Creation is a very intimate space, it is a sacred space, if you feel that you want to enter it, allow yourself to do so because it is like touching your own heart and hearing its beating’
LSA: I am following your artistic path for some time and I am impressed with what you create. Not only you paint on canvas but you show your creations in form of tattoos. Your illustrations are published on magazines’ covers and you were chosen a Tattoofest 2015 artist. Your hand painted, handmade bag draw attention – it is very magical. You live with passion and from passion, it is very inspirational. Can you please tell me how it all started? How long do you paint and what or who inspired you to start walking that path.
KATARZYNA KRUTAK: I would like to thank you for your invitation to this interview; it is a big pleasure to be able to share my story for Luxury Splash of Art magazine.To be honest, I don’t remember when it all started, I always loved drawing. As a kid I loved travelling to my own world. Nature and drawing were allowing me to move to that space. I felt that this magical world was only mine and I could create it the way I wanted.
My granddad was the person who inspired me. We spent a lot of time together, drawing and creating. He loved drawing mountains huts, forests and lakes, mountaineers, dancers and horses. I loved evenings with him. In his special cupboard he kept his tool needed for creation, it was full of stamps, templates, stickers, letters, paints, markers, pens…and many more. Some of the tools I didn’t even know what they were for. That cupboard was very special and magical for me.
I loved drawing, especially comic books, stories about far always lands, princesses, dragons. I used to draw a lot of women but also animals.
LSA: How was at the beginning, was it easy or hard?
KK: Both, easy and hard depending where I was in life. It is like life circle, something needs to die to give space for the new beginning and as a result our perception changes. When I was drawing as a kid, I was enjoying it completely without thinking about the end result. When I went to school, the end result was very important as I was marked based on it? That was very stressful so sometimes I preferred to miss the class rather than be judged. Now, I know that I could have learnt a lot more if only I was not so afraid of being judged by others. When I my formal education was completed, I started my own explorations and creation. I was having a closer look at everything that was interesting, delightful, and inspirational. At that time, I moved to the house near forest. That was my new beginning. Forest, mountains, fresh air were like a gate to my inner self and discovery of what process are happening inside me – I did not understand that fully then. My first ink artwork was created at that house and, of course, I wanted to present the world of a wild woman, witch, forest and nature. It was very inspirational and I came back to my spontaneous creating as I used to do as a kid.
LSA: Who did you want to be as a kid? Did you know you are going to be an artist?
KK: I never thought that painting and drawing will be my job. I always drew but wanted to become an architect, a dancer, a ballerina and a vet (smile).
LSA: Do you think that talent is enough to become successful?
KK: I think that 30-40% is your talent; the rest is hard work, effort, determination, self-development and consistency. Confidence and trust that we do the right thing is the key too. It is important to listen to your inner voice (if we can hear it) and follow your heart. To become a master in anything, you need practise, with practise you will improve and get better day by day. Talent is the potential, it is like seed that you plant, your work is to look after that seed and observe how it is growing, give it some direction.
LSA: What would you like to tell other people through your art?
KK: I don’t have any message to convey. I am more conscious and I am on the path of discovery myself through art. It gives me better connection with myself, it is the journey that is evolving and it will be with me till the end.
I believe that my art will attract right people, those who feel and see the world in similar way but I want to stay authentic, through my art I want to welcome others to my world and let them stay if they feel the same music in their souls.
LSA: What is your inspiration?
KK: My inspiration is life, self-discovery, and different experiences. I am an observer of the world Uniqueness of this world and its simplicity is the best inspiration for me.
I am fascinated by nature, landscapes and places my ancestors come from. They were farmers and I feel deep connection with them. Trees, air, lakes, rivers …
Also cartoons and children books are my inspiration. I can spend hours and hours in bookstore flipping through books for children and get inspiration from them. Classical music is my other inspiration, it really moves me.
And of course people, mainly elderly and children but also woman and woman’s body as well as her magical power and inner strength. It is an endless inspiration.
LSA: Are you inspired by other artists? Who is your favourite?
