Krzysztof and Michal Powałka — ARTISTS

Michal & Krzysztof Powałka foto by: Mateusz Zloto

Michal & Krzysztof Powałka
foto by: Mateusz Zloto

Interview with artists Krzysztof and Michal Powałka —

1. Who are you and what do you do?
K – My name is Krzysztof Powałka long lived in Barcelona, although currently I live and create in Czeladź, Poland. I am dealing with oil painting, and illustration, sculpture and stained glass.
M – Otherwise I – Michal –  I lived about 5 years in Southern Italy. I came there right after college, I married an Italian woman and were creating my art. For a long time I dealt with painting, graphics, illustration. However, in recent years I concentrated on oil painting.


Powałka Krzysztof   "Anthropophagus Age"

Powałka Krzysztof
“Anthropophagus Age”


2. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
K – A long time ago, when I was a kid, my parents suggested to me a fantastic book to read. It was a novel by Czech writer Karel Schulz –  “Stone and Pain.” The book tells the story of the great artist Michelangelo described on the widely extensive historical background of Italy. I began to read it with difficulty, as the size of the book scared. However, after finishing reading, I knew what I would do in the future, and Rome became for me “terra sognata.”
M – I’m not sure to what was my first such memory. Of course, to a large extent parents inspired and slowly kindle a spark. There were a few books, comics, paintings, board games, over which I bent down already as a little boy, get curious by illustrations, content and message. There were presented different worlds: a fantastic once, fabulous, surreal as Thorgal, Khalevala or Slavic fairy tales, myths and legends. As well as later futuristic, Frank Miller‘s graphic compositions in Sin City, or cyberpunk culture. Today, I try to combine everytime these two completely different worlds.


Powałka Michał "Desire-II"

Powałka Michał


3. What are your favorite subject (s) and media (s)?
K – Most of all fascinate me people. Not only in terms of their appearance and differences resulting from the flesh (although these are also fascinating), but their nature and the interior of the ways with which they deal with problems, regardless of age, origin or social status. The history of each of us is full of surprising and persistent struggle with life. It seems to me that only thorough understanding the essence of the problem, confronting it “face to face”, it gives us a chance to find a satisfactory solution for ourselves and for the people in a global sense. Through my actions, my painting, I would like to clarify this type of difficult situations, so that potential customers start “Think” standing “face to face” with my art. For this type of activities I use more often oil painting, although sometimes I reach for ink, watercolor or pencil. It seems to me that the painting “well done” should not imitate photography, which has its own rules. In my work, I am looking for the thin line between painting and photography or computer graphics. In my case compliment – “This painting looks like a photo,” leads me to the question: “where I made the mistake?”.
M  – As I said earlier, currently I primarily paint. I create oil painting on canvas which I made by myself. Sometimes I reach also for watercolor and pencil like my brother. My paintings combine symbolism with surrealism. There are also features  from the oneiric dreams painting, strange phenomena, unexplained connections. The main motive of most of my paintings is the character. Sometimes lonely, confused, just getting to know a new surrounding in his imaginary world. It is not always the same. I paint also multiform images. They enter into a relationship with each other, mutually reinforcing. They permeate in many ways real-metaphysical. They appear at the junction of extreme solutions, searching for the right balance and out of the situation. Worlds, spaces refer both to real existing sites, as well as completely imagined graphic composition. Combining linear perspective, air and colorful I try to add depth to my imaginary soundscapes.


Powałka Krzysztof  "Green Polak"

Powałka Krzysztof
“Green Polak”


