Flower in the vase… This is how she recalls her first painting copied in a museum while waiting for her dad to come out of a meeting. She was a little girl, maybe 6 or 7… it was that moment when she fell in love with painting, and she has never stopped… it was her favourite subject at school, and she planned to apply to the Academy of Fine Art but life directed her differently and only when she retired from Scotland Yard, she became fully dedicated to art. Since then, she has had around 100 exhibitions in Europe, she has also been an active member of a few art organisations, including APA (Association of Polish Artists in Great Britain). Together with my husband Mariusz, we are planning two big exhibitions in the next couple of years. However, they are at the application stage, so I cannot reveal anything at this point – says Kasia Kaldowski
LSA: You are an artist who loves to express herself through painting. Can you please tell me what it means to you?
KK: Painting to me has meant a lot of different things throughout my life. From means of escapism, meditation, a need for acceptance by others, a sense of achievement, amazement of alchemy, what a tube of paint can do on canvas, to an artier need of expressing ideas and inspirations that seem to appear, out of the clear blue sky, in my head. That is why I change techniques and subjects so often. I’ve always had a strong desire to discover and uncover anything and everything in all aspects of my personal and professional life – it is reflected in the diversity of my art. I’m not interested to paint one picture repeatedly; I need to check what else is there and how I can use it to express what I want.
LSA: You studied law, and worked for Metropolitan Police and Scotland Yard … when did you become fully dedicated to art?
KK: Art was my favourite subject at school and the plan was to apply to the Academy of Fine Art in Gdansk. I had my baccalaureate in 1981 and before embarking on my studies I decided to have a gap year in the UK. However, I was not able to go back to Poland because of the Martial Law that began in December of that year. I had to think of something more down to earth. At that time, I was doing odd jobs, including cleaning and waiting tables. One day, on my return from work, I saw on the BBC that there had been a survey done among office workers about the most desired place of work. The Scotland Yard won hands down. Then and there I promised myself that I will also work at Scotland Yard one day. So, first, I signed up for English Language classes and a couple of years later I applied to study law. I have always enjoyed everything connected to the legal world due to my analytical mind. I managed to get into the Metropolitan Police in 1995 and 2005 to Scotland Yard, where I worked as a general manager in one of their international units until my early retirement in 2013. Since my retirement, I’ve been fully dedicated to art. However, I started painting again well before that – it happened when I met my husband Mariusz, a professional artist. He encouraged and inspired me. While still working for the police I also attended art classes at the Central St Martins in London.
LSA: Why painting?
KK: Because of the diversity of paint mediums, colours and materials. I don’t want to be bored. Sometimes the paint or medium ‘shows’ me different possibilities, and I grab them with both hands. Even I, myself, am curious, about how the final picture will turn up. It is like alchemy.
LSA: What medium is your favourite one and why?
KK: Acrylics. They are safe, especially when you like to experiment with different mediums. They also dry quickly and when I start painting, I don’t like to wait for the paint to dry.
LSA: Your work has some mysticism and is very diverse – paintings like la Casa, Waldshenen, and Typhoon…. Mesmerasing. What is your message?
KK: I often have this ‘wow’ moment of inspiration in my head, and I want to express it. Not sure if they (observers) get the same ‘wow’ factor but I would like to try and share it.
LSA: To create such an incredible piece of art you need knowledge, skills but also inspiration. Where do you reach for inspiration? Do you ever paint custom orders?
KK: Nature, music, radio, TV, music, photos, stories, news, anything and everything can be my inspiration, even other peoples’ art. Commissions are a challenge for every artist. I never say no, but I prefer an ‘open’ commission that gives me the freedom to experiment and paint the way I see the job requested or the subject.
LSA: Who is your favourite artist and why?
KK: I think any artist that skilfully uses light and shadow. So first and foremost, my husband, Mariusz Kaldowski. But also, and always J.M.W Turner, always J.M Whistler, and a lesser known in the UK – Olga Wiesner-Florian. She was an Austrian artist and I first saw her paintings at an exhibition in Belvedere in Vienna in 2004. Both my husband and I were amazed. Fifteen years later, in 2019 there was another exhibition of her works, this time at the Leopold Collection, so we travelled to Vienna just to see her exhibition again.
Interview By Agnieszka Kowalczewska