KK: It is not an easy question. There are few artists I love and I am moved and inspired by their art. But the list is changing as I am open for changes. I love children books illustration from 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. I am inspired by Gauguine’s paintings they are so exotic and I admire Miro’s artwork because it is so dynamic, at the same time street art really attracts me.
LSA: What is the artistic process, what is the biggest challenge?
KK: It really differs, sometimes I feel that I need to stop because I want to draw something, it is related to internal processes. I need to sit in the chair, close my eyes and invite what I feel to come.When I work on a project I sit in the same armchair; I close my eyes and wait for an inspiration to come. I don’t rush I let it come.
There are times when I need to draw the same thing few times to be satisfied with end result but there are times when it comes right away and I take out my sketchbook and make an outline so as not to forget what I want to create.
To create, I need time for myself. I don’t want to do things half way, don’t want to rush, it is very important that I give myself enough time for each creation. Giving myself time for yoga, walk, breathing practice, helps me to stop and find balance.
LSA: You paint intuitively, using acrylic, ink and watercolours. What is your favourite medium?
KK: I have been in love with watercolours for over 3 years now, I am still discovering what I can achieve by using this medium and it does not stop surprising me. This summer, I started using watercolour crayons, but also the classic pencil and grey paper came back. I have wider field to experiment. Even though I still pay a lot of attention to watercolours, I like mixed techniques the most.
LSA: Has your style changed? How?
KK: Yes, it has changes few times and I have the impression that it is closely related to the changes in me, my connection with myself, trust, openness to the changes that come. When an inner feeling of wanting to experience differently appears, it is worth just following it without analysing it. Otherwise we can get stuck.I had situations when I felt that it was the right time for a change but I was fighting an internal struggle because my mind insisted that “this is my style, I can’t change anything!” My mind and my heart were telling me different things. I had my established style but I didn’t have fun creating, I was missing fun, lightness, spontaneity, change and the cycle that is the natural sequence of life … fluidity … discovering new, greeting and saying goodbye.
LSA: Do you call yourself an artist? What differs you from other artists?
KK: I used to dislike that word “artist” because the mind was adding a story about people self-exalting. Later, I didn’t have much urge to describe myself as such. Today, I find consent in this word and I prefer it much more than the word tattoo artist. Since I have devoted so much attention to tattoo in the last few years people have started to associate me strongly with it, now I’m making a transition to other things that I want to express.
However, I do not stop at the word ‘artist’ as a definition of my being. It is a kind of a message, information, and term explaining to others what I do in my life.
I do not feel that I stand out from the crowd. When I think about it, I have a picture of a meadow in front of my eyes. This meadow has various field flowers and blades of grass, each of these plants is like an artist, creator, together they create art; each is different, unique, more or less discovered by himself. Everyone is distinguished by the fact that they are.
LSA: Do you think that a man is born an artist or becomes an artist? Or maybe we are all creators and each of us creates something in life. What is your view?
KK: I think that every person is a creator, only sometimes unconscious. Our life is an exact reflection of who we truly are, which means that we create it. Several people may look at the same view, and each of them will have a different opinion about it. This is because we filter this reality through our beliefs. So, we create an image in our mind that we look at and it creates emotions through our beliefs. If we are not aware of it, we often succumb to emotions in different situations. If we start looking at it from an observer’s point of view, we can manage this experience. If we have an influence on the reaction to experience, we are creators of a new reality consciously. I believe that whether we are painting or singing … whether we knit or prepare a drink, we always create. Human being has the nature of a creator.
LSA: Is there a dream project that you would like to run?
KK: Yes, I have been working on one project for a year and I hope I will be able to close it by the end of the year, then there will be a lot of work to “implement” it so that it can reach recipients. This is a generational project, please follow my instagram account where I will share more information soon. As for dreams, I think that this project exceeded my dreams and it is still strange that life brings such a surprise.
LSA: What are you plans for future?
