint something specific. I try to coax them to mess around and muck only, but the older one (8 years old) decided lately to paint himself and his sweetheart…
While chit-chatting about kids, we moved to another subject – place of residence . This seems to be a lot more interesting, judging by the countries in which Kasia has lived, namely Tokio, France, Singapore (precisely in this order).
Kasia: I moved to Singapore second time 4 years ago, because I’d already had 2 small kids, and Singapore is a perfect place for a family with small kids.
Neso Art: Why do you think so?
Kasia: For many reasons. Most of all, it’s a safe place. I don’t worry about my children getting raped, kidnapped and so on. It don’t worry that somebody will rob me. Life is pleasant and peaceful here. It’s warm all year long.
Neso Art: Wow, this really sounds like a dream place. And how’s art in Singapore? Can you come run into interesting local artists?
Kasia: Of course you can. I’m not in touch with them, but I see that they’re active.
Neso Art : Have you tried to organize any exhibitions there?
Kasia: I’m going to at the beginning of April in a Dutch club and also in a designer club in Singapore.
Neso Art : So it’s safe to say that you’re starting to show your work to people?
Kasia: Yes, I am.
Neso Art : And what’s the feedback?
Kasia: It could be better. These are not the kinds of places where people pay attention to paintings, let alone buy them.
Neso Art : Maybe the locals have different tastes? They prefer different themes?
Kasia: Singapore is surrounded by beautiful and interesting countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia or Thailand, where you can go at the weekend and buy a painting for 30$ in any colour scheme you like: red, green, violet. And what’s more, it’s still wet. Most people do this.
Neso Art: Speaking of your paintings – what inspires you? What made you develop in this particular direction?
Kasia: I used to get down to painting not knowing what will come out of it. I just chose a colour and waited for an initial shape to appear. Later, I was obsessed over painting women. I guess it’s the artwork of other artist that have always inspired me.
Neso Art: You surely have been surprised by the final effect many times, haven’t you? Whose works you find inspiring?
Kasia: Yes, I felt an urge to paint something surprising and personal. I like the works of VOKA and Jeremy Mann. I also enjoy the works of Afremov.
Kasia is a self-taught artist. She admits she has never taken any art lessons except a course at Vedic Art School in Warsaw. According to Kasia, painting is not the core of the course. It revolves around the spiritual; here, white canvas symbolizes our life.
Kasia: To put it straight, people are uneasy when they are to paint something. The course is supposed to guide them through a spiritual transformation, the result of which is that you start to create. The act of creation stands for a change in your life.
I have to admit it’s a very interesting concept and it’s worth taking a closer look at…
Neso Art: Do you like listening to music while painting?
Kasia: Yes, very much. Music is an important part of my life.
Neso Art: Do you think listening to music while painting can influence the outcome?
Kasia: I think it does.
Neso Art:What music are you listening to while painting?
Kasia: It depends on the painting. I know precisely what I want to play, and I always think it suits the painting I’m working on very well. I literally feel the energy connecting the music and the painting, as if the music was there in the flesh helping me paint. Sometimes it’s jazz, sometimes Frank Sinatra, Michael McDonald, and, recently, John Mayer.
Kasia: Who’s you absolute music idol?
Neso Art: I’ve never really understood the word “idol”, but if I were to choose, I’d be Pink Floyd. Maybe Jim Morrison too. And yours?
Kasia: I also haven’t moved on as far as music concerned. My husband thinks I’m a pretty old-fashioned. MJ is my idol. He’s absolutely the best.
get one of the greatest MJ's song. Maybe you'll get closer what's on Kasia's mind ;)
Neso Art: How about your other interests? Is there anything besides painting?
Kasia: Of course there is – it’s my life. I have two kids, a husband, a home. It all works thanks to me. This is what is of interest to me.
Neso Art: It surely gives you a sense of completion?
Kasia: I don’t know really.
Neso Art: And how would you define completion?
Kasia: One day you can feel complete and on the other you start desiring for something and completion disappears. It’s like sexual satisfaction. The same goes for completion in life.
I don’t know what it is really. It’s a short-lived sensation. It depends on the day, hormones, people who you meet and who you lose. How can you feel complete for the rest of your life? Life is constantly changing . Therefore, I don’t have an opinion.
Neso Art: Well, I’d rather tell you have ;)
Another subject: the belief that the usage of technology, computer and devices like Wacom tablet for creating visual arts means the demise for art.
Kasia: Damn, I don’t even know what a Wacom tablet is. I may not know much about this, but I have a friend who’s an illustrator working on a computer. I have seen her at work, and all I can say is that what she does is amazing.
Neso Art: Are there any places that stuck in your mind?
Kasia: Sure. There are a few. But to me, places are always linked with particular emotions. For example, Tokyo is important to me. There are many such places, sometimes they are flats etc.
Neso Art: Can you say more about Tokyo? You’ve lived there, haven’t you?
Kasia: There are many things to say about Tokyo. It’s very loud, glimmering, very clean, safe. I’d lived there for 2 years as a very young girl. There were 3 things I’ve been doing most of the time: I worked, went to parties and suffered the hangover. As you can see in my pictures, Tokio is blurry and vague. It’s all because I spent a lot of time there being drunk. I love to reminisce on the lights, the buildings and loud streets I saw then.
Neso Art: What people drink in Tokio?
Kasia: Everything! And you can never tell what. People mix a lot.
Neso Art: The question I am going to ask doesn’t have to be published: have you tried any drugs? Are you always sober while painting?
Kasia: My friend tried to convince me to paint while being tipsy. I haven’t tried it yet. Nevertheless, I’m thinking about using vodka.
Neso Art: Why? Sounds interesting. Has anybody tried it?
Kasia: No idea. But maybe they’ll mix nicely. I can’t drink it, since I don’t own a studio, and I can’t at home. I paint in the living room. I’ll tell you as soon as I try out vodka.
Neso Art: Absolutely ;)
///it happens, there's some artists using alcohol to their paintings, for example, Carne Griffiths from UK.///
Neso Art: What do you think about your art? The way you paint, your skills…
Kasia: I don’t know… I think I’m in the beginning, I like them, I like painting, but have no idea how others receive it. When I paint I always think I’m doing this for somebody else. I have a feeling that I paint to help someone, that I do something for them to feel good and I also want my clients to feel good with my paintings.
During the conversation we’ve touched upon other topics connected with spiritual development, dreams and the countries in which art was never alien. And that’s how we ended up with the Netherlands.
Neso Art: Sometimes it isn’t until the death of the author, or long time after, until his or her works gain value. But I wish you success during your lifetime.
Kasia: Right, that’s why I’ve recently posted the following quote on my fanpage on Facebook: “Buy my art before I die”.
Neso Art: How do you appraise your paintings? What are your criteria?
Kasia: I appraise them by myself. I try to estimate the most adequate price. I compare the prices of other paintings too, of course. For Singaporean standards (one of the most expensive countries in the world) my paintings are neither too pricy and neither too cheap.
and the last thing
Neso Art: What does the Universe mean to you?
Kasia: It’s a home, a part of me. A mystery.
If you like Kasia’s art, check out her Facebook profile or the website.
It’s worth it, since Kasia is an active painter, and she is updating her website regularly.
THe&Stary Van Dam Starry
also big hug to Justyna Wichrowska for translation help ;)