4. How do you work and approach your subject?
K – I was used to work with live models, but for some time I noticed that very few people agree to posing. This requires time, and today we know people don’t n have it enough. That’s why I started to use photos. Of course, the most important is the idea, the idea of what the artist want to say through his own image. Not really convinces me the theory of “art for art’s sake.” The inspiration for a painting can be anything, a fragment of the wall, falling leaves or watching a good movie, but for me people are the enlightenment. The idea for the painting “matures” in my head, enriched with current life experiences. The next step is to forge the ideas. Form must be attractive enough to attract the recipient, from the first moment. If the image “will not stop” the viewer, it will not have time to think and rethink at the “ideas” contained in the image. You have to remember that a painting work first on the sense of sight, and only then may cause a reflection, or some deeper feelings. In my opinion, a good idea, along with the excellent form is the key to a good picture of painting. One without the other can not exist.
M – To create a painting I start with a quick pencil sketches, from the idea. I do really lot of them. I never know how many I will make or if I will make all the possible once. Then, depending on the possibility of inviting model, which I paint directly on the canvas. Sometimes I make model’s a photo session. At this stage I already think at the target light or at the composition. Sometimes I arrange a preliminary form of photo collage on my computer and than begin to paint. From the first sketch, under painting, the image goes through several phases, changing every time. In fact, my ideas constantly mutate during the course of painting process. A stain or pulling a brush, which is not predicted may suggest how the image will continue to grow. I’m never able to predict the final result.


Powałka Michał  "iTouch"

Powałka Michał


5. What are your favorite art work (s), artist (s)?
M, K – There are really a lot 🙂 but may replace some / few of them. We have a similar point of view 🙂 Solomon Joseph Solomon“Samson” and  “Ajax and Cassandra” / William Blake“Newton”  “Creation of the World” / Zdzislaw Beksiński /Alphonse MuchaJózef BrandtGustave Doré / Akseli Gallen-Kallela / Ilya RepinEugène Delacroix / Johannes Vermeer van Delft .

6. What are the best responses have you had to your work?
K – Once I experienced such a situation: one day when I was studying in Urbino, I’ve painted a portrait of a girl. When she saw it began to cry … that was the best response
M – My mother’s words most hit my heart talking of my paintings; she said:”In them there is hope, light, at despite of the darkest scenarios…


Powałka Krzysztof  "Another Dawn"

Powałka Krzysztof
“Another Dawn”


7. What do you like about your work?
K – Painting is like an ancient alchemy, the search for the “philosopher’s stone”. You never know until the end, where it leads us. This is the eternal wandering in the unknown, no matter how many years you paint. There is still something to discover over the horizon of the next image. Painting is the relentless pursuit of perfection. Standing in front of a white canvas, always overwhelmed me fear, as before the long journey into the unknown … It is this fear of the unknown, and this is what I like the most.
M – I paint and paint and paint and it is! The moment in which I have goose-bumps 🙂 And I know that this is a good way, a good idea, the appropriate brush stroke, color, light. The element that was missing and that made the image entered into “another dimension”

8. What advice would you give to other artists?
K – “Newness is that feature of art, which pass by and get old faster” – Witold Lutoslawski. It is important that beyond the novelty and the desire to shock, there is something else …
M – Criticism is constructive. Do not get excited because of the judgment of other people, artists, art critics – Take it calmly, analyze. If necessary, enter into force. If not, continue to do your job 🙂


Powałka Michał  "Bonds"

Powałka Michał


9. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
M, K – It’s hard to answer to this question … .. everything can happen ……. . You have to work on yourself, improve yourself, meet new people associate with artistic circles. We can not remain in place. We know that our painting must evolve, develop, based on our present artistic achievements. But what direction will choose? We do not know. For some time we even try to paint together. “Two brushes one paint” 🙂 This is not easy, because we have different personalities and different visions, but we believe that it can enter a new value in our painting. We’ll see where that leads us!

Powałka Gallery is a company and a family studio. In 1993, Jan Powałka, our father – a painter and graphic artist, founded the “Author’s Laboratory”, in a small village called Czeladz, in the south of Poland. With time, next to the artistic studio, he created an art gallery, which in 2012 took the name Powałka Gallery. We, Michal and Krzysztof Powałka, from an early age had passion for a wider kind of art. From drawings on the walls in the kitchen or in the living room, through dance, modeling and regularly cultivated martial arts (capoeira). Parents never interfere with our “baby graffiti”, which were created between dad’s hanging paintings, and mom’s embroidered curtains . And so, growing among “works of art” decided to tie up our lives with it. After years, already as full members of “Powałka Gallery” we can proudly say, “… Dad showed us the way (through his painting), but our mother gave us the strength to walk on it …”

Michal, Krzysztof and Jan Powałka Powalka Gallery

Michal, Krzysztof and Jan Powałka
Powalka Gallery


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