Joanna Pilarczyk Radecka - a colourful figurative artist
London / United Kingdom
Joanna, you are originally from Poland but currently living and creating in London, UK. How is the art scene in the UK different to the Polish art scene?
I am extremely happy that I moved to London where there are so many great opportunities for artists. Here the art scene is so much bigger than in Poland and access to the art curators and the galleries is not that difficult. The art scene and art market in Poland are very small and only a few from among thousands of young artists are lucky enough to be noticed. Definitely, connections play a great role and I am sad to say that many of my friends who I studied with don't have a chance to work in the creative field.
You’ve been creating since an early age. Could you please tell us all about your journey into the art world (brief bio/backstory)?
I knew then that I wanted to be an artist and to help others to find creativity within themselves. My parents and teachers supported my choice, and I went to Art College when I was 15. Then I went on to study for an MA in Art Education, specialising in figurative painting and Portraiture.
When I moved to London I met so many interesting creative people who inspired and motivated me to push my art further. I started running art classes in North London to connect more with the local art scene. After few years I realized that I needed to focus more on my own work. I was contacted by an art agent at the end of last year and since then I’ve become very focused on my career.
You paint colourful figurative pieces inspired by your friends and acquaintances. What is their usual reaction when they see themselves in your gorgeous art?
Most friends are very happy to be featured in my paintings. My husband and my sister are used to it as they are easily accessible subjects for my projects. Because of the Pandemic, I had to find inspiration within my own home. As a result, I started to work on self-portraiture for the first time.
What was the most exciting moment in your art career so far?
When Virginia Damtsa, a London art dealer and agent asked to represent me. Definitely, it was a turning point as I realized that being an artist is a full-time job. I was excited to get more serious exhibition opportunities with galleries such as the Mixx Atelier contemporary art gallery in Colorado, US. Mixx Atelier also now represent me on Artsy.
I have also taken part in many virtual exhibitions this year. Currently a solo show of my series of paintings 'Intimate Times' is being hosted online by the Visionary Art Collective. I am also exhibiting in online group shows with the Visionary Projects, The Curator's Salon, All She Makes and of course now with Art Mums United who kindly invited me for a solo show.
In autumn 2021 I am looking forward to exhibiting my paintings in London at the Fitzrovia Gallery post- Frieze group show from 18th till 24th October. My work will be shown alongside talented artists - Ted Wongt from California and UK artist Colin McMaster. I feel like the exciting times are ahead of me.
What or who inspires you the most?
I was always fascinated by people and I love to paint portraits. I took inspiration from great artists as Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec, Egon Schiele, Matisse, Lucian Freud and Frida Kahlo. They all captured human fragility and strength, at the same time combining their fascination with psychology and the narrative of everyday life.
Arriving 10 years ago in London, I fell in love with the city immediately. Amazed and inspired by the many cultures and the vibrant life of the city, I took my sketchbook everywhere, discreetly recording people on the streets, in parks and cafes. As I grew more settled in my new environment, I began to paint oil portraits of new acquaintances and friends within the artist community of North London. They became my biggest inspiration. I also love to see what other young contemporary artists create these days and I always find something interesting in their work. I admire painters like Andrew Salgado, originally Canadian who lives and works in London, Francois Bard, Thierry Carrier, Jose Luis Cena or Soey Milk. They are all amazing figurative artists who like me enjoy working in vibrant colours.
What’s the message behind your art?
My recent artworks, a series I call 'Intimate Times' shows the ordinary moments from my life with my partner Jarek Radecki (also an artist) in the past year of COVID isolation. Though the paintings depict us physically together in the same room and often alone, they reflect our mental state in the extraordinary situation that we all found ourselves in in 2021. I never thought I would live so intensely and intimately with just one other person even though I think of him as my soulmate. In my flat filled with plants, and isolated from family and friends, my surroundings and my partner became my only world, more intensely felt and observed than ever before. The results of these heightened observations are these paintings - the ordinary but touching intimate scenes of our everyday life enveloped by light, colour, patterns and textures of our shared home-cum-studio- the other character in my paintings.
Those paintings tell an optimistic story of an intimate relationship with my surroundings. Despite the challenges of isolation, close quarters, and the looming uncertainty of the COVID-19 world, I choose to highlight the quiet moments of peace and ease that inspired me in the long months spent indoors.
What does your art do for you?
My art is everything to me – it’s my work, my purpose to live, an exciting adventure, a way to relax and escape from anxiety and all worries of everyday life.
What are your dreams, plans and goals?
My dream is to exhibit my paintings in international galleries around the world and gain some recognition from art collectors and curators. My goal is to find representation with a contemporary art gallery. I would love to travel more and experience the excitement of more solo exhibitions.
My immediate plan is to show my work at Art Fairs and connect more with other artists.
What is your advice to artists at the beginning of their art career?
Listen to your intuition, don't give up, don't compare yourself to other established artists. Believe in your style, it doesn't matter what others do or what is trendy. You have to be authentic with your way of expression.
Also take as many opportunities as you can (open calls for artists, competitions, exhibition opportunities). In order to win you have to play the game :) You may lose many times but there will come a time when your art will be noticed and appreciated.