The heroine of this interview can be said to be a well-known make-up artist, the owner of a beauty salon, a professional photographer, and an irreplaceable organizer of photo plein airs. Will this definition tell us everything about Monika Bojsan? Definitely not! Monika Bojsan: “When I enter the world of the painting, I move to another dimension”
Luxury Splash Of Art: You are full of amazing ideas. The energy in you is buzzing! You are a make-up artist, photographer, mother… In addition, you create beautiful workshops and open-air events that bring together many creative people. Tell us how it all started. What made you do these things and why?
Monika Bojsan: For me, photography is a perfect escape from reality. When I enter the world of the painting, I move to another dimension. Although I took up photography 10 years ago, I must reveal that there are “photographic genes” in my family – laughs Monika. My grandfather, Franciszek Fatyga, was the first photographer in Strzelin. This occupation was not just a job for him, but a real passion. Grandpa trained all his children, including my mother, of course. My dad was also active in this field, he was a photographer in the army. My grandfather was a “one-man band”, he dealt with many things, I guess I take it after him. So, I am a photographer, make-up artist, and stylist, and I also deal with logistics issues. I am proud to say that we continue this family tradition. My son Bruno participates in the plein airs – he is my chief assistant. He is 14 years old; I am happy to see how he is drawn into the world of painting.
LSA: I would like to know what fascinated you in photography, because looking at your works, I get the impression that they are spiritual and inspiring. Which of your jobs has been the most groundbreaking in your business?
MB: I graduated from the Academy of Visage and Styling which sparked my imagination and encouraged me to combine different styles in a not entirely obvious way. I will never forget my sensational project: at the end of the year, we had to make an outfit for a photo shoot from recycled materials. I made a dress out of… plastic spoons. Then I went to the Center for Creative Attitudes and majored in photography. There, I could use my skills in practical classes that took place in the studio. I came to these classes with a car full of gadgets, styling elements, and sometimes even furniture! It happens to me all the time now, but the number of things and the dimensions of the car are much larger – laughs Monika. The classes gave me great satisfaction. The next step was to organise meetings for friendly photographers. I chose the places, and elements of the scenography, and comprehensively prepared the models for the session… and again I felt that I was completely fulfilling myself as a photographer..
LSA: As a make-up Artist, you also use your knowledge and skills on the set. How is it working with models and other photographers?
MB: In the outdoors, I always care about the atmosphere of the team. We all work together and create a picture together, capturing fleeting moments and impressions. In every situation and at every stage of the creative process, you meet halfway with another person who has a vision. For example: working with models is trouble-free because they are people with a very professional approach, and each of these people easily endures the tedious time of preparing for the session. When it comes to make-up, the matter is also very simple here because they are people of exceptional beauty, with a perfect complexion, so the activities related to applying make-up and make-up do not take long. So, we all create a platform for the exchange of energy and experiences, and we all carry each other with our skills and talents.
LSA: What do you draw your inspiration from? Do you have a favourite theme, theme, or place?
MB: I draw inspiration from all walks of life. These are everyday situations, stories told to me by other people, but also a movie I watched or a book I read. But the music videos influence me the most. It doesn’t come out of nowhere: I remember the first time I saw George Michael’s “Too Funky” video, I was mesmerised by it, and I even thought that I would like to live in such a world. I consistently put these teenage dreams into practice. In the field of photography, music videos are my main inspiration. This is how an open-air with mannequins was created. Inspired by Kimbra’s “Settle Down” music video, I bought a lot of mannequins and warned photographers to be prepared for footage in this style. I must admit I didn’t see much enthusiasm in the group after I announced it… However, later on, everyone was delighted with the shots with mannequins in the lead role. The “red-haired” plein air, with masks and snakes, came from similar sources. Here, I was inspired by Francesca Belmonte’s music video “Are You”. As a result, extraordinary shots were also created, and I … stopped being afraid of snakes! I even have my corn snake now. Bogusia, because that’s her name, participates in some open-air events as a “model”.
LSA: I’ve noticed that you plan rallies and photographic plein airs very often. They are organized in different places. Do they take place only in Poland or also abroad?
MB: Yes, I organise a variety of plein airs, including thematic ones, too. For example, there was a golden plein air, where stylisations in this colour prevailed. I even repainted the chairs that I took from home for the session. Some time ago, there was also an outdoor session with red-haired models only. Workshops usually take place in Bożków, in a beautiful, abandoned palace. It’s a wonderful place, full of space with a variety of styles. I admit that after some time I have to come up with new topics for these meetings because often the same photographers travel with me, so I wanted their outings to be varied. In such a situation, each time I add new stylizations, and even bring furniture because the palace is, after all, empty. In addition, I often add animals to the picture, i.e., horses, snakes, and my Russian greyhound – a female dog named Masha which fits perfectly into the atmosphere of the palace. Outdoors give me a lot of expression and satisfaction, they open space for new possibilities. So far, I have done plein airs only in Poland, but let’s see what the future brings.
LSA: You have a full wardrobe of props. Where are you getting them from?
MB: I’ve been collecting props for years. I collected them and bought something with the thought that it would be useful for my photos. I already had a lot of equipment and little time to do all these sessions with my “possessions”. When the number of props grew to enormous proportions, Małgorzata Sadowska (a Polish designer) called me to say that she was changing the profile of her work, which meant that she wanted to focus on the In-between brand. Małgosia offered to give me all her artistic projects because she knew that quote: “I will make good use of them”. At that moment, I thought I had no choice but to do an open air.
LSA: Do you work with a fashion designer? Other make-up Artis or hairdressers, models?
MB: I choose photographers and models based on portfolios. I have created a space where I support artists in the creative process by offering them work with an outstanding team of people. We can implement any idea, any inspiration. All these people make our meetings unique. It is an interdisciplinary space that allows for the flow of amazing energy.
LSA: Tell us how you do it, that you find amazing places, fantastic people, wonderful scenography elements?
MB: I always try to find unique, unusually atmospheric places, I work with designers such as Katarzyna Konieczka, Nika Danielska, Ela Olszewska Fashion Designers, and many others who, with their work, add splendour to meetings. My plein airs are characterised by the fact that there is a full wardrobe of unique stylizations available there. In addition, I work with very talented artists who complete the picture with unique hairstyles and headgear. They are Magdalena Gaja Kapelan, Martyna Bryk, and Piotr Rybarczyk who joined the team in the most recent editions.
Two plein airs were created with multi-instrumentalists, which gave depth and lots of emotions to the creation, there were also hairdressers, stylists, designers i.e. The Mystery Barbers. I would like to emphasise that every makeup is done by very talented makeup artists and all models are comprehensively prepared for the photo shooting.
LSA: Can you count on people who help you with each new project?
MB: I want to thank all the photographers, models, designers, and stylists for joining me in this creative madness. I feel great gratitude, especially to Magdalena Gaja Kapelan who has been with me from the very first open-air session, as well as to Martyna Bryk for her involvement in this project, and support at every moment and every stage.
LSA: How long does it take you to organize an outdoor event?
MB: As all issues related to the organisation of meetings rest solely on my shoulders, the plein air takes up a large part of my life. Photographers, make-up artists, hairstylists, and models come for two or three days of the plein air while I prepare for it much earlier, sometimes the whole process can take even half a year. I must point out that after each open-air event I still have a lot of responsibilities related to it, there are a lot of issues to sort out and work out.
LSA: What emotions do you convey through this outdoors?
MB: What do I convey with my outdoors? The message is that together we can do more. During meetings each of us gives 100% and even more. With so many talented, creative individuals colliding, we all give something from ourselves, we support each other, and we inspire each other creatively.
LSA: What gives you joy?
MB: In photography, I love meeting other people. I am inspired by working with the body, with its perfections and imperfections, in a situation where a person becomes truthful with himself. Photography is a mirror in which not only the photographed object is viewed – looking at the photos, you can also tell a lot about the author. Moreover, on this ground, the photographer and the model metaphysically meet halfway to create the image. I often hear comments that my photos are amazing, just kind of sad. Well, I photograph myself, and this message, sadness, is in me, so it will also be visible in the photos.
LSA: Tell us about your plans: what would you like to achieve or create?
MB: I would like everyone who deals with art, either professional or amateur, to be satisfied with how their creative process is going. It is important to open your eyes to different possibilities, to see different options, and to stand out from the patterns. I would like to pursue this approach professionally. I have a dream to organise only plein airs because it gives me a lot of satisfaction and I feel that this is my path, the path I want to follow.
Interview By Kamila Krzyzaniak