Contemporary artist and art curator, Laura La Wasilewska on her creative inspirations, methods, and meaning.
Tell us about your background as an artist: In 2010, I graduated with honors from the Faculty of Painting (the European Academy of Arts in Warsaw) from the Professor Anthony Fałat’s studio, and I got an anex to a diploma in drawing from Professor Barbara Szubinska. I received a diploma under the guidance of Dr. Isabella Galicki. I also studied under the guidance of Professor Franciszek Starowieyski and Professor Wiktor Zin. I received a title of Master of Arts. Then, for several months, I gained experience working as an assistant at my alma mater.
In addition to my creativity, I took an active part in artistic life as an art curator, organizing many exhibitions. I was a co-founder of the section of The Young by Art (Warsaw), which was a branch of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers. I was a co-organizer of many artistic events, among them the Fresh Art Festival – an art fair held annually since 2010 at the Sheraton Hotel in Warsaw joining Polish and American artists, foreign diplomats, representatives, employees of Polish institutions, companies, and corporations.
Where do you find influence? I have an enormous respect and gratitude for the heritage of entire generations which for centuries have formed culture, not depending on geographical latitude, beliefs and faith, ethnicity, and skin colour. People have always been calling my attention. I have been interested in all areas of medicine, art history, law, and psychology. I love the work of artists: Caravaggio, Olga Boznańska, Neo Rauch, and Lucian Freud. Although, these are not the only fascinations. Therefore, I invite you to watch my work. There you can find answers to such questions. Thus series of new paintings and drawings are just being created.
Describe your creative process: I am always “in progress.” I create every day, so even if I do not manage to paint some part of a picture – I put down my thoughts. I write about the details. I read art newspapers and magazines from all over the world. I watch art albums. I love reading scientific articles from such branches like medicine, psychology, and sociology. I love the world of flora and fauna. I am strongly connected with such things later they are, as it were, mirrored in my pictures and drawings.
What is your typical art medium? I paint and draw. These are my two favorite techniques and means of artistic expression. Thus, in painting for many years I have been using acrylics (sometimes paints) on canvas. Drawing can be both: the dry pastel on large tracts of “gray” paper, but also small format, white paper, cloth, pens, and stylographs.
Just now I am working on the big series of pictures for my individual exhibition which will be organized very soon. In my studio you can, therefore, find a large amount of paint tubes, jars, containers, media, brushes, masking tapes, buckets, dishes, pallets, linen canvases to paint on, and ready pictures.
Tell us about your latest showing: Yes, with pleasure. Living in the States for nearly a half of a year I painted a series of pictures titled American Artists in Progress, which present such artists as Jean Micheal Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Eric Fischl, Kris Kight, David King Reuben, Frida, and Picasso. These are the portraits of artists who are very well known all around the world. These are both pictures and drawings. They were created on the base of unique photos, manuscripts, sketches, letters , interviews, films. Obviously, I have not finished the series. Every project of mine has got the beginning but I never plan the end.
What is the meaning and inspiration behind your Lucian Freud collection? The answer seems to be simple. The collection of portraits of Lucian Freud was a result of the fascination with the work and person of this eminent British painter. In my earlier works, I was exclusively painting portraits of friends and acquaintances, the close circle. With time, juvenile issues and inspirations gave way to the author’s series dedicated to famous celebrities. An attempt to deal with the portrait of a person known to the public is a double challenge for the artist. Of the three reasons – first – the similarity resulting from the forms and conventions of reality, secondly, “expectations” of the audience which is connected with the popularity of the image of the famous “hero.” Three – facing the greatness, the image and personal features of a famous person.
What has been your most intriguing work to-date? I was the most excited while painting, and also long after I had finished, the portrait of Jean Michel Basquiat. Now I am deeply involved in the process of creating a series of new pictures. It gives me excitement, great joy, reflection, humility, life, and artistic experience.