Interview with contemporary artist Włodzimierz Kukliński

Artworks of painter, illustrator of books and miniaturist Włodzimierz Kukliński are influenced by nineteenth century symbolism, art nouveau elegance, elements of surrealism and inviting us to the deepest corners of our souls to meet and understand our human problems, loneliness and the sense of existence. His paintings are mystic riddles hidding the content deep inside and the meaning is situated between many elements of different realities.


Hello dear Włodzimierz, please, tell us how did you find the artist inside you? How long have you been doing art? Is art something that you always wanted to do?

I painted the first picture back in 1980. It was horrible. The next few probably too. But I enjoyed painting so much that I could not imagine to live without it.

What was / is your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media....What inspires you to create your artworks?

There is a prominent polish painter - Jan Matejko. For many people this name is propably unknown, but as a child I wanted to paint like him - knights, battles, horses. He was definitely my influence in the beginning, but finally my works came out differently.

Other inspirations - you can say that everything around is an inspiration. Being an artist is also a way of life. For example, the view of the egg shells that you have eaten for breakfast can be enough inspiration to paint a picture. Just paint it next to a beautiful woman. This may be a music, the mood of the moment or anything else. Inspiration is all around. It is impossible to define.

How does "a normal day of artist" in your life look like?

Probably not much differently from any other man. Well, maybe except the fact that I start to work when I want and I finish working when I decide that I am tired. And also I do not have weekends off.


What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art? Do you think an art education is important or imperitive for anybody wishing to be an artist? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you have encountered throughout your career with/without the formal training of the Art Academy?

I am a complete self-taught person so I am not competent to speak about academic education. Basic workshops are certainly important and the university probably helps in these cases. Or at least it should. Self-taught person has to figure out everything by himself, so everything takes longer time. In addition, the college diploma certainly gives artists, at least in my country, easier access to present their work in a professional art galleries in which the "amateurs" are not welcome to.

What fascinates you the most about surrealism? How would you describe your style? What themes do you pursue, what surrealism mean to you and what do you hope the viewer will take away from your art?
Surrealism is a very broad term. It is an excellent,  intellectually rich art. But also in these days it is superficially used a lot in a form of horror or obscenities only to shock the viewers. Although, you can probably say the same about every direction in a contemporary art. I do not consider myself to be a surrealist. I do not identify with any artistic direction. If I have to describe my style, I would be probably closer to  nineteenth-century symbolism than to surrealism in a pure form.


Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?

Painting with oils suits me the best. Occasionally, for example when I am illustrating the book, I use also other medias such acrylics, gouache, ink, watercolor. But if I can choose, I go for oils.

Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?

I have not been drawing for a long time, I would like to come back to drawing sometimes. But I never have enough time to do so.


Tell us more about your workspace. What was the most funny or weird thing that happened to you in your studio? What is / was the most strange thing hidding in your studio?

I do not know if it's funny. Probably something similar happened to every painter at least once: Once my model sat down on a freshly painted image. I was in a stress so I forgot that I put painting on the couch. Painting was not affected dramatically, but model has a long way to clean the oil paint off.

What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career? What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
The most difficult challenge for me is to talk to an audience at exhibitions. It's very stressful. I never know what one artist suppose to tell in such situations, so I say only "Good morning, I am very pleased that you came," and then I run away.

What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?
Most of the advices were about what I should paint or on the contrary - what should I not paint. Well, but after all, these are my paintings and I like to paint women and pianos.

What is the hardest thing on being an artist? Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
In my case (and I belive many other artists could relate too) is difficult to wear beret with a peacock feather, take the pallette and paint after working for example eight hours every day in a full time job like postman or an accountant. The artist's life today is substantively the same  bohemia as in the  impresionists time.

Loneliness - definitely yes. Even if not in the literal sense, because it is not a lack of family, but rather a certain alienation. Art is in my understanding about individualism and uniqueness. It's hard to share it with anyone. Doing art is also selfishly possessive, completely absorbed, leaving no rest time and absorbs all the thoughts. It is in some sense a great passion and addiction. And if it does not refer to success, it relatives will not understand why this deal.

Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what’s your goal?

I never do plans for the future. I live for today.

Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?

I do not know what tips I could give. I prefer not to recommend any, because it's a hard piece of bread. There are easier ways of life ... although personally I like what I do and I would not trade it for another life.


Your favorite art or life quote is ...
 I like the quote from the Name of the Rose:

"How peaceful life would be without love,
How safe. How tranquil... and how dull.  "

Hahaha but it's probably not on the topic?
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?

About the passions besides painting I prefer not to speak ;]

Thank you dear Włodzimierz, it was a honor to interview you, I wish you only the best for you and your art and already looking forward to see your new visions and works :)
By contributor Linda. September 22, 2014. Find Oh, So Surreal on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google + or RSS.