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How They See - Issue #7: Paulina Stasik about a metaphor of the body, being an art teacher and creative flexibility

Paulina Stasik is a painter based in Cracow, Poland. This interview is special for me, cause Paulina

How They See

August 15 · Issue #7 · View online
How They See will help you to meet artists from all over the globe and understand their perception of art. Published weekly on Saturday.

Paulina Stasik is a painter based in Cracow, Poland. This interview is special for me, cause Paulina was my first art teacher and mentor back in the 2016-2017 years when I have started my journey with art. I have felt like in a time machine: being in the studio with other students and discussing art. Great time. Apart from that, she is a very skilled painter interested in the human body. She depicts it in a non-straightforward, metaphorical way.
You can find Paulina Stasik on Instagram or on her website.

We’ve met in 2016 during classes at the branch of Dworek Białoprądnicki in Krakow. Your classes have influenced my interest in art a lot, what being a teacher and mentor has given to you?
In 2016, I had been working as a painting instructor for a year, the group you signed up for had been just formed. So we both were learning our roles. Anyway, it seems to me that a good educator should always learn - people have different temperaments, each of them has different expectations and goals. Some people want to learn the technique, others - just have a good time and relax during creative work. I wanted to create a nice atmosphere in the group. Up to now, the participants of these classes are art hobbyists. Nevertheless, apart from the basics of painting and drawing, I try to present the contemporary art scene. It seems to me that the most important thing in these classes is that people start to be interested in art, without unnecessary prejudices, and that they become curious about it.
I did not have the opportunity to receive formal education at the Academy of Fine Arts. I always try to ask artists who have gone through this path about it. What was the most valuable thing your education at an art university has given to you?
I was lucky to be in the great studio of Prof. Leszek Misiak, which was filled with nice atmosphere and ease, that are necessary for painting. Besides, there were great people in this studio, each of us worked a lot - we were encouraging each other. It was a great start to learn to work in the studio - find your rhythm.
Paulina Stasik, "Mourners", oil and acrylics on canvas,
Paulina Stasik, "Mourners", oil and acrylics on canvas,
You are currently in the process of a doctorate at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. What does education at this level look like?
When I was applying for my doctorate studies, I introduced “a sketch” of my topic, which I have later explored during my studies. I devoted this time to study the theme of corporality, which turned out to be an extremely broad and multifaceted topic. In this work, I tried to explore the issues of corporality, based on the analysis of works of art and artistic attitudes.
Can you reveal what your PhD thesis will be about?
The topic of my work is “Anatomy of Existence - Metaphor of the Body” and, as I’ve mentioned before, it concerns the issue of corporality. One could say that my work is a kaleidoscope of thoughts, which reveals the direction of my artistic search.
During the exhibition at Toruń art gallery “Wozownia”, your canvases were also accompanied by ceramic objects. Where does the interest in this form of creativity come from? It is completely different from painting.
Painting is my main medium, but I appreciate “creative flexibility” and experimenting. The canvas is like a frame from a movie, a trailer of a further story. The themes of these stories are often repeated in other configurations. I create ceramic tongues, which later obsessively haunt my paintings in various variations. There were also moments of my disappointment with painting, then I tried to explore other areas, using movie, photography and sculpture, doing it intuitively, sometimes having little idea about the possibilities of a given medium. In this case, nothing can be planned, only repetitions and self-education are possible. This was the case with movie, when I used paper cutouts as actors, later the same cutouts served as sketches for my paintings. Often, experiments in a different medium are the beginning of paintings.
Paulina Stasik, ceramic tongues
Paulina Stasik, ceramic tongues
The poetry of Erna Rosenstei was the inspiration of your paintings presented at the exhibition “Promieniowanie ciszy” (ed. “Radiation of silence”). To what extent does literature influence your work?
It is difficult to explain why I feel connected with one artist and not with another - it seems very intuitive to me. I decided to enter into a dialogue with Erna Rosenstein. Despite the time and experiences that separate us, I would find a common denominator and “thread of understanding”. That is why I’ve used her poems in which I found my own feelings and moods. It was my first such unambiguous inspiration to which I referred creatively.
What else inspires you?
I am inspired by people and art.
You took part in exhibitions in Poland, but your works were exhibited also in Hungary. Is each subsequent exhibition still a new experience and challenge for you?
Yes, of course - exhibitions are a great experience. First of all, working on the concept of the exhibition, conversations with curators, as well as working on the specific space of the exhibition. While I am working on exhibitions, I try to create also directly in the exhibition space. This is how the paintings on the gallery walls were created - they had been ephemeral activities because they were painted over after the exhibition ended - but this was also their intention, to be a link between a specific space and the concept of the exhibition, just this one time.
You claim that: “I paint until … the picture harmonizes with me.” Well, how do you know that this is the right moment and the painting can be considered finished?
I paint based on previous sketches, although they are never a determinant of the painting. There is no specific way to guide the painting, I try to be alert and focused. I am guided by the feeling of what will be created, and my intuition allows me to accept what is happening on the canvas. I often repaint fragments of my paintings, I change the colours, I paint other elements of the painting puzzle. I work on a painting for a long time, verifying its upcoming stages. The question “how” is very important to me and I do not mean painting, aesthetic issues, but working on the subject. Sometimes, when the picture irritates me, I leave it and go to the next one, after a while I come back and it happens that within a few hours I will “save” the painting. Naturally, “failed operations” happen too and sometimes what turns out to be an effective antidote to creative sorrows is working on a new painting.
What advice would you give to self-taught artists?
That they should not be afraid to experiment creatively and be interested in art.
What is your favourite colour?

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