Kasia Derwinska talks to us about her art, answering 10 questions, using the 5 W’s

(Who, What, Where, When, Why).


Who are you?

I was born in Warsaw, Poland but for over 15 years I live in Barcelona, Spain. 

Rather introvert, observant, I do not describe myself as a photographer. I am rather a story-teller who instead of words uses created, composed images as a medium to evoke the imagination.

Who are your favourite artists?

As my work is an attempt to blur the line between photography, painting and illustration, the artists that inspire me are from these genres.

My first inspirations come from the illustrations for Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen made by polish masters of illustrations. I was fascinated and at the same time terrified by these grotesque, disturbing, gloomy and at the same time very painterly illustrations full of phantoms, graves and skulls.

Then when I was a teenager, I discovered polish painter Zdzislaw Beksinski and his disturbing paintings, showing a gloomy, surrealistic environment with detailed scenes of death, decay, landscapes filled with skeletons, deformed figures and deserts.

As an adult I discovered works of Storm Thorgerson, who with the group Hipgnosis, created the most iconic cover art of rock albums for groups such Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or Peter Gabriel. 

Most of his designs have elements typical of surrealism, extracting elements from their usual context, distorting realities through visual montages or placing them in immense dreamlike spaces.

Also the important inspiration is the work of Rene Magritte, surrealist artist, who became well known for creating a number of witty and thought-provoking images, depicting ordinary objects in an unusual context.


What themes does your art focus on?

I work on five series simultaneously. 

The first one – conceptual usually in black and white – touches the theme of human nature (our doubts, searching for a meaning of life, fears etc). It talks about the position of a man in the world and society. Very often it also refers to relationships and to the general concept of being human. 

The second one is an attempt to reflect my night dreams searching for its meaning as they are often very intense, full of archetypes and symbols that are deeply rooted in our collective memory. 

The serie “fairy tales and fantasies” is pure imagination, inspired by children’s books, ancient beliefs, myths and legends. It often has a touch of magic. 

Another serie, called “who sings, frightens away his fears” is full of pure, vibrant colours with a bit of infantile look-like mood. This serie is my own therapy when I am in a bad mood, some kind of escape from the painful reality of life. 

Finally, the serie “in search of lost time”, the serie where time and the clock as mechanism is a motif. I am fascinated about the concept of time in its physical meaning and I love the clocks as a mechanism for its precision and complexity.

What is your hallmark as an artist?

I am not sure what makes people say “oh, I knew it was your work!

Maybe because I learned Photoshop on my own using the method “try, error, back, try again”, I have created some method in my creations, some sort of defined process by using functions that I like the most. Functions like tones, brushes, light of textures that makes my work easily recognized. 

I suppose that also the scale and combination of objects, this surreal aspect of my work, help to identify them as mine.

What music or other audio do you listen to while you work?

If the image I work on is inspired by some short film or song, I usually listen or watch it again and again during the whole process of creation.

If not, I prefer to work in silence with no distractions, just concentrating inside my imagination.


When did you decide that art was part of you and your life?

I think creativity was always present in my life. Already as a child I loved to arrange my room using the objects found in the attic or in the basement.

I grew up in an old house from The Interwar Period, so it was a real treasure chest for me as a child. 

Although my family has often become dumbfounded to see some of my finds as decorations of my room.

For years I worked on the field of design of interiors, in the meantime I was creating amateur sculptures from rope, I was painting mandalas, I did a course of lithography, I was writing poems for some short time and did some others art activities and finally, the visual creation became my way to express myself.


Where do you work on your artwork?

It depends on the serie I work on but usually, first I photograph first some individual objects or stage situation outside. Luckily, I have enough space around the house so it is easy when it’s come to moving all the stuff. 

After that, I do the post-processing at my studio on the PC and usually it takes more time.

Where would you like to see your artworks exhibited?

Although I do not exhibit quite often, I would love to show my works in my native Warsaw in Poland.


Why do you make art?

I started with these conceptual creations in a very difficult period in my life. 

It was a kind of my own therapy, the way to forget and to find some release. I never thought or planned that my works will be recognized and that so often people will find themselves, their own doubts in my images.  

It just came on its own. For me, this need to disconnect from daily life that sometimes is overwhelming is the reason why I still do this.

Why do you think art is important in our society?

I think art is important because it has the special ability to connect with human emotions and has the strong capacity to focus the viewer on the concrete point.

The art can create controversy, can be criticised or can be incomprehensible but first of all the real art touches the emotions of the observer, evokes thoughts, gives the replies and in the same time provokes more questions.

It makes any change for the better on the world level as well as on the individual level of any single person possible.

Visit the Pavilion in Augmented Reality in Artinside Gallery dedicated to Kasia Derwinska (Poland).

Download “Artinside Gallery+” on the App Store (for iPad and iPhone) and enjoy Kasia Derwinska’s Pavilion: 25 artworks come to life around you in life-size, in augmented reality!

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