KK: The next plan and a very important event in my life, is my return to work at Voice of Ink. I am returning to the place from which I escaped over three years ago, in the worst disorder of my life. I feel this is a very important and significant time. Returning to a place with a different perception and with openness and trust. I have the impression that only now I am starting to get to know the dreams that come from the intention of love and I leave a lot of space for what will come. These dreams that are coming from heart require a lot of courage and the courage comes from trust. I have a great desire to start the adventure with illustration, illustraion for books, stories, maybe press articles … I want to illustrate things that inspire me, which are important, valuable. I also dream about traveling, the smaller and the big ones. There is a long list; India and the United States for sure but there are many others in between. I would like my art to be available to everyone, to open people’s hearts and calm their minds.
LSA: You are very spiritual and it reflects in your work. You visited Bali – please tell me what did this trip give you and why Bali?
KK: Journey to discover my true self began with an illness about 4 years ago, that illness was the best gift I could ask from life, it opened my eyes. I know people don’t have to experience such beginnings to start this path, but I was asleep and it was a kind of awakening. When my body began to show me symptoms it was the time to stop and reflect, my journey to my inner self started and I believe it will last till the last day of my life. It is a process and once you step into it there is no way back. Every day you discover something new. My trip to the Bali was not specifically planned. After 80 days of juice fast, I felt the need to be somewhere warm and tropical. This is how the idea of Bali came to my mind. Of course, ‘eat, pray and love’ by Elizabet Gilbert was well known to me by then.
I travelled alone and my knowledge about Indonesia was quite small but staying there for two months gave me a bit of time to get to know local people, their culture and tradition and also to make new friends. My watercolour paintings are inspired by the nature I was surrounded. I have created a lot of art work while being there. Bali was a great adventure; it was like a mirror reflecting what I believe subconsciously. It was my teacher.
LSA: You created a poster that was displayed during the virtual exhibition ‘eco pandemic, disposable glove’ at the Municipal Cultural Center in Zory. Can you tell me more about it?
KK: I was invited to this campaign by the great artist Emilia Wąż and was amongst several artists participated in the exhibition. The campaign focused on drawing attention to the situation in the world related to littering the earth. People are very focused on the subject of Covid now and this exhibition was to show the other side of the coin. Covid will pass and we will be left with gloves scattered everywhere by the wind, gloves that decomposing for over 500 years… I am very happy and grateful that I could take part in this campaign; I will add that the posters, in addition to the virtual form, could be viewed for some time in MOK Żory as well as in showcases at bus stops and other places intended for this purpose.
LSA: If someone would like to see you work, where they can find you. Are you planning any exhibition and can you tell us about your previous ones?
KK: I moved to Wrocław this year, so I plan to look for some spaces where I could organize exhibitions. Of course, I need to wait for the current situation to calm down. As for the previous exhibitions, I think it is worth mentioning exhibition close to my heart. The title of the project is “Animalness”, the set was a collection of acrylics depicting farm animals. The project was organized together with Alicja Czerwińska, an activist from Bielsko-Biała. The works paid tribute to farm animals and drew the viewer’s attention to the question of whether they could admire these animals in the same way as animals shown in nature films, if not why? What causes the gap between the two? Is it not our beliefs about them and unquestioned thoughts? Do we love one eat another?
LSA: Finally, I would like to ask what inspired you to create such beautiful bags?
KK: The idea to create bags came to me a long time ago but I was not ready to start for a while. The right time came when I was on juice fast. The first bags were sent as gifts to my friends, those close to my heart. With time people show interest in them. To be honest I did not expect such a great response. There is going to be more to come.
LSA: What would you like to say to our readers and artists who just start?
KK: First of all, I would like to thank you for reading my story. Thanks to you, it all makes sense. If you are an artist at the beginning of your path, remember teachers are important, but always look what you have inside you, never compare with others, stay true to yourself and don’t make yourself a puppet in the hands of marketing. Stay in silence. Creation is a very intimate space, it is a sacred space, if you feel that you want to enter it, allow yourself to do so because it is like touching your own heart and hearing its beating.
Thank you Agnieszka for inviting me to this interview
Katarzyna Krutak – https://www.instagram.com/katarzynakrutak/?hl=pl