interviewed by ewa poniatowska
POLAND > LONDON
ROAM: What does “displaced” mean to you?
AGA: For me it means being removed from a proper place, leaving the former environment and trying to establish a life in new, unexpected conditions.
Is there a particular scenario where you have ever felt like this?
When I recently moved to London the first month was a struggle to get used to a totally new surroundings. However, I didn't feel displaced it`s more like a challenge and another chapter of my life. I'm really lucky to have a big support from my family, boyfriend and my friends. Probably if I would be a lawyer as initially planned I would feel displaced.
When did you realise you wanted to be an illustrator?
Quite recently. I attended to a C.K Norwid Comprehensive School of Fine Arts in Lublin, Poland but at first I planned to go to a law university. I was never confident about my work and I couldn't find my own style and the joy of art creation. In the last year during working on my diploma I spend so much time just drawing and trying different things I suddenly found everything I was missing for the previous years. One of my best friends persuaded me to try getting a place at Art University in the United Kingdom. I tried, I got one. It turns out that was one of the best decisions in my life.
What would you say influences your work?
Everything ! I know it sounds quite clichéd but I find inspiration in everyday life. All the events and surroundings have some impact on my work. However, if I had to choose most influencing would be traveling, sightseeing and books or music.
Who is your favourite artist? Why?
It is really hard to choose. I have several favourite artists and usually it depends on how I feel when I indicate one. Right now I would say Jean-Michel Basquiat. I love his ‘primitive’ expressionism and social commentary. My biggest ‘industry’ inspiration and a role model will always and forever be Henryk Tomaszewski and Polish School of Poster. I just admire his aesthetics and his excellent sense of humor and irony.
Is there something you can’t live without in your place of work? Why?
Probably music, conversation or any sound at all. I’m not a big fan of working in complete silence.
Why do you choose to draw animals mostly?
I've always loved animals. Since childhood I have tried to be surrounded by them. I had plenty of animal toys and not a single Barbie doll. I drew them all the time so when I started doing illustration it was very natural for me to focus on this theme and try to express myself and all the emotions by drawn animals.
Why did you choose to move to London?
I wanted to study in the UK and I tried several places but in the end I chose London. I wanted to be in this amazing city, close to all the world class museums and galleries. I wanted to explore different cultures which this city offers. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to show myself in the art world and London seems to be everything I expected.
Where are you originally from?
I’m from Lublin, eastern Poland (Pardon, my English). A nice, calm and full of greenery city.
Do you think moving to London influenced your work in any way?
Yes, the most important thing is that it gave me confidence and a great motivation and I never created so much artwork as I did during the previous two months. My University (Camberwell UAL) is just amazing and I feel like I’m living a dream, even if it requires a lot of work.
Name 3 things you miss most about your home country?
I miss Polish language although I’m lucky to live with my boyfriend and stay in touch with my family so I still use it quite often. I also miss some Polish food but fortunately I found some grapefruit juice so it’s not so bad. I really miss my family and my dog, I wish I could see them more often.
Name 3 things you don’t miss at all?
Lack of tolerance. I don’t like forcing somebody to think certain way or to look ‘properly’. It is totally different here. I think people shouldn’t pay so much attention to others appearance if it’s not a direct threat to them. Public transport, I lived in quite a small city, still it took me a similar amount of time to travel anywhere that it takes me to move around London. Waiting for the walk light while crossing the street or waiting for a driver to stop and let you cross the street. At first getting on the other side of the street in London was like fighting for life because of the left-hand traffic but now I found it more comfortable and safer than in my home country.
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? Why?
I would really like to go to New York or Amsterdam because of all the galleries and museums I would love to see.
What is the most exciting thing you've done recently?
Oh, it’s definitely participating in The London Illustration Fair! I still can’t believe I will be able to show my work on such a great event alongside Thierry Noir or Camille Walala.
What's the best part of being a young creative in 2015?
The ease of showing your work to others by publishing it online even if only a few people will see it. All of the opportunity around the world you can find in a few moments and some very useful modern technologies and softwares.
Best song to draw to?
At present it’s an album for me (Mala-Devendra Banhart) but it’s so complete that you can listen to it like to one, 40 minutes long great song.
See more of Aga's artwork: www.giecko.weebly.com