Magdalena Gluszak creates gorgeous, almost surreal figurative paintings in which the body's parts appear and disappear, subsumed by foliage, fabric, or darkness. I love the contrast of bright pinks and greens with the depth of black backgrounds, and the play of shadows on both representative and abstract forms.
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Just to start out with, tell me a bit about yourself! Where are you from, and where are you based now?
I lived in England for over four years. I came back home and right now I live in Poland in a small city in the South near the mountains.
What first interested you in painting? Were you always drawn to painting, or have you explored other media as well?
I have been drawing and painting since I was very small. I have loved it since I can only remember. My mother encouraged me a lot to pursue art and helped me to find private art teachers because there was not much art at school. Different art teachers influenced me in different ways and because of that I got also interested in photography. I decided to try and apply to an art school in England but honestly I didn’t think I had a chance – I was 19. I got accepted at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and during my year there I explored both painting and photography. After that I decided to study photography at the Arts University at Bournemouth but even though I love photography the whole time I wanted to paint and draw. I did traditional and digital collage because I could not resist experimenting with the photographs as objects. That experience changed how I am thinking about painting and influenced my style massively. I still take photographs but my final piece for a project ends up as a painting.
What is your favorite thing about painting, or what compels you to do it?
It’s hard to pin in down but looking at paintings and creating paintings makes me feel so much – the forms, colours and space. I connect with them very intuitevly. There is a sense of life and organic energy in them. To me it’s about intimacy, connection and understanding of the self and others as well as figuring out the world (wether it’s imaginary or real). I just have to paint, it makes me happy.
Where does your inspiration come from? You commonly use the figure in your work, as well as plants, but typically abstracted or dismembered in some way. What draws you to your subject matter?
The people who are closest to me are my biggest inspiration. When I look at people I see emotions, experiences and the whole life going on the iniside of them. It’s like a different dimension, a different universe – on the inside of us and invisible. And I am trying to paint that – people in their own psychological landscapes. I am trying to explore the unsubstantial (which is impossible) using organic elements, which seem familiar but are kind of exotic, from somwhere far away – like other people’s minds. It’s never about one person though. I think it’s about creating emotional scenes, which anyone could connect with on some level.
What is your studio like? Do you have any routines or rituals?
I am very lucky because my studio is really big and I can see beautiful mountains and trees through the windows. I love painting early in the mornings when everyone else is still asleep – I love how quiet and peaceful it is. I get so lost in my thoughts, images, and colours that I forget how fast the time is passing.
What is the most important lesson you've learned, or piece of advice you've been given?
The most important lesson I have ever learned during my formal study was to ask questions and keep exploring. I don’t always need the right answers or even any answers at all. It’s about learning new ways of looking, seeing and thinking. Thinking is so important and being able to think about what I am thinking as well. Another very important piece of advice was to forget everything that I have learned at university and just make work. It’s okey though, life is full of contradictions.
What do you find most challenging about pursuing your art?
I think finding balance between everyday life, responsibilities and passion for art is not easy. It can be very un-motivating and uninspiring, depending on life circumstances. But there was never a time in my life when I didn’t want to create art, even though it was hard.
Do you have any particular goals set for yourself at the moment?
To make interesting art.
Anything else you would like to add?
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