Art is a constant fight for its status quo

Kamila Skupien is a young painter-artist from Krakow, Poland based in the beating heart of the UK – central London. As a self-thought creative, she finds her artistic inspiration in the multidimensionality of everyday life and shares her creative energy to evoke people’s imagination with her colourful, geometric, abstract paintings. Creating in London allows Kamila to explore the wonderful artistic surroundings of this iconic city. However, her strong connections to her hometown, and long-established links to her family’s artistic legacy, are early points for her eternal inspiration and creative longingness.

LSA: Did you always want to become an artist when you grew up?

KS: If I asked myself this question today, there would be the same answer as when I was a little girl attending artistic clubs to gain early art education. It was natural to respond with “an artist”. On the contrary, it also seemed that my background expected me to answer: doctor, lawyer or scientist. Deep inside, I always knew I was an artistic soul. Various art tutors recognised it and offered me a further professional artistic education. But it took me a while to define myself artistically and embrace it internally. The turning point in my art preparation was entering music school for some years. I continued independent art learning, following my most creative ambitions, but not in professional contexts.

LSA: How does your family’s artistic legacy define you as an artist living in a modern society?

KS: I grew up in Krakow, Poland, with an interest in painting, where my family’s past, city life and artistic community influenced me to use canvas, colour acrylics and oil paints to create my work. Inspired to a large extent by my passion for painting as a descendant of a Krakow-based artistic family whose genealogy traces back to the mid-19th century, I feel connected to its achievements in art, bookbinding and cinematography. A city with centuries of printing and bookbinding traditions, Krakow has been occupying an honourable place in the history of the Polish art scene. My ancestors had a powerful impact as one of the most significant masters in bookbinding of that time, producing bespoke, luxury, high-quality projects for a range of high-profile clients across Poland and Europe. The royal’s establishment during the Austro-Hungarian Empire on Polish-Galician territories recognised my family for their successful contributions. It highlighted the noble character of the achievements, making it an exceptional moment in my family history. Pioneering in Polish cinematography of the 20th century, my family members have continued the legacy throughout generations.

LSA: How does your past affect your artistic present?

KS: My painting style focuses on the present and remains contemporary. However, painting is often the starting point for contradictory, simultaneous serpentines of thought. Hence, I plan to re-create past projects to give more space to inner nostalgia and sentiment for my cultural origins in a more updated version and re-imagined shape. I continue creative dialogue with the past in a colourful collaboration featuring signature bookbinding pieces of my grandfathers to recreate them on modern canvas. Your painting is bright, colourful and precise. Why did you choose that kind of style for your work? Colour surrounds us, it is within us. We observe that a palette of bright and bold colours enters luxury, fashion in a refreshed, new look. As a young artist, I still search for my “definite” style, but the process shows that geometrical, abstract shapes in bright colours speak of me. Colourful motifs, repetitive patterns, and contrasting visions – that’s how I would describe my artistic alter ego.

LSA: When can one become an artist?

KS: I constantly rediscover myself as an artist – it is an ongoing, rather beautiful process that sometimes can evoke deeply hidden feelings that can challenge you. Art helps to embrace your personality and manifest your identity. Rediscovering my artistic identity, I realised there is no best-describing definition of art. To determine what art is, I organised and curated a thought-provoking art and photo exhibition, which originated from segments of links and conversations with a photographer artist alongside representatives of Camden’s community. It was a conceptual attempt to discover subjective and spontaneous definitions of art that presented the development of examining art in its verbal and literary form. It was fascinating to learn what art is through the eyes of the public and to give space for people to feel noticed and listened to. Perhaps it helped some of the audience to define themselves as an artist.

LSA: What is art to you?

KS: Art is what you think art is. Art is a constant fight for its status quo. Art is for everyone – it is free from everything and unlimited for everyone. It is (or should be) gender and sex-free – Guerilla Girls, amongst others, have proven it very well by transforming the relationship between art, sex, and politics. It is both vegan and non-vegan. It is a mystery and mastery of a medium. It is endless. It is contradictory. It is self-governed. It is everything and nothing. Art helps to discover your identity, frame your mind, and discern the world. Art is free and sets you free.

LSA: How living in London has changed you as an artist?

KS: London is home to countless museums and art galleries, with world-renowned Tate Modern and National Gallery, or less recognised – Sir John Sloane’s Museum – to list a few of my favourites. Moving to London, I realised it was missing something I could only experience in European cities – Krakow, Budapest, Florence – a genuine, classic, very traditional way of encountering art. Modernity mixed with tradition was a new, refreshing, exciting concept in London. London and its people empowered me to redefine myself and continue cultivating my passion. I participated in and organised art exhibitions – it was a mindful, intentional, determined, and spirited decision. I am looking forward to the universe working around me for more inspirational opportunities to come my way to explore my artistic vision and ideas